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The Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal (NAM), is the United States Navy and U.S. Marine Corps' version of the Achievement Medal. The U.S. Navy was the first branch of the U.S. Armed Forces to award such a medal, doing so in 1961, when it was dubbed the "Secretary of the Navy Commendation for Achievement Medal". This title was shortened in 1967 to simply, the "Navy Achievement Medal". On August 19, 1994, to recognize those of the United States Marine Corps who had received the Navy Achievement Medal, the name of the decoration was officially changed to the "Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal". The award is still often referred to in shorthand speech as the "Navy Achievement Medal" or "NAM" for short.
Chain of Command approval
From its inception in the early 1960s to 2002, the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal could not be approved by the commanding officers of ships, submarines, aviation squadron, or shore activities who held the rank of Commander (O-5). Awards for crewmembers had to be submitted to the Commodore or Air Wing Commander or the first appropriate O-6 in the chain of command for approval, who then signed the award and returned it. This led to a dramatically lower awarding rate when compared to similar size units in the Army or Air Force awarding their own achievement medals, especially considering that those services did not establish their respective achievement medals until the 1980s. Since 2002 the commanding officers of aviation squadrons and ships have had the authority to award NAMs without submission to higher authority. This is in contrast to the Army, where battalion commanders or the first O-5 in a soldier's chain of command are the authorizing official.