Spirit of Service Award plaques are displayed on a table during the annual American Legion Department Convention in Spokane, Washington, July 19, 2019. The Legion gives the Spirit of Service Awards annually to members from each branch who excel in their performance on-duty and are also actively involved in their local community.


For the 20th consecutive year, the American Legion will award the Spirit of Service to an enlisted member of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marine Corps and Coast Guard.

Although the American Legion National Convention is cancelled this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Legion will still honor a winner from each branch. Legion leadership wants to ensure these outstanding service members are still recognized for their service.

Packages for nominations are now being accepted and must be submitted by June 1.

The Legion will select one winner from each service based primarily on the level of volunteerism the service member performs off-duty in a local community.

Eligible Sailors must be E-5 or below, epitomize Navy core values and be nominated by the service member's commanding officer (CO).

The main criterion of the award is the level of volunteer community service that a Sailor performs off-duty in the local community. Command-sponsored volunteer activities, either on duty or off, will not be counted. The period of service is Jan. 1-Dec. 31, 2019, and nominees must be E-5 or below during the period of service. Nominees may be active or Reserve, and must be outstanding military professionals. Previous winners of this award are not eligible.

Nominations must be on command letterhead and indicate the CO’s confidence in the Sailor’s professionalism and as a representative of the Navy, the validity of the volunteer efforts, and a commitment to facilitate their nominee’s attendance at the national convention if selected. Endorsements are not required.

The description of volunteer efforts must include quantitative data such as hours, days, or months spent on off-duty volunteer community service. Command-sponsored volunteer activities, either on-duty or off-duty, will not be counted. This description should be provided in a bullet format.

A high-resolution JPEG head and full-body photograph of the Sailor is required. If chosen as the award recipient, the nominee's photo will be used in printed and online material. The photo should be similar to those commonly associated with Navy leader biographies and official portrait photos.

If chosen as the award recipient, the biography will be used in the Legion's magazine. The biography should include hometown information, as well as professional highlights and qualifications.

A written and signed statement of consent by the Sailor, authorizing release of information contained in the nomination, is required per the Privacy Act of 1974. The following statement is a sample of written consent: "I, (rate/rank/full name), do hereby authorize the release of all information enclosed in this nomination package to those persons involved in the selection process."

Nomination packages should be emailed to Kristine.garland@navy.mil by June 1. The Navy Office of Community Outreach (NAVCO) will consolidate all nominations, organize a virtual ranking board, and recommend the top candidates to the American Legion, which will make the selection. NAVCO will inform the winner and also notify those not selected.

The American Legion was chartered by Congress in 1919 as a patriotic veteran’s organization. Focusing on service to veterans, service members and communities, the Legion evolved from a group of war-weary veterans of World War I into one of the most influential nonprofit groups in the United States.

For further information, please contact Kristine Garland at kristine.garland@navy.mil. The NAVADMIN will be released soon.

Visit here for a sample package submission: http://www.outreach.navy.mil/Outreach/ExecutiveOutreach/.

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