Chet Edwards

2011, Chet Edwards

Former U.S. Democratic Rep. Chet Edwards was honored with the Distinguished Service Medal at the 93rd National Convention in Minneapolis for his unflagging support of Legion principles during his time in office.

National Commander Jimmie Foster, in presenting the award, lauded Edwards as "a true champion for veterans and American Legion issues ... although his district was in Waco, Texas, his legislative record benefited veterans everywhere.

Boy Scouts of America

2010, Boy Scouts of America

Boy Scouts of America, the first national youth activity officially recognized by The American Legion, received the Distinguished Service Medal at the 92nd National Convention in Milwaukee.

Gen. David Petraeus

2009, Gen. David Petraeus

For his leadership as commander of Multi-National Force Iraq in 2007 and 2008, Petraeus received the Legion's Distinguished Service Medal in 2009.

Presenting the award, National Commander David K. Rehbein praised Petraeus for the success of the "surge" strategy. "He would be the first to tell you that the credit for the success in Iraq belongs to those who served and those who are still serving there," he told Legionnaires.

President George W. Bush

2008, President George W. Bush

For combating terrorism and resolving to keep America strong in the face of global threats, the nation's 43rd commander in chief received The American Legion's Distinguished Service Medal in 2008.

Dr. Kenneth W. Kizer

2007, Dr. Kenneth W. Kizer

In 2007, The American Legion awarded Kizer the Distinguished Service Medal, recognizing him as the chief architect and driving force behind the radical transformation of VA health care between 1994 and 1999.

A former Navy diver and member of Post 38 in Rockland, Calif., Kizer "truly understands the concept of veterans helping veterans," National Commander Paul Morin said.

Maj. Gen. Patrick H. Brady

2006, Maj. Gen. Patrick H. Brady

For his vision and leadership in the Citizens Flag Alliance's campaign to return to the American people the right to protect their flag, Brady received the Legion's Distinguished Service Medal in 2006.

"Our nation is secure from any external threat," Brady told convention delegates. "The true threat is internal. And it comes from an elite of counterfeit patriots who ... were raised on a different playing field than we were. They never saw a battlefield. They will never sacrifice life or limb for America. In fact, they don't believe in sacrifice."

Gen. Richard B. Myers

2005, Gen. Richard B. Myers

Praised by National Commander Thomas P. Cadmus for "his vision and leadership in today's defense efforts and the pursuit of peace," Myers - who served as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2001 to 2005 - received the Legion's Distinguished Service Medal in 2005.

Drs. Jeanne Mager Stellman and Steven Stellman

2003, Drs. Jeanne Mager Stellman and Steven Stellman

For their work linking illnesses of Vietnam War veterans to the herbicide and defoliant sprayed by the U.S. military in country, The American Legion recognized chemist Jeanne Mager Stellman and her husband Steven, an epidemiologist, with the Distinguished Service Medal in 2003.

Rep. Bob Stump

2002, Rep. Bob Stump

One of The American Legion's great friends in Congress and a strong advocate for veterans, Stump received the Distinguished Service Medal in 2002. Though he was too ill to attend the national convention, he sent a message of gratitude via videotape.

In his tribute, National Commander Richard J. Santos said Stump "has three strong characteristics among his core values: hard work, perseverance and civil service. Throughout his life, he has demonstrated a love of God and country, and a passion for the law and our constitution."

Gen. Henry H. Shelton

2001, Gen. Henry H. Shelton

Just months before the end of his second term as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Shelton made his last formal appearance before The American Legion, receiving its 2001 Distinguished Service Medal.

National Commander Ray G. Smith said that to be considered for the Distinguished Service Award, "one must demonstrate outstanding service to the nation and to the programs of The American Legion. Our recipient this year is well qualified."