Established in 1972, the Maryland National Guard Distinguished Service Cross honors Maryland National Guard members who execute acts of heroism while carrying out honorable service, typically involving positions or duties of significant responsibility.
The Maryland National Guard is composed of the Maryland Army National Guard and the Maryland Air National Guard. The origins of the Army component date back to colonial militia activity as early as 1634 near the Chesapeake Bay; it is currently headquartered in Baltimore. The Air component, also based in Baltimore, consists primarily in the 175th Wing and originated in 1921 with the federal recognition of the 104th Observation Squadron.
The medal is in the shape of a cross with red and white enamel and bearing the image of the Maryland Coat of Arms.The ribbon is red with no additional decoration.
Additional awards may be indicated by oak leaf clusters, and a bronze “V” may be issued for acts of heroism.