The Fleet Marine Reserve Medal was established by Secretary of the Navy James K. Paulding on February 19, 1939.


The Fleet Marine Reserve medal was effective from July 1, 1925 to July 1, 1938 (when the designation Fleet Reserve was changed to Organized Reserve).
  • NOTE
The Naval Reserve Act of of 1938 changed the designation of the class of reserve which would qualify for the medal to the Organized Marine Corps Reserve. While this caused a problem with the wording on the medal, most or all of the Organized Marine Corps Reserve was called to active duty in November and December of 1940, so action on any change in the design of the medal was held up. On January 31, 1941, the Commandant sent a letter to the reserve establishment stating the medal would continue to be issued, which caused work to begin on its re-design. The revised obverse was approved by the Fine Arts Commission on August 1, 1941, and the initial order to the Philadelphia Mint for the new design was for 2,000 medals, ready for shipment by November 17, 1941.


The Fleet Marine Reserve Medal was awarded to members of the Marine Corps Reserve who, after July 1, 1925, but before to July 1, 1938, served with an organized unit of the reserve, attended four annual field training periods of not less than fourteen days each, and attended at least thirty-eight drills a year for four consecutive years. Appropriate or equivalent duty or instruction could be credited in lieu of drills. An officer could have no unsatisfactory fitness reports and an enlisted man had to have obtained, upon discharge, an average service record of "excellent" or above to qualify for the medal.
  • NOTE
This medal was replaced by the Organized Marine Corps Reserve Medal, which has subsequently been redesignated as the Selected Marine Reserve Medal.


The Fleet Marine Reserve Medal was worn after the Naval Reserve Medal.


Subsequent awards of the Fleet Marine Reserve Medal were denoted by bronze stars.


The Fleet Marine Reserve Medal was designed by John R. Sinnock.


In the center of a bronze medallion one and five sixteenths inches in diameter, two males (one in uniform and one in civilian clothing) are shown walking side by side. Above them, following the upper contour of the medal, is the inscription FLEET MARINE (to the left of the figures) and CORPS RESERVE (to the right of the figures). The word SERVICE appears in the exergue.

The two figures represent the citizen-soldier, referring to the dual status of the members of the Marine Corps Reserve


In the center of a bronze medallion one and a quarter inches in diameter, a blank space is left for the engraving of the recipient's name. Around the inside rim of the medal, the words FIDELITY (on the left); OBEDIENCE (on the right), and ZEAL (at the bottom).


The ribbon to the Fleet Marine Reserve Medal consists of a central stripe of red bordered by gold and edged in pinstripes of red, white and blue (with the red forming the edge stripes of the ribbon). The red, white and blue edge stripes are the National colors, while the central stripes of red and gold are the colors of the Marine Corps. The suggestion for the colors of the ribbon was based "primarily on the fact that this award would be the only one worn by the majority of Reservists and the light color on the greater portion of the ribbon would afford a greater contrast to the color of the uniforms." The original width of the ribbon was set at the same size as the ribbon for the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal (one and a quarter inches); however at the time no one seemed to realize the Marine Corps Good Conduct Medal had a narrow ribbon because it had to fit through the rifle hanger at the bottom and no such limitation existed for the Fleet Marine Reserve Medal.


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