New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs

Alert: DMAVA offices are closed Wednesday, 3/7/18, due to inclement weather conditions.
(Close Alert)

New Jersey Distinguished Service Medal


The New Jersey Distinguished Service Medal

The New Jersey Distinguished Service Medal was originally issued in 1858 for those who had distinguished themselves in the New Jersey Militia, but was infrequently used until re-authorized by Governor Kean in 1988.

After the Spanish American War, the Mexican Border Expedition and again after World War I, the State of New Jersey minted special medals for returning NJ veterans to honor their service.

However, after WWII, Korea, Vietnam and subsequent combat actions no such medal was available. The State of New Jersey was looking for an appropriate way to honor these returning combat veterans and acknowledge the debt the state owed them for their service.

The Distinguished Service Medal was re-authorized for this purpose and is New Jersey's highest military award.


Honorably Discharged Veteran of the Armed Forces of the United States who served in time of war or national emergency and meet the following criteria:


  • Current resident of New Jersey or who was a resident at the time of entry into military service or who has been a resident of this State for at least twenty years in the aggregate.
  • Served in combat theater while on active duty during wartime or National emergency
  • Must have received an Honorable Discharge (General Discharge Under Honorable Conditions)
  • Those recipients whose service was recognized by the award of the Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Air Medal or equivalent medal receive NJ DSM with a Silver Oak Leaf Cluster
  • Posthumous award authorized

For posthumous awards, the surviving spouse or immediate family member of any resident of the State meeting the above requirements for a medal and who was killed while on active duty or died after receiving an honorable discharge from the armed forces may apply for a posthumous awarding of the medal.

Request must include copy of the veteran’s death certificate and proof of relationship as father, mother, husband, wife, son, daughter, brother or sister. (Proof may be copies of birth, marriage, baptismal certificates which clearly show relationship, or notarized certificate.)

How to Apply

Individuals applying for the award must mail a completed Application for Award / Program form or a similar request in writing along with a copy of the service members WD Form 53 or DD Form 214 (Separation from Active Duty) attesting to the fact that an Honorable Discharge was granted.

Note: No person shall be entitled to more than one award of the medal.

All Requests should be mailed to: NJ Dept of Military and Veterans Affairs ATTN: DVS-VBB(Medals) PO Box 340 Trenton, NJ 08625-0340

Additional Information

For additional information about this service medal, you can contact the New Jersey Department of Military and Veterans Affairs using one of the methods below.

Telephone & Fax

Telephone: (609) 530-6954 Fax: (609) 530-6970

Contact Form

Please include a mailing address, email address, or phone number we can reach you at.

DO NOT include any sensitive information, such a Social Security Number, as this is not a secure communication method.

All fields marked with a "*" are mandatory.