Congress established the Navy And Marine Corps Medal on August 7, 1942. The award was given to those members of the Navy or Marine Corps who have distinguished themselves for heroism not involving actual combat with he enemy.

Lieutenant Commander McClelland Barclay, U.S. N.R, designed the decoration. The octagonal medal has an interesting fusion of the Navy and Marine insignia and the word HEROISM on the observe. The reverse can be inscribed with the name of the recipient. A gold star is given in the event of additional awards. Perhaps the best known recipient was John F. Kennedy, for the rescue of members of his crew after the sinking of PT 109.