- Lifesaving Medal
Gold and Silver Lifesaving Medals
Awarded by United States Coast Guard Country United States Eligibility United States military or civilians Awarded for citizens of the United States, military or civilian, who rescues, or endeavors to rescue, any other person from drowning, shipwreck, or other peril of water Statistics Established 20 June 1874 Total awarded 600 Gold Lifesaving Medals
1,900 Silver Lifesaving Medals
Gold Lifesaving Medal
Silver Lifesaving Medal
The Gold Lifesaving Medal and Silver Lifesaving Medal are civil and military decorations of the United States Coast Guard which was first established by Act of Congress, 20 June 1874; later authorized by Title 14 of the United States Code Section 500-501 (14 USC 500–501). These decorations are two of the oldest medals in the United States and were originally established at the Department of Treasury Lifesaving Medals First and Second Class. The Department of the Treasury initially gave the award, but today the United States Coast Guard awards it through the Department of Homeland Security.
The Lifesaving Medals may be awarded to any member of the U.S. military, or to a U.S. civilian, who rescues, or endeavors to rescue, any other person from drowning, shipwreck, or other peril of water. The rescue or attempted rescue must take place in waters within the United States, waters subject to U.S. jurisdiction, or one of the parties involved must be a citizen of the United States or be from a vessel or aircraft owned or operated by citizens of the United States.
The Lifesaving Medal is issued in two grades, being silver and gold. The Gold Lifesaving Medal is authorized if the individual attempting the rescue did so at extreme peril and risk of life. For all other rescues, the Silver Lifesaving Medal is authorized.
The Lifesaving Medals have had three designs in their history. The original design in 1874 was as a "table medal" without a ribbon and could not be worn by the recipient. In 1882 the design was changed so that the medal was suspended from a two inch wide ribbon. The ribbon was red for the Gold Lifesaving Medal and light blue for the Silver Lifesaving medal. Finally on 4 August 1949 the medals and ribbons were reduced in size so that they were more proportionate to medals awarded by the U.S. Armed Forces. The ribbons were also redesigned to have multiple colors.
Until the mid-20th century, the Lifesaving Medal was often bestowed upon members of the military; however in recent times the decoration has become somewhat rare. This is due primarily to the creation of a variety of additional military decorations that are often considered more prestigious than the Lifesaving Medal. The United States Navy often issues the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, instead of the Lifesaving Medal, for sea rescues involving risk of life.
The Coast Guard is the ultimate award authority for the Lifesaving Medal and issues the decorations to members of all military branches as well as civilians. Famous recipients of the Lifesaving Medal include Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz and General George S. Patton.
The Lifesaving Medal is unique among U.S. medals because it is actually struck from precious metal, silver or gold, depending on the grade. Most other medals are struck from inexpensive alloys.
Multiple awards of the Lifesaving Medal are denoted by award stars on the decoration’s ribbon and a gold clasp, inscribed with the recipient’s name, is worn on the actual medal.
Since 1874, more than 600 Gold Lifesaving Medals and more than 1,900 Silver Lifesaving Medals have been awarded.
- Richard Evelyn Byrd
- Henry Breault
- Joshua James
- Chester W. Nimitz
- Lenny Skutnik
- ^ Historical Timeline – 1800 through 1899
- ^ (PDF) Medals and Awards Manual. U.S. Department of Homeland Security, United States Coast Guard COMDTINST M1650.25D. May 2008. http://www.uscg.mil/directives/cim/1000-1999/CIM_1650_25D.pdf. Chapter 4.
- ^ Sub Hero
- ^ "Captain Joshua James, USLSS". uscg.mil. http://www.uscg.mil/history/people/Joshua_James.asp. Retrieved 11 April 2011.
- ^ "Fleet Admiral Chester Nimitz". history.navy.mil. http://www.history.navy.mil/faqs/faq36-4.htm. Retrieved 18 July 2011.
- ^ Emily Yoffe (August 4, 2002). "Afterward – Page 9 – New York Times". The New York Times (New York: NYTC). ISSN 0362-4331. http://www.nytimes.com/2002/08/04/magazine/afterward.html?pagewanted=9&src=pm. Retrieved May 5, 2011. "In a dusty glass-fronted case on the piano bench, Skutnik keeps the palm-size Carnegie Medal for heroism and the Coast Guard's Gold Lifesaving Medal"
- U.S. Code Title 14 USC, Part 1, Chapter 13, Sections 500–501.
- Coast Guard History and Traditions
- Gold Lifesaving Medal Awardees of the U.S. Life-Saving Service, Lighthouse Service, Revenue Cutter Service and Coast Guard
Decorations Lifesaving Medals Unit Awards Conduct Medals Service Awards_ Combat_Action_Ribbon_ ·__ Combat Action Ribbon · · Enlisted Person of the Year Ribbon · Coast Guard Arctic Service Medal · Special Operations Service Ribbon · Sea Service Ribbon · Restricted Duty Ribbon · _ Overseas_Service_Ribbon_ ·__ Overseas Service Ribbon · Basic Training Honor Graduate Ribbon · Recruiting Service Ribbon Marksmanship_ Distinguished_Marksman_Ribbon_ ·__ _ Silver_Excellence_in_Competition_Rifle_Ribbon_ ·__ _ Bronze_Excellence_in_Competition_Rifle_Ribbon_ ·__ _ Expert_Rifle_Ribbon_ ·__ _ Sharpshooter_Rifle_Ribbon_ ·__ Distinguished Marksman Ribbon · _ Silver_Excellence_in_Competition_Rifle_Ribbon_ ·__ _ Bronze_Excellence_in_Competition_Rifle_Ribbon_ ·__ _ Expert_Rifle_Ribbon_ ·__ _ Sharpshooter_Rifle_Ribbon_ ·__ Silver Excellence in Competition Rifle Ribbon · _ Bronze_Excellence_in_Competition_Rifle_Ribbon_ ·__ _ Expert_Rifle_Ribbon_ ·__ _ Sharpshooter_Rifle_Ribbon_ ·__ Bronze Excellence in Competition Rifle Ribbon · _ Expert_Rifle_Ribbon_ ·__ _ Sharpshooter_Rifle_Ribbon_ ·__ Expert Rifle Ribbon · _ Sharpshooter_Rifle_Ribbon_ ·__ Sharpshooter Rifle Ribbon · Rifle Marksmanship Ribbon · _ Distinguished_Pistol_Shot_Ribbon_ ·__ _ Silver_Pistol_Excellence_in_Competition_Ribbon_ ·__ _ Bronze_Pistol_Excellence_in_Competition_Ribbon_ ·__ _ Expert_Pistol_Ribbon_ ·__ _ Sharpshooter_Pistol_Ribbon_ ·__ Distinguished Pistol Shot Ribbon · _ Silver_Pistol_Excellence_in_Competition_Ribbon_ ·__ _ Bronze_Pistol_Excellence_in_Competition_Ribbon_ ·__ _ Expert_Pistol_Ribbon_ ·__ _ Sharpshooter_Pistol_Ribbon_ ·__ Silver Pistol Excellence in Competition Ribbon · _ Bronze_Pistol_Excellence_in_Competition_Ribbon_ ·__ _ Expert_Pistol_Ribbon_ ·__ _ Sharpshooter_Pistol_Ribbon_ ·__ Bronze Pistol Excellence in Competition Ribbon · _ Expert_Pistol_Ribbon_ ·__ _ Sharpshooter_Pistol_Ribbon_ ·__ Expert Pistol Ribbon · _ Sharpshooter_Pistol_Ribbon_ ·__ Sharpshooter Pistol Ribbon · Pistol Marksmanship Ribbon
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