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Silver Lifesaving Medal (Coast Guard)


Obverse:  In the center of a silver medal 1-7/16 inches in diameter, a man is struggling in a heavy sea; hovering above him is the figure of a woman offering him one end of a long scarf.  The entire scene is contained within a raised border.  In the upper third of this border, following the contour of the medal, are the words “UNITED STATES OF AMERICA” in raised letters.  In the bottom third, the words “ACT OF CONGRESS AUGUST 4, 1949.”

Reverse:  The center of the reverse of the medal is blank and is encircled by a laurel wreath tied at its base with a bow.  The wreath is contained within a raised border which bears the inscription in raised letters, “IN TESTAMENT OF HEROIC DEEDS IN SAVING LIFE FROM THE PERILS OF THE SEA.”  At the bottom of the medal, separating the beginning and ending of the inscription, is a stylized laurel wreath.

The ribbon has a broad center stripe of silver separated from blue edge stripes by narrow pinstripes of white.

See COMDTINST M1650.25D (Medals and Awards Manual).

The Silver Lifesaving Medal was established by Act of Congress, approved June 20, 1874.  It is awarded by the Commandant of the Coast Guard to any person (not only uniformed) who rescues, or endeavors to rescue, any other person from drowning, shipwreck or other peril of water.  To merit award of the Silver Lifesaving Medal, the rescue must involve such significant effort that it merits recognition, but not at the level recognized by the Gold Lifesaving Medal.  The Department of the Treasury initially presented the award, but today, the U.S. Coast Guard awards it through the Department of Homeland Security.

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