Created in 1869, the 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 Navy Good Conduct Medal WWII features an image of the USS Constitution framed by a rope and positioned in front of an anchor. A chain runs around the perimeter of the medal, and an inscription reads “UNITED STATES NAVY.” The ribbon is solid red without additional decoration; enlistment bars may be pinned to the ribbon.
Service stars may be issued to signify subsequent instances of the award.