The California National Guard Memorial Service Medal honors California National Guard members who are killed while carrying out service on behalf of California or the United States. It is given to the honoree’s next-of-kin. Individuals whose death results from misconduct are not eligible for the award.
At nearly 23,000 members, the California National Guard is the largest in the country; it is made up of the California Army National Guard and California Air National Guard. The Army component dates back to the 1849 founding of a state militia, then called the First California Guard; the Air component, based in Sacramento, traces its roots back to August of 1917 when the 115th Aero Squadron was formed to support the United States’ efforts in World War I.
The medal features the image of the Seal of California encircled by a redwood wreath and an inscription reading “THE GREAT SEAL OF THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA.” The reverse reads “MEMORIAL MEDAL” with a space to engrave the name of the awardee. The ribbon is black with a thin vertical yellow stripe on each edge.