Explore Distinguished Service Medals

Legion.org now offers an archive of past recipients of The American Legion’s highest honor, the Distinguished Service Medal. Available here, the winners are arranged by year.

Beginning in 1921, the Legion has bestowed medals on men, women and groups from all walks of life who the Legion considers to have offered "outstanding service to the nation and to the ideals of The American Legion." Celebrities such as Bob Hope, legislators such as Sen. Strom Thurmond, military leaders such as 2009 winner Gen. David Petraeus, the average GI Joe such as all the dead and missing of the Vietnam War, and many others have been presented with a medallion and plaque at the national convention each year, after nomination either from the national commander or by department action.

Magazine and Library staff worked together, with the help of a freelancer, to research each winner’s biography and the contributions that led them to receive the medal. This archive is a work in progress, and will continue to be updated for future winners. A graphic representation of past winners will also appear in the August issue of The American Legion Magazine. This year’s Distinguished Service Medal will be awarded at the 92nd National Convention in Milwaukee.