For meritorious achievement and outstanding performance in action from 29 August to 13 September 2005 in preparation for, and response and recovery to the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina. The United States Coast Guard anticipated the potential for significant loss of life and property and, in advance of Hurricane Katrina, relocated its personnel, vessels, and aircraft out of harms way. The Coast Guard successfully executed multiple primary missions throughout the Gulf Coast in the wake of the worst natural disaster in United States history. Responding with more than 4,500 personnel, 130 small boats, 4 cutters, and 60 aircraft to devastation and despair across more than 90,000 square miles and 6,400 miles of coastline, the Coast Guard rescued more than 33,000 people, began clean-up operations of 9.4 million gallons of oil, replaced and repaired over 1,800 aids to navigation, and most importantly provided hope to hundreds of thousands displaced citizens through its proactive and vigorous actions. This inspiring response is a direct result of the spirit and practice of operational initiative, positive leadership and courage of the total Coast Guard force of active duty, reserve, auxiliary and civilian members. Every Coast Guard man and woman demonstrated superior professionalism, commitment, humanitarianism, tenacity, tactical acumen, technical expertise, compassion and support while maintaining the highest level of operational readiness. By their outstanding courage, resourcefulness, and aggressive actions under desperate conditions, the members of the United States Coast Guard reflected great credit upon themselves and upheld the highest traditions of the United States of America.
Active duty, Reserve, Auxiliary and civilian personnel who were affiliated with the Coast Guard at any time during the period (29August 2005-13September 2005) are eligible for the award.