The Dewey Medal was established by Act of Congress (Public Resolution Number 38) June 3, 1898.
The Dewey Medal commemorates the Battle of Manila Bay and was awarded to all Navy and Marine Corps personnel who were aboard the Baltimore, Boston, Concord, McCulloch, Nanshan, Olympia, Petrel, Raleigh, or the Zafiro on May 1, 1898.
ORDER OF PRECEDENCE
The Dewey Medal takes precedence after the Marine Corps Expeditionary Medal and before the Sampson Medal.
No devices were authorized for this medal.
The Dewey Medal was designed by Daniel Chester French (1850-1931).
The first Dewey Medal was presented to Admiral George Dewey. Admiral Dewey had his medal fitted with a unique suspender and wore it with the reverse to the front, presumably to avoid displaying his own likeness.
DESCRIPTION AND SYMBOLISM
In the center of a bronze medallion one and three quarters inches in diameter, the bust of Admiral Dewey in profile facing to the right. Behind him (and to either side of the bust), the words THE GIFT OF THE PEOPLE OF THE UNITED STATES TO THE OFFICERS AND MEN OF THE ASIATIC SQUADRON UNDER THE COMMAND OF COMMODORE GEORGE DEWEY<. The rim of the medal is beaded. In front of the bust is a small anchor draped in a wreath, below which is a small five-pointed star.
Dewey was selected for the obverse because he was the commander responsible for the victory at Manila Bay (as indicated by the words on the obverse). The small anchor alludes to naval service and the laurel represents victory. The small star represents Dewey's rank (commodore) at the time of the battle.
In the center of a bronze medallion one and three quarters inches in diameter, the figure of an American sailor, stripped to the waist, sitting on a naval gun, holding an American flag across his knees. His left foot rests on a small panel which is impressed with the name of the ship on which the recipient served. Encircling all, are the words IN MEMORY OF THE VICTORY OF MANILA BAY, MAY 1ST, 1898.
The figure is that of the "valorous American sailor at his post" and represents all of the Navy and Marine Corps personnel who participated in the battle. The flag represents the United States, in whose service the victory was achieved.
The ribbon is blue with a center stripe of yellow. The blue represents the color of the open ocean, the union in the National ensign, and the Chief in the Great Seal of the United States (which itself signifies vigilance). The yellow is taken from the Spanish flag. The ribbon suspension device displays an American bald eagle, a sword that represents military strength, and a wreath that signifies victory.
These medals were impressed on the rim with the recipient's name and grade.