Operational Distinguishing Device

The Operational Distinguishing Device ("O" device) is a miniature silver 516 inch letter "O" that is authorized by the United States Coast Guard as a ribbon device[1] which may be authorized for wear on certain awards and decorations of the United States Coast Guard.[2]

Operational Distinguishing Device
Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation with
"O" (Operational) device and 516 Inch Stars
Awarded by the
Department of Homeland Security
CountryUnited States of America
TypeRibbon device
EligibilityCoast Guard personnel
Awarded forDirect participation in missions of an operational "hands on" nature.

The "O" device is either centered on the suspension and service ribbon of the medal or unit award ribbon, or to the middle-right if there are an even number of letter devices on the ribbon. Any authorized gold 516 Inch Stars alternate around the "O" device. The first star is placed to the wearer’s right of the "O" device and the second star is placed to wearer's left of the "O" device. Only one "O" device may be worn per ribbon.[2]

Eligibility criteria are based on a member's or unit's direct participation in missions of an operational "hands on" nature. To qualify for this device on a decoration, both the person's work and unit must be operational in nature.

Such examples include search and rescue, fire fighting, maritime law enforcement, disaster relief, pollution response, and aids to navigation maintenance and operations.

The decision to authorize an Operational Distinguishing Device is made by the award approving authority, giving a wide discretion as to what actions may qualify.

Authorized awards

The Operational Distinguishing Device may be authorized for wear on the following awards:[3]

Personal awards

Unit awards

See also


  1. "Department of Defense Manual 1348.33, Volume 3" (PDF). Defense Technical Information Center. 23 November 2010. pp. 1, 1. (2) "service devices". Retrieved 16 October 2012.
  3. COMDTINST M1650.25D, Medals and Awards Manual, Chapter 1, Table 1
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