Created on June 28, 1941, the Army Good Conduct Medal may be presented to any active member of the United States military who demonstrates three uninterrupted years of honorable behavior in service. Infractions or any disciplinary action cause the three-year clock to start over. In wartime, one year of such behavior may be sufficient for the award. There is a Good Conduct Medal for the Navy (established in 1869), the Marine Corps (1896), the Coast Guard (1923), the Army (1941), and the Air Force (1963).
The medal and ribbon for each branch’s version of the award have undergone a number of changes over time. The Army Good Conduct Medal features an eagle atop a sword and a book, encircled by an inscription that reads “EFFICIENCY HONOR FIDELITY.” The reverse of the medal features a five-pointed star above a scroll with a space for the recipient’s name to be engraved. An oak branch and a laurel branch decorate the edges of the medal, and an inscription reads “FOR GOOD CONDUCT.”
The ribbon is red with three thin vertical white stripes toward each edge.
Bars or clasps may be issued to signify subsequent instances of the award.