The Navy Good Conduct Medal was established on April 26, 1869, by Secretary of the Navy A.E. Borie.
The original Navy Good Conduct Medal was in effect from 1870 to 1884.
The first style Navy Good Conduct Medal was issued to any honorably discharged sailor who was recommended by his commanding officer and was based on the recipient's record of obedience, sobriety, and cleanliness as well as his proficiency in seamanship and gunnery.
ORDER OF PRECEDENCE
The first style Navy Good Conduct Medal took precedence after the Medal of Honor.
No devices were authorized for the first style Good Conduct Medal. Apparently, additional awards were denoted by additional medals. Reenlistment with three of these medals allowed the sailor to be rated as a petty officer, with any reduction in rank limited to the sentence of a court martial.
The first style Navy Good Conduct Medal was designed by Commodore Melancthon Smith..
The identity of the first recipient of the original Navy Good Conduct Medal is not known.
DESCRIPTION AND SYMBOLISM
This medal is a Maltese cross of nickel, 31mm wide from point to point, bearing a circular medallion in the center with the words Fidelity Zeal Obedience around the edge, and the letters U.S.N. in the center.
The reverse of the first style Navy Good Conduct Medal was blank, the space being used for engraving the recipient's name. The medal was not issued unnamed.
The ribbon to the first style Navy Good Conduct Medal was red, white and blue and was a half inch wide.