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Navy & Marine Corps Awards and Decorations
Navy Good Conduct Medal (NGCM)
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Authorization. The NGCM was established by SECNAV on 26 April 1869 to recognize the “all-around” good Navy enlisted person, well qualified in all phases of conduct and performance. Effective 1 February 1971, commanding officers were delegated authority to award the NGCM and certificates. The CNO has review authority over the GCM and designates specific criteria for the award.

Eligibility Requirements

Service. After 1 November 1963 any 4 years of continuous active service as an enlisted person in the Regular Navy or Naval Reserve. Per NAVADMIN 305/95, After 1 January 1996, the qualifying period of eligibility is 3 years vice 4 years for service terminating after that date. For first enlistments this requirement may be fulfilled by:

1. Continuous active service during a minority enlistment provided the member concerned served on active duty to the day preceding his/her 21st birthday even though he/she extended the enlistment and remained on active duty; or

2. Continuous active service during a minority enlistment provided the member concerned served on active duty within 3 months of the day preceding his/her 21st birthday; or

3. Continuous active service during a first enlistment for 4 years from which the member concerned has been discharged or released to inactive duty within 3 months of the date of expiration of enlistment. (This does not apply to those members who are discharged for the purpose of immediate reenlistment.)

4. Per NAVADMIN 320/95, any continuous 3 years or more of qualifying service ending on or after 1 January 1996 warrants entitlement to subject medals. Retroactive computation or other changes to existing criteria is not authorized. (Ex: An individual with 3 years 11 months of qualifying service would be eligible to receive the award on 1 January 1996 and again 1 January 1999 if qualifications are met. However, an individual with 2 years 6 months of qualifying service on 1 January 1996, would not eligible for the award until a full 3 years of service has been completed on 1 July 1996.) Additionally, this change does not affect the requirements for service stripes.


Within the required period of active service, the individual must have a clear record (no convictions by courts-martial, no non-judicial punishments (NJP), no lost time by reason of sickness-misconduct, no civil convictions for offenses involving moral turpitude).

a. If confinement as result of conviction by any courts-martial (general, special or summary) is involved, a new 3-year period shall begin with date of restoration to duty on a probationary basis. If confinement is not included in approved sentence of the courts-martial, a new 3-year period shall begin with date of convening authority action.

b. If the service record contains an NJP, a new 3-year period shall begin with the date following the date of the offense. However, when the date of the offense cannot be determined, the new 3-year period shall begin with the date following the NJP.

c. If convicted by civil authorities for an offense involving moral turpitude, a new 3-year period shall begin with date of return to active duty status. d. If the record contains a disqualifying mark which is not the result of an NJP, the new 3-year period shall begin with the next date following the date of the mark.

Performance marks required during period of eligibility.

Subsequent to 1 January 1996, no mark below 2.0 in any trait.

Between to 31 August 1983 and 31 December 1995 no mark below 3.0 in Military Knowledge/Performance, Rating Knowledge/Performance, Reliability, Military Bearing, Personal Behavior and Directing.

Prior to 31 August 1983.

a. E-4 and below. No mark below 3.0 in any trait.

b. E-5 and E-6. No Mark below EEL (Typically Effective-Lower) in Directing, Individual Productivity, Reliability or Conduct.

c. E-7 to E-9. No Mark below the bottom 50 percent in Performance, Reliability, Conduct or Directing. If an individual receives a disqualifying trait mark, a new period of eligibility would begin on the day following the ending date of the performance evaluation report which contains the disqualifying trait mark.

Subsequent to 17 May 1974, for the first award only, the Good Conduct Medal may be awarded in the following cases provided conduct and performance requirements are met:

(a) For those individuals who are killed in combat action against an opposing armed force, or die as a direct result of wounds received in combat action against an opposing armed force, the award may be presented posthumously to the next of kin.

(b) For those individuals who are separated from the naval service for physical disability as a result of wounds incurred in combat action against an opposing armed force, or in the line of duty where such wounds were directly related to action against the enemy.

(c) For those individuals who die while in a Prisoner of War (POW) status, the NGCM may be presented post­humously to the next of kin, provided it has been determined that conduct while in a POW status was acceptable.

A certificate shall be prepared for each award. The member’s rate, name, branch of service and number of the award shall be centered in the appropriate spaces. The ending date of the period of service for which the award was earned shall be centered after “Awarded for service completed on.” The command­ ing officer’s name, rank and branch of service shall be typed above “Commanding Officer” and his/her signature affixed.

Attachments. A bronze star, 3/16 inch in diameter will be worn on the suspension ribbon and bar to denote subsequent awards.


1. For personnel who are serving in a first enlistment of 3 years and who have met the eligibility requirements except for length of service, the NGCM may be presented 3 months prior to the eligibility date.

2. A member not eligible for the NGCM under the foregoing criteria who reenlists or reports for active duty within 3 months after discharge or release to inactive duty is considered to be serving under “continuous active service” conditions. While the time between the date of separation and date of return to active duty is not counted as an interruption of active service, it may not be included in computing time served. A member who reenlists or reports for active duty after 3 months must begin a new 3-year period on the date of reenlistment or reporting for active duty.

3. An enlisted member appointed a temporary warrant or commis­ sioned officer is entitled to include such temporary service upon reverting to an enlisted status for any purpose (including discharge to accept appointment as a permanent officer). Naval Academy midshipmen who are not commissioned, but are retained in the service in an enlisted status, may include such midshipman service for the purpose of earning the NGCM. Except as provided above, service in warrant, commissioned, or Naval Academy midshipman status may not be included in computing time served.

4. Active service in a Reserve status credited toward the Naval Reserve Meritorious Service Medal may not be credited for the NGCM Award.

5. When the requirements have been met, but it is evident that the individual is not deserving of this award due to a repeated record of valid letters of indebtedness, or other acts which are not in keeping with the high moral standards required of all Navy personnel, the commanding officer will make appropriate recommendations to CNO (N09B13) stating the reasons.

6. If there is insufficient evidence in a member’s service record to determine eligibility for the NGCM or subsequent award, a copy of service record page 9, Enlisted Performance Record, (NAVPERS 1070/609) should be requested from BUPERS in order to complete the service record and determine the member’s eligibility for the award.

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