Merchant Marine Emblem, Medals and Ribbons
Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal - The Merchant Marine Distinguished Service Medal is awarded to any Seaman in the U.S. Merchant Marine who, on or after September 3, 1939, has distinguished himself during the war by outstanding conduct or service in the line of duty. Not more than one medal shall be issued to any one seaman, but for each succeeding instance sufficient to justify the award of a medal, there will be awarded a suitable insignia to be worn with the medal. [Designed by Paul Manship.]
Merchant Marine Meritorious Service Medal - The Merchant Marine Meritorious Service Medal is awarded to Seamen of any ship operated by or for the War Shipping Administration who is commended by the Administrator for conduct or service of a meritorious nature, but not sufficient to warrant the Distinguished Service Medal. [Designed by Paul Manship.]
Mariner's Medal - The Mariner's Medal is awarded to any seaman who while serving in a ship during the war period is wounded, suffers physical injury, or suffers through dangerous exposure as a result of an act of enemy of the United States. In the event any such seaman dies from the wounds or injuries before the award can be made to him, the medal may he presented to the person named in the War Risk Policy as his beneficiary. [Designed by Paul Manship.]
Prisoner of War Medal - Awarded to World War II merchant marine veterans held prisoners of war during the period December 7, 1941 to August 15, 1945. The medal recognizes the special service prisoners of war gave to their country and the suffering and anguish they endured while incarcerated.
|Distinguished Service Medal||Meritorious Service Medal||Mariners
|Prisoner of War Medal|
Atlantic War Zone Bar - For service in the Atlantic zone, including the North Atlantic Ocean, South Atlantic Ocean, Gulf of Mexico, Caribbean Sea, Barents Sea, and Greenland Sea.
Mediterranean-Middle East War Zone Bar - For service in the Mediterranean-Middle East zone, including the Mediterranean Sea, Red Sea, Arabian Sea, and Indian Ocean west of eighty degrees east longitude.
Pacific War Zone Bar - For service in the Pacific zone, including the North Pacific Ocean, South Pacific Ocean, and Indian Ocean east of eighty degrees east longitude.
Victory Medal - Awarded to members of the crews of ships who served 30 days or more during the period December 7, 1941 to September 3, 1945. [Designed by John R. Sinnock.]
Merchant Marine Defense Medal - Awarded for service in the U.S. Merchant Marine prior to Pearl Harbor. It may be worn by all merchant seamen who served as members of the crews of U.S. merchant ships from September 8, 1939 and December 7, 1941.
|Atlantic War Zone Medal||Mediterranean-
War Zone Medal
|Pacific War Zone Medal||Victory Medal||Defense Medal|
Gallant Ship Citation Ribbon - Awarded to officers and seamen who served on a ship which at the time of service, was cited for gallantry by the Maritime Administration. The bronze plaque is awarded to the ship. [9 awarded for World War II service. 8 awarded between 1956 and 1965. Designed by Jo Davidson. ]
|Gallant Ship Plaque||Gallant Ship Ribbon|
Combat Bar - The Combat Bar is issued to seamen who serve in a ship which, at the time of such service, is directly attacked or damaged by an instrumentality of war. There is further prescribed for issuance a star (to be attached to such bar) to seamen who are forced to abandon ship when so attacked or damaged. For each additional abandonment, an additional star is attached.
Philippine Defense Ribbon Awarded to members of crews of ships who served in Philippine waters for not less than 30 days from December 8, 1941 to June 15, 1942. [Designed by Juan Nakpil.]
Philippine Liberation Ribbon - Awarded to members of crews of ships who served in Philippine waters for not less than 30 days from October 17, 1944, to September 3, 1945. [Designed by Juan Nakpil.]
Guardian (DoT 9-11) Medal and Ribbon - Awarded to individuals serving in any capacity with the Department of Transportation, Merchant Marine, or to other civilians for acts or service that contributed to recovery from the attacks of September 11, 2001; force protection following the attacks; or, for efforts that directly contributed to the increased infrastructure security effort between September 11, 2001 and September 11, 2002.
|Combat Bar||Philippine Defense Ribbon||Philippine Liberation Ribbon||Guardian
Honorable Service Button - Awarded to members of the crews of ships who served for 30 days during the period December 7, 1941, to September 3, 1945.
Merchant Marine Service Emblem - The Merchant Marine Service Emblem is prescribed as an identifying insignia to be issued to all seamen.
|Merchant Marine Service Emblem||Honorable Service Button|
Korean Service Medal - Awarded for Merchant Marine service during the Korean Conflict awarded for service between June 30, 1950 and September 30, 1953, in waters adjacent to Korea.
Vietnam Service Medal - Awarded for service between July 4, 1965 and August 15, 1973, in waters adjacent to Vietnam.
Merchant Marine Expeditionary Medal - Awarded to Merchant Mariners who served on vessels in the Persian Gulf in direct support of Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm between August 2, 1990 and December 31, 1991.
|Korean Service Medal||Vietnam Service Medal||Merchant Marine Expeditionary Award||Guardian
( 9-11) Medal
Service flag and Service Lapel button - A Merchant Marine Service flag and a service lapel button are prescribed for display by members of the immediate families of seamen serving in the American Merchant Marine during the war period. If the seaman symbolized is killed, or dies while serving, the white star will have superimposed thereon a gold star of smaller size so that the white forms a border. The service lapel button is of enameled metal, and its design a miniature of the service flag. It may be displayed by members of the immediate families of seamen serving in the American Merchant Marine during the war period.
A family member might wear a "son in service" pin that family members would wear to show support for a son,
brother, or husband serving in the Merchant Marine during WWII.
Son in Service pin
Order in which Ribbons are worn:
|Mariner's Medal||Purple Heart||Atlantic War Zone|
|Distinguished Service||Meritorious Service||Gallant Ship|
|Mariner's Medal||Combat Bar||Defense Bar|
|Atlantic War Zone||Mediterranean-Middle East War Zone Bar||Pacific War Zone|
Mariners earned the following medals: awarded for World War II service.
|Medal||WW II Service||Service 1956-1968|
|Distinguished Service Medal||Service beyond the call of duty||148||4|
|Meritorious Service Medal||Meritorious conduct or service (in WWII)||424||97|
|Mariner's Medal, World War II||Dead or wounded||6,635|
|Atlantic War Zone||Service in Atlantic War zone||235,298|
|Mediterranean-Middle East War Zone||Service in Mediterranean-Middle East War zone||150,184|
|Pacific War Zone||Service in Pacific War zone||177,926|
|Combat Bar, World War II||Under enemy attack||114,145|
|Defense Bar World War II||Service in war zone||17,091|
|Victory Medal||Service in war zone||31,269|
|Korean Service||Service in war zone||2,000+|
|Vietnam Service||Service in war zone||5,000+|
Laws Establishing Merchant Marine Medals
In 1944 Walt Disney Studios created a Merchant Marine Emblem
To find out about medals and decorations earned
For information about medals earned, make a written request to
Medals and Decorations
U.S. Maritime Administration, Room 7302
Department of Transportation
Washington, DC 20590
Wartime Memos: U.S. Merchant Marine an Armed Force
President Franklin D. Roosevelt states U.S. Merchant Marine is an Armed Force eligible for war medals and decorations
Places to buy Merchant Marine medals:
- Ship's Service Store
United States Merchant Marine Academy
Kings Point, NY 11024
(516) 773-5000 ext 5229
- Military Medals & Insignia of America click on "online store"
- Lester & Company
- The Quartermaster Uniform Co. P.O. Box 829 750 Long Beach Blvd. Long Beach, CA 90801-0829 (800) 444-8643
Gallant Ships of World War II Merchant Marine
Citations for Distinguished Service Medal
Citations for Meritorious Service Medal
Army & Navy Medals to Mariners in WW II
Laws Establishing Merchant Marine Medals
Men and Ships of WWII
Merchant Marine War Service Awards, Seamen's Service Awards Committee, U.S. Maritime Commission, War Shipping Administration, General Printing Office, Washington, DC, 1945
United States Merchant Marine Insignia and Honor Awards, U.S. Maritime Commission, War Shipping Administration, General Printing Office, Washington, DC, 1944?
Insignia and Honor Awards of the United States Merchant Marine, The United States Merchant Marine Cadet Corps, War Shipping Administration, Training Organization, 1944
U.S. Merchant Marine Medals and Decorations, U.S. Department of Transportation, Maritime Administration, undated poster.
U.S. Merchant Marine Decorations and Awards, Edited by Irwin R. Abraham, 1966
Illustration of Prisoner of War medal courtesy Captain George Duffy
Illustration of "Son in Service" pin courtesy Eric Lewallen
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