As a tribute to the Army NCO Corps, the Association of the United States Army established a Noncommissioned Officer Distinguished Service Medal in the year 2000. This award, named for the fifth Sergeant Major of the Army, William G. Bainbridge, USA, Retired and its first recipient is presented to a noncommissioned officer during the opening ceremony at the AUSA Annual Meeting.
The Bainbridge Award recognizes the special role of the noncommissioned officers in America's Army - their responsibilities, accomplishments and the vital role they play in the defense of our nation. The award also highlights the important contributions that NCOs make to America long after they take off the uniform. It recognizes an NCO who has devoted a lifetime of selfless service to our Army, the NCO Corps and to the local community. The Bainbridge Award is presented to a noncommissioned officer - active, reserve component or retired - whose contributions to the NCO Corps and the local community have been significant.