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Defense Distinguished Service Medal

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The Defense Distinguished Service Medal is a military decoration of the United States Department of Defense, which is presented to United States Armed Forces servicemembers for exceptionally distinguished performance of duty contributing to the national security or defense of the United States. The medal was created on July 9, 1970, by President Richard Nixon in Executive Order 11545. President Nixon awarded the first medal, on the day the Executive Order was signed, to General Earle Wheeler, who was retiring from the US Army after serving as Chief of Staff of the United States Army and then Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

It is equivalent to the United States Department of Homeland Security's Homeland Security Distinguished Service Medal.