The Army Good Conduct Medal: Everything You Need to Know About It

An Army award that has been in place since World War II is the Army Good Conduct Medal. Have you earned one?

This award has been debated by some because many believe that any soldier or officer in the United States Army should always be on their best conduct. In this writer’s opinion, there is nothing wrong in recognizing soldiers who have shown conduct that is exemplary.

In today’s post, we will examine the Army Good Conduct Medal and everything you need to know about it. If you have not yet pinned this medal on your uniform, hopefully this article can show you what you need to earn this award.


On June 28th, 1941, President Franklin Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8809 which stated that enlisted soldiers who have served 3 years of continuous service and are recommended by their commanding officer for fidelity, efficiency and exemplary service can be awarded the Army Good Conduct Medal. This included any who had served since August 26th of 1940.

On March 31st, 1943, President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9323 which lowered the service to 1 year for soldiers serving in World War II. On April 10th of 1953, President Dwight Eisenhower signed Executive Order 10444 which stated the 1 year system would apply for the Korean War and any other wars that came after.

The Army Good Conduct Medal was designed by the great American sculptor: Joseph Kiselewski.


To be able to receive the Army Good Conduct Medal, a soldier must be:

  • An active component enlisted soldier.

  • Ready Reserve soldier ordered to active duty.

  • Active Guard soldiers serving extended periods of active duty on or after September 1st, 1982.

  • An enlisted Army personnel as directed by the Secretary of the Army.

When an enlisted soldier is considered for the Army Good Conduct Medal, the first priority is that no non-judicial punishments, disciplinary measures or court martial offenses have been set against the soldier within the 3 year period, or 1 year period if during war time.

If the soldier has completed the time and has no records of any offenses, his/her immediate commander can approve the award.

Soldiers can be awarded multiple Army Good Conduct medals, but after the first one, subsequent medals are denoted with clasps. For the 2nd through the 5th medals, bronze clasps are given. The 6th through the 10th awards are silver clasps, and all awards after are denoted with gold clasps.

For the best information regarding the Army Good Conduct Medal, Army Regulation 600-8-22 should be read.

Design and Uniform Wear Precedence

The Army Good Conduct Medal is a bronze medal with an eagle standing on a Roman sword and a closed book. The words

  • Efficiency

  • Honor

  • Fidelity

all encircle the eagle. On the back of the medal is a five pointed star and a scroll with the words: For Good Conduct. On the outer edge is one laurel branch and one oak branch.

The wear of the Army Good Conduct Medal is just above the Army Reserve Good Conduct Medal and just below the Prisoner of War Medal.

Other posts you may enjoy:

  1. About The Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal
  2. Military Units Who Have Been Honored With The Congressional Gold Medal
  3. The Defense Meritorious Service Medal: 15 Cool Facts
  4. The Army Soldier’s Medal: 13 Cool Facts

Important Facts

Over the years, many commanders and soldiers have had questions about the Army Good Conduct Medal. While I cannot possibly answer every question in this article, I am posting some of the most prominent ones that have come up. If you do have a question about the Army Good Conduct Medal that you have not found an answer to, you can post it in the comment area at the end of this post, and we will do our best to provide an answer.

  1. During wars and conflicts the first award can be given a soldier after 1 year of continuous service with no discipline problems. Any awards after must have 3 years of service.

  2. If a soldier crosses from a different military branch (Navy, Air Force, etc…) to the Army without a break in service, the time in the other branch does count towards their Army Good Conduct Medal.

  3. If a soldier has earned a Good Conduct Medal with another branch and crosses over to the Army, they must have 3 years of continuous service to receive the Army Good Conduct Medal.

  4. Those soldiers who died before completing their 1 year of continuous service can be posthumously awarded the Army Good Conduct Medal.

For any questions regarding the Army Good Conduct Medal, it is wise to just contact United States Army Human Resources Command (HRC). They can be contacted via email at or by phone at 1-888-ARMYHRC.

Final Thoughts

I believe each and every soldier should be able to receive the Army Good Conduct Medal. Upon entering the Army, we vowed to perform up to the expectations this award calls for. Earning this award should be an immediate goal of every enlisted soldier.

I am doing a call out. Those of you reading this article that have earned the Army Good Conduct Medal, we would like to give you some recognition. Please tell us your name, rank and when you were awarded the Army Good Conduct Medal.

Thank you for your service.

Again, if you have any comments or questions, feel free to post them below.

chuck holmes

Chuck Holmes
Former Army Major (resigned)

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