Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal


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Navy & Marine Corps Achievement Medal

Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (NAM), is the United States Navy and U.S. Marine Corps’ version of the Achievement Medal. The U.S. Navy was the first branch of the U.S. Armed Forces to award such a medal, doing so in 1961, when it was dubbed the “Secretary of the Navy Commendation for Achievement Medal”. This title was shortened in 1967 to simply, the “Navy Achievement Medal“. On 19 August 1994, to recognize those of the United States Marine Corps who had received the Medal, the name of the decoration was officially changed to the “Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal”. The award is still often referred to in shorthand speech as the “Navy Achievement Medal” or “NAM” for short.

Chain of Command approval

From its inception in the early 1960’s to 2002, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal could not be approved by the commanding officers of ships, submarines, aviation squadron, or shore activities who held the rank of Commander (O-5). Awards for crew members had to be submitted to the Commodore or Air Wing Commander or the first appropriate O-6 in the chain of command for approval, who then signed the award and returned it. This led to a dramatically lower awarding rate when compared to similar size units in the Army or Air Force awarding their own achievement medals, especially considering that those services did not establish their respective achievement medals until the 1980’s. Since 2002 the commanding officers of aviation squadrons and ships have had the authority to award NAM’s without submission to higher authority.  For the Army, battalion commanders (or the first O-5 in a soldier’s chain of command for the Army Achievement Medal.

Five different versions of the Achievement Medal are awarded: one for Joint Service, Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, and the Coast Guard
Awarded by the United States Armed Forces
Type Medal (decoration)
Eligibility Military personnel only
Awarded for “Meritorious service or achievement in either combat or noncombat situations based on sustained performance or specific achievement of a superlative nature but which does not warrant a Commendation Medal or higher.”
Status Currently awarded
Established U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps (1961)
U.S. Coast Guard (1963)
U.S. Army (1981)
U.S. Air Force (1981)
U.S. Joint Service (1983)
Next (higher) Commendation Medals
Next (lower) Navy and Marine Corps: Combat Action Ribbon
Army: Prisoner of War Medal
Air Force: Combat Action Medal
Coast Guard: Commandant’s Letter of Commendation Ribbon
Joint Service Achievement Medal ribbon.svg Army Achievement Medal ribbon.svg
Air Force Achievement Medal ribbon.svg Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal ribbon.svg U.S. Coast Guard Achievement Medal ribbon.svg
Service ribbons for the Joint Service, Army, Air Force, Navy and Marine Corps, and Coast Guard Achievement Medals

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