Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal
Awarded to any member of the U.S. Coast Guard who distinguishes him or herself by exceptionally meritorious service to the United States Government in a duty of great responsibility. The decoration is typically awarded to senior flag officers, such as the Commandant of the Coast Guard. Until 2003, the bestowing authority of the Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal was the United States Secretary of Transportation. The award is now authorized through the Department of Homeland Security. The Department of Transportation Distinguished Service Medal is a Coast Guard decoration senior to the Coast Distinguished Service Medal. This decoration was discontinued in 2003, upon the Coast Guard's transfer to the Department of Homeland Security. The award was created in August 1949 by order of the United States Congress. Prior to this date, members of the Coast Guard were eligible to receive the Navy Distinguished Service Medal.