A-28083, AUGUST 10, 1929, 9 COMP. GEN. 63

A-28083: Aug 10, 1929

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ADVERTISING - COMPETITIVE DESIGNS FOR MEDALS IT IS WITHIN THE DISCRETION OF THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY TO SOLICIT COMPETITIVE DESIGNS FOR A SERVICE MEDAL FOR THE MARINE CORPS. AS FOLLOWS: THE FOLLOWING MATTER IS PRESENTED FOR CONSIDERATION: A RIBBON. IN RECOGNITION OF SPECIAL SERVICE FOR WHICH NO SERVICE MEDAL WAS OTHERWISE AUTHORIZED. THE EXPEDITIONARY RIBBON WAS WORN WITH DECORATIONS AND MEDALS ON DRESS UNIFORMS. AS IT DEVELOPED THAT A RIBBON IN ITSELF WAS UNSUITABLE FOR WEAR WITH DECORATIONS AND MEDALS. THE EXPEDITIONARY RIBBON WAS CONFINED TO THE UNIFORMS WITH WHICH SERVICE RIBBONS ARE WORN. WAS MANIFESTLY UNSATISFACTORY. " A DESIGN FOR THE OBVERSE OF THE EXPEDITIONARY MEDAL WAS SO SUBMITTED FOR SUCH ADVICE.

A-28083, AUGUST 10, 1929, 9 COMP. GEN. 63

ADVERTISING - COMPETITIVE DESIGNS FOR MEDALS IT IS WITHIN THE DISCRETION OF THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY TO SOLICIT COMPETITIVE DESIGNS FOR A SERVICE MEDAL FOR THE MARINE CORPS, THE PERSON SUBMITTING THE BEST DESIGN FROM AN ARTISTIC STANDPOINT, TO FURNISH SUITABLE MODEL AND CAST FOR THE PREPARATION OF DIES, AND TO BE PAID THEREFOR A FIXED SUM NOT TO EXCEED $1000, SUCH SUM TO BE IN FULL CONSIDERATION FOR ALL SERVICE AND RIGHTS IN THE DESIGN, MODEL, AND MEDAL. 5 COMP. GEN. 640 DISTINGUISHED.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, AUGUST 10, 1929:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR LETTER OF JULY 19, 1929, AS FOLLOWS:

THE FOLLOWING MATTER IS PRESENTED FOR CONSIDERATION:

A RIBBON, DESIGNATED AS THE "EXPEDITIONARY RIBBON," HAS HERETOFORE BEEN AWARDED BY THE MARINE CORPS TO OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN WHO PARTICIPATE UNDER THE CONDITIONS SPECIFIED IN ONE OR MORE OF THE EXPEDITIONS OR OTHER OPERATIONS ENUMERATED IN ARTICLES 8-11, MARINE CORPS MANUAL, IN RECOGNITION OF SPECIAL SERVICE FOR WHICH NO SERVICE MEDAL WAS OTHERWISE AUTHORIZED.

ORIGINALLY, THE EXPEDITIONARY RIBBON WAS WORN WITH DECORATIONS AND MEDALS ON DRESS UNIFORMS, AS WELL AS WITH THE SERVICE RIBBONS OF DECORATIONS AND MEDALS ON UNDRESS AND SERVICE UNIFORMS, BUT AS IT DEVELOPED THAT A RIBBON IN ITSELF WAS UNSUITABLE FOR WEAR WITH DECORATIONS AND MEDALS, THE EXPEDITIONARY RIBBON WAS CONFINED TO THE UNIFORMS WITH WHICH SERVICE RIBBONS ARE WORN. THIS HAD THE EFFECT OF PARTLY DEPRIVING THE INDIVIDUALS ENTITLED THERETO OF THE RECOGNITION AND TOKEN OF THIS PARTICULAR SERVICE, AND WAS MANIFESTLY UNSATISFACTORY; THEREFORE, ON THE RECOMMENDATION OF THE MAJOR GENERAL COMMANDANT, THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, AS OF MARCH 1, 1929, APPROVED THE ADOPTION OF A MEDAL, TO BE KNOWN AS THE "EXPEDITIONARY MEDAL," FOR THE SERVICE FOR WHICH THE EXPEDITIONARY RIBBON ALONE HAD BEEN PREVIOUSLY AUTHORIZED.

IN COMPLIANCE WITH EXECUTIVE ORDER NO. 3524, DATED JULY 28, 1921, DIRECTING THAT "ESSENTIAL MATTERS RELATING TO THE DESIGNS OF MEDALS, INSIGNIA, AND COINS, PRODUCED BY THE EXECUTIVE DEPARTMENTS, * * * BE SUBMITTED TO THE COMMISSION OF FINE ARTS FOR ADVICE AS TO THE MERITS OF SUCH DESIGNS," A DESIGN FOR THE OBVERSE OF THE EXPEDITIONARY MEDAL WAS SO SUBMITTED FOR SUCH ADVICE. FOR THE REVERSE IT WAS AND IS PROPOSED TO USE THE DESIGN PREVIOUSLY APPROVED BY THE COMMISSION OF FINE ARTS FOR THE REVERSE OF THE DOMINICAN CAMPAIGN MEDAL, THE SUSPENSION RIBBON OF THE EXPEDITIONARY MEDAL TO BE IN THE SAME COLORS AND DESIGN AS THE EXPEDITIONARY RIBBON, WHICH IS TO BE CONTINUED AS THE SERVICE RIBBON.

ON MARCH 22, 1929, THE CHAIRMAN OF THE COMMISSION OF FINE ARTS RETURNED THE FIRST DESIGN, DISAPPROVED. ON MAY 1, 1929, THE MAJOR GENERAL COMMANDANT SUBMITTED A SKETCH OF A NEW DESIGN FOR THE OBVERSE OF THIS MEDAL. THE SKETCH WAS RETURNED BY THE CHAIRMAN WITH LETTER DATED MAY 28, 1929, AND APPROVAL OF THE COMMISSION WAS WITHHELD, WITH THE DESIGN BEING OPEN TO FURTHER CONSIDERATION UPON SUBMISSION OF A PLASTIC SKETCH MODEL SHOWING THE GENERAL COMPOSITION AND TREATMENT OF RELIEF, WHICH UNDER THE CIRCUMSTANCES WAS NOT ACTED UPON BY THE MARINE CORPS. BOTH DESIGNS WERE PRODUCED IN THE MARINE CORPS. THE FIRST BY ONE WHO HAD HAD PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE IN MEDAL DESIGNING AND THE SECOND BY AN ARTIST OF RECOGNIZED STANDING. IN THE CORRESPONDENCE ON THE SUBJECT IT WAS STATED BY THE COMMISSION OF FINE ARTS THAT THE DESIGNING OF MEDALS IS AN ART IN ITSELF, WITH PERHAPS A DOZEN QUALIFIED MEDALISTS IN THIS COUNTRY, IT BEING ONE OF THE MOST DIFFICULT TASKS FOR EVEN A SCULPTOR EXPERIENCED IN THAT LINE.

THE EXPEDITIONS AND OPERATIONS FOR WHICH THE EXPEDITIONARY MEDAL IS TO BE A TOKEN OF RECOGNITION ARE IN LINE WITH THE DISTINCTIVE FUNCTION OF THE MARINE CORPS AS THE LANDING FORCE OF THE NAVY, AND THE MARINE CORPS IS DESIROUS OF OBTAINING A MEDAL WHICH WILL BE COMMENSURATE IN WORTH WITH THE ARDUOUS SERVICE COMMEMORATED AND WHICH WILL MEET THE STANDARDS OF THE COMMISSION OF FINE ARTS. IT IS THE EVIDENT VIEWPOINT OF THIS BODY OF EXPERTS, WHICH IS CHARGED WITH AN ADVISORY FUNCTION IN SUCH MATTERS, THAT THE DESIGNING OF MEDALS AS AN ART IS HIGHLY SPECIALIZED AND DIFFICULT, REQUIRING SPECIAL QUALIFICATIONS AND TRAINING, AND THAT ITS KNOWN QUALIFIED CRAFTSMEN ARE DISTINCTLY LIMITED IN NUMBER. THAT BEING THE CASE, IT WOULD SEEM THAT AN ACCEPTABLE DESIGN IS LIKELY TO BE OBTAINED ONLY BY AFFORDING OPPORTUNITY TO QUALIFIED MEDALISTS TO SUBMIT DESIGNS.

YOUR OPINION IS THEREFORE SOUGHT IN THE PREMISES, WITH SPECIFIC REFERENCE TO THE FOLLOWING:

MAY THE MARINE CORPS OFFER A SET SUM, NOT TO EXCEED $1,000, PAYABLE FROM APPROPRIATION "GENERAL EXPENSES, MARINE CORPS," FOR AN ACCEPTABLE ORIGINAL DESIGN FOR THE OBVERSE OF THE EXPEDITIONARY MEDAL, SUCH DESIGN TO BE IN THE FORM OF A DRAWING, SUPPLEMENTED BY A PLASTER OR OTHER SUITABLE MODEL WHERE SPECIFIED, TO BE OBTAINED IN OPEN COMPETITION THROUGH THE PUBLISHING OF PROPOSALS; THE ACCEPTABLE DESIGN TO BE THAT APPROVED BY THE MAJOR GENERAL COMMANDANT, THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, AND THE COMMISSION OF FINE ARTS; AND THE SUCCESSFUL BIDDER, AS A CONDITION OF AWARD, TO ENTER INTO FORMAL CONTRACT WITH THE MARINE CORPS FOR THE DELIVERY OF A SUITABLE MODEL OR CAST FOR THE PREPARATION OF THE MEDAL DIES, AND COVERING PAYMENT OF THE SUM AGREED UPON, ALL RIGHTS IN THE DESIGN, MODEL, AND MEDAL TO BELONG EXCLUSIVELY TO THE UNITED STATES?

WHEN AN ACCEPTABLE DESIGN FOR THE EXPEDITIONARY MEDAL IS OBTAINED, THERE APPEARS TO BE NO QUESTION AS TO THE AVAILABILITY OF APPROPRIATION "GENERAL EXPENSES, MARINE CORPS," FOR THE PURCHASE OF DIES AND MEDALS, SUBHEAD "MILITARY SUPPLIES AND EQUIPMENT" PROVIDING "FOR PURCHASE AND MARKING OF PRIZES FOR EXCELLENCE IN GUNNERY AND RIFLE PRACTICE, GOOD-CONDUCT BADGES, MEDALS, AND BUTTONS AWARDED TO OFFICERS AND ENLISTED MEN BY THE GOVERNMENT FOR CONSPICUOUS, GALLANT, AND SPECIAL SERVICE.'

A PRIZE COMPETITION FOR DESIGNS FOR AMPHIBIAN LANDING GEAR FOR AIRCRAFT WAS HELD UNAUTHORIZED IN DECISION OF FEBRUARY 18, 1928, 5 COMP. GEN. 640. IN THAT CASE, HOWEVER, THE COMPETITION WAS TO TAKE THE PLACE OF EXPERIMENTAL AND DEVELOPMENT WORK WHICH THE APPROPRIATION CONTEMPLATED SHOULD BE DONE BY THE PERSONNEL OF THE NAVY DEPARTMENT, AND THE AWARDS, ALSO, WERE APPARENTLY GREATLY IN EXCESS OF THE VALUE OF THE SERVICES TO BE RENDERED BY THE PERSONS SUBMITTING SUCCESSFUL DESIGNS. THE PROCEDURE SUGGESTED BY YOUR PRESENT SUBMISSION DOES NOT CONTEMPLATE A PRIZE COMPETITION IN THE ORDINARY SENSE, IN THAT IT IS GATHERED THEREFROM THAT THE SUM TO BE OFFERED AND PAID FOR THE ACCEPTED DESIGN WILL APPROXIMATE THE VALUE OF THE SERVICES TO BE RENDERED IN THE PREPARATION OF THE DESIGN, MODEL, AND CASTS. THE TRANSACTION WOULD APPEAR, THEREFORE, TO INVOLVE A DIRECT PURCHASE OF THE MOST SATISFACTORY DESIGN, MODEL, AND CASTS. 13559, APRIL 5, 1926.

COMPETITION IN THE PURCHASE OF SUPPLIES OR ARTICLES FOR GOVERNMENT USE IN ITS MOST COMMON FORM IS FOR THE PURPOSE OF SECURING SPECIFIED SUPPLIES OR ARTICLES AT THE LOWEST POSSIBLE PRICE. WHERE, HOWEVER, THE PURPOSE IS THE SELECTION OF THE MOST SUITABLE AND ARTISTIC DESIGN FOR A MEDAL, THE PRIMARY VALUE OF THE SUBJECT BEING IN ITS DESIGN, THE ORDINARY PROCEDURE MAY BE REVERSED AND THE AMOUNT TO BE EXPENDED FIXED IN ADVANCE AT A SUM CONSIDERED TO BE THE REASONABLE VALUE OF THE SERVICES SOLICITED AND THE BIDDERS REQUESTED TO SUBMIT THE BEST DESIGN WHICH THEY CAN FURNISH FOR THAT SUM. THERE WOULD APPEAR TO BE NO OBJECTION, THEREFORE, TO THE PROCEDURE SUGGESTED IN YOUR SUBMISSION; NOR DOES THERE APPEAR TO BE ANY QUESTION BUT THAT THE APPROPRIATION "GENERAL EXPENSES, MARINE CORPS, 1930," ACT OF MARCH 2, 1929, 45 STAT. 1467, WHICH PROVIDES SPECIFICALLY FOR PRIZES, GOOD-CONDUCT BADGES, MEDALS, AND BUTTONS, WILL BE AVAILABLE FOR PAYMENT OF THE AWARD TO THE PERSON WHOSE DESIGN IS ACCEPTED.