Created on July 20, 1896, the Marine Corps 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. Prior to 1945, the requisite term of service was four years. 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 features the image of a marine behind a cannon superimposed over an anchor and encircled by a chain as well as an inscription reading “UNITED STATES MARINE CORPS” and a scroll reading “SEMPER FIDELIS.” The ribbon is dark red and is bisected by a thin vertical black stripe; it is joined to the medal by a rifle clasp.
Additional awards may be indicated by service stars.