The Distinguished Service Medal of the National People’s Army, or “Medal of Merit of the National People’s Army”.
Established in 1956 in three levels, Gold, Silver and Bronze. It was awarded for outstanding merit and personal readiness in support of the increase of combat capability and combat readiness of the National People’s Army in the DDR. The medal was last awarded in 1990.
The medal was designed by artist Paul Gensch. On the front are profiles of the busts of a 1950s era sailor, airman, and soldier representing the nation’s Land, Air, and Naval forces, under which is spelled out “DDR”. On each side of this are three oak leaves with an acorn. The words FÜR HERVORRAGENDE VERDIENSTE (FOR OUTSTANDING MERIT) form the upper part of the medal, the lower part contain the words NATIONALE VOLKSARMEE (NATIONAL PEOPLE’S ARMY).
On the reverse side are the state coat of arms of East Germany, surrounded with the words FÜR DEN SCHUTZ DER ARBEITER UND BAUERN MACHT (FOR THE PROTECTION OF THE WORKERS AND FARMERS POWER) surrounded by two branches of laurel.