The South Carolina National Guard Exceptional Service Medal honors South Carolina National Guard members who carry out noteworthy service in the event of a state or federal emergency as determined by the appropriate authorities; qualifying service typically entails protecting the health, safety, and/or property of others.
The South Carolina National Guard is composed of the South Carolina Army National Guard and the South Carolina Air National Guard; it numbers approximately 10,000 soldiers and airmen in total. The Army component is based in Columbia and traces back to colonial militia activity in 1670. The Air component, also based in Columbia, originated in December of 1946 with the formation of the 157th Fighter Squadron.
The ribbon is red with a thick vertical white stripe in the center decorated by three thin vertical black lines; the ribbon also features black edging.