Navy Good Conduct Medal

By 1880 the Navy had recognized the need to redesign the badge to be more suitable for the uniform.

The new design (Type II) was proposed by Commodore Winfield Scott Schley and was adopted from the letterhead of the Navy’s Bureau of Equipment & Recruiting.

The obverse states "United States Navy" around the outer boarder and the USS Constitution in the center with an anchor through the middle in the background.

The reverse states “Fidelity Zeal Obedience” and leaves the center space for engraving the recipient’s name, rank, service period, and ship/station.

Only about 500 sailors received the Type II award.

Commodore Winfield S. Schley
Navy GCM Designer

Type II, Good
Conduct Medal

Obverse of Navy Good Conduct Medal

In November 1884, the Navy Department authorized the type III GCM, which introduced the maroon colored ribbon. Award criteria was changed for a three year continuous active duty service.

For subsequent awards, clasps were introduced with the ship’s name/station on the obverse and the reverse with issue date and recipient’s name or number.

After 1930, the clasps were changed to “SECOND AWARD”, “THIRD AWARD”… In 1953, a 3/16th” bronze star replaced the clasp.

Type III, Good Conduct Medal Issued to “David Butler”

1st Enlistment
Award “C.S.C No 22507 David Butler USS New Hampshire Dec. 19, 1911”

4th Enlistment
“Rec’g Ship at New York”, “ No. 22057 7 July 1922”

3rd Enlistment
“USS Antigone”, “CSC 22057 Sept 15, 1919”

2nd Enlistment
“USS Dixie”, “No. 22057 Dec 1, 1915”

In 1960, the Type IV (current version) was issued removing the suspension bar.

Ships served on by David Butler from 1911 - 1922

Type IV, (current) Good Conduct Medal (five enlistments)

USS Dixie (later AD-1) Destroyer Tender

USS New Hampshire, (BB-25) Battleship

USS Antigone (ID-3007) Transport

Navy Evaluation Report 1920

Professional Qualifications

  • Proficiency in Rating
  • Seamanship
  • Signaling
  • Marksmanship, small arms
  • Mechanical ability
  • Knowledge of maritime machinery
  • Knowledge of electrical machinery and apparatus
  • Ability of leader of men


  • Sobriety
  • Obedience
  • Recommended for honorable discharge
  • Recommended for Good Conduct Medal
  • Recommended for reenlistment
  • Rating best qualified to fill