The Coast Guard Good Conduct Medal was established by Rear Admiral William F. Reynolds, Commandant of the Coast Guard, on May 18, 1921.
The Coast Guard Good Conduct Medal has been awarded for qualifying service to enlisted members of the Coast Guard from May 17, 1920, to the present.
The Coast Guard Good Conduct Medal is awarded on a selective basis to enlisted members in the Regular Coast Guard or the Coast Guard Reserve for proficiency in rating, sobriety, obedience, industry, courage and neatness throughout a specified period of active military service (from May 17, 1920, to June 30, 1934, and from November 1, 1963, to December 31, 1979, the period of service was four years; for all other periods, including the present, it is three years).
ORDER OF PRECEDENCE
The Coast Guard Good Conduct Medal is worn after the Prisoner of War Medal and before the Coast Guard Reserve Good Conduct Medal.
The design of the Coast Guard Good Conduct Medal is based on the design of the Navy Good Conduct Medal, modified to reflect Coast Guard service.
DESCRIPTION AND SYMBOLISM
The ship is the Tampa, a Coast Guard cutter sunk on September 26, 1918, by a German submarine. All hands on the Tampa were lost. The Tampa thus represents the ultimate in "fidelity, zeal, and obedience." The oars represent the United States Lifesaving Service, which merged with the Revenue Cutter Service in 1915 to form the United States Coast Guard. The chain and rope are nautical devices that allude to sea service, while the words SEMPER PARATUS and means "Always Ready," which is the motto of the Coast Guard. The ribbon hangs from a squared bronze pinbar with the words U.S. COAST GUARD in the center, and the medal is connected to the ribbon by a straight suspension bar.
The seal designates this medal as a Coast Guard award while the anchor chain and rope are nautical devices that allude to sea service. The Latin words SEMPER PARATUS means "Always Ready," the motto of the Coast Guard. This version was approved in 1961 and first awarded in 1963.
The third style obverse is identical to the second style except that it is one and a half inches in diameter (see the comments below on the second style reverse).
In the center of a bronze medallion one and a quarter inches in diameter, a blank space is left for engraving the recipient's name inside a circle of rope. Forming a circle around the rope and following the contour of the medal, the words FIDELITY ZEAL OBEDIENCE. The rope is a symbol of sea service and the inscription identifies the qualities recognized by this medal. NOTE: This reverse was also used on the first type Good Conduct Medal.
In 1999 the Coast Guard's Uniform Board revised the wording on the reverse so that it now says, HONOR RESPECT following the upper quadrant of the medal and DEVOTION TO DUTY following the contour of the bottom of the medal.
The ribbon to the Coast Guard Good Conduct Medal is Red with a white stripe in the center. This is the same ribbon as the one used by the Navy, with a white stripe to distinguish it as the Coast Guard Good Conduct Medal.