The Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal is a decoration of the United States Coast Guard that 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.
The Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal is awarded to any member of the U.S. Coast Guard who distinguishes themselves 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. The first award of the Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medal was to Admiral Alfred C. Richmond, USCG, who was awarded the medal in 1961. In 1998, Master Chief Petty Officer of the Coast Guard Rick Trent became the first enlisted member to receive the medal.