Army Distinguished Service Medal
Awarded to any soldier who, while serving in any capacity with the United States Army, distinguishes himself or herself with exceptionally meritorious service to the United States in a duty of great responsibility. The performance must be of a level as to merit recognition for service that is clearly “exceptional.” Exceptional performance of normal duties does not alone justify the award. For service not related to actual war, the term "duty of a great responsibility" applies to a narrower range of positions than in time of war, and requires evidence of conspicuously significant achievement. However, justification of the award may accrue by virtue of exceptionally meritorious service in a succession of higher positions of great importance. Because of the medal's criteria, most recipients of the Army Distinguished Service Medal are general officers. Awards may also be made to persons other than members of the U.S. Armed Forces for wartime services only, and then only under exceptional circumstances, with express Presidential approval. Separate Distinguished Service Medals exist for the different U.S. branches of service as well as a fifth version of the medal (a senior award of the United States Department of Defense).