The Coast Guard Medal is a decoration of the United States military that is awarded to any service member who, while serving in any capacity with the United States Coast Guard, distinguishes themselves by heroism not involving actual conflict with an enemy. For the decoration to be awarded, an individual must have performed a voluntary act of heroism in the face of great personal danger or of such a magnitude that it stands out distinctly above normal expectations.
The Coast Guard Medal was first authorized in 1949, but it was not until 1958 that the medal was actually bestowed. The first recipients of the Coast Guard Medal were Petty Officers Third Class Earl Leyda and Raymond Johnson who were awarded the decoration in June 1958. The citation for the Coast Guard Medal was for actions performed in August 1957 while attempting to rescue trapped workers from the Oswego Water Works Tunnel, under Lake Ontario, in Oswego, New York.