National Defense Service Medal
The National Defense Service Medal was awarded for honorable active
service for any period between 27 June 1950 and 27 July 1954; between
1 January 1961 and 14 August 1974; between 2 August 1990 and 30
November 1995 and between 11 September 2001 and a closing date to
The National Defense Service Medal may be awarded to members of the
Reserve Components who are ordered to Federal active duty, regardless
of duration, except for the categories listed above. Any member of
the Guard or Reserve who, after 31 December 1960, becomes eligible
for the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, Vietnam Service Medal or
the Southwest Asia Service Medal is also eligible for the National
Defense Service Medal.
To signify receipt of a second or subsequent award of the NDSM, a
bronze service star will be worn on the service ribbon by U.S. Army
personnel so qualified. Second or third award of the NDSM is authorized
for soldiers who served in one or more of the four qualifying time
periods. It is not authorized for soldiers who met the criteria in
one time period, left active duty and returned during the same period
Cadets of the U.S. Military Academy are eligible for the NDSM, during
any of the inclusive periods listed above, upon completion of the
swearing-in ceremonies as a cadet.
The NDSM may be issued posthumously.