The Puerto Rico National Guard Distinguished Service Medal honors Puerto Rico National Guard members who carry out exceptional service on behalf of the Guard; it is presented by the Adjutant General.
The Puerto Rico National Guard consists of the Puerto Rico Army National Guard and the Puerto Rico Air National Guard. The Army component originated with militia activity under Juan Ponce de Leon in the 1500s and currently number approximately 7,200 soldiers; it is based in San Juan. The Air component, which numbers approximately 1,200 airmen and women, is based in Central Carolina and traces it roots back to 1947; its major unit at present is the 156th Airlift Wing.
The medal features a ship’s wheel in red enamel and the Puerto Rico coat of arms encircled by an inscription reading “PUERTO RICO NATIONAL GUARD”; it is wreathed by laurels. The ribbon is divided into three equal sections with yellow in the middle and red on either side.