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    Heather Strong

    Hello, I’m new to the forum. I found one of my grandfather’s military medals that I can’t seem to find any information regarding. He was a Lt. Col. in the Air Force during WWII, Vietnam, and Korea. The medal says, “Life Saving” on the front, and his name and an emblem for the Boy Scouts is on the back. My dad says he earned it for saving a fellow military member from drowning during WWII.

    Have any of you seen this medal before? I want to replace the ribbon and give it to my dad for his birthday, but since I can’t find this medal online, I’m not sure exactly what the original ribbon looked like. I still have it, but it’s deteriorating.

    Thanks for any insight!

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    Paul Fanning

    Yes, I have. I collected medals to the BSA for many years, finally selling the last of them two years ago to a dealer-friend.

    What you have is an un-official lifesaving medal that began in the BSA catalogs from the teens on as a contest medal. They were made in bronze-silver-gold and in this form both the obverse and reverse of the medal could be engraved. They are often seen engraved by troops for service medals or locally issued awards. The BSA awarded from 1912 on the “official” lifesaving medals-at first in bronze-silver-gold as well. You can find all this information on various online sites.

    As this is un-dated, it would be interesting to know what and when it was awarded to Joseph Strong. The seal on the reverse of the BSA National Council puts it in the range of teens to 1940’s-but I would venture to say by the engraving, etc., some time in the 1930’s.

    The contest medals, sometimes un-engraved and in box can be found on eBay. The blue ribbon does tend to fade; however mint examples are not uncommon.

    I am assuming Scout Smith was very proud of his award (as I am of my personal Scout awards) to include it in his military awards. Obviously this would not have been worn on his AF uniform!

    I hope I have been of some help.



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