Distinguished Eagle Scout Award - The National Eagle Scout Association

Distinguished Eagle Scout

Distinguished Eagle Scout Award

The Distinguished Eagle Scout Award (DESA) was established in 1969 by the National Eagle Scout Association to recognize Eagle Scouts who achieve extraordinary national-level recognition, fame, or eminence within their profession and/or service to the nation and have a strong record of voluntary service to their community.  

The DESA is thus NESA’s highest honor for Eagle Scouts. 

Stringent criteria begin with a minimum of 25 years “Time in Service” from the official record date an Eagle rank was earned.   That requirement was determined by the average time most nominees need to establish a career, earn peer recognition, awards, fame/eminence, and other factors that are considered for DESA selection.   

A committee comprised of Distinguished Eagle Scouts carefully reviews all nominations and determines selections. When time permits, the committee may provide feedback on nominations that may receive further, future consideration.

Distinguished Eagle Scout Award

Scouting is an important adventure that helps to build better citizens and society. Becoming an Eagle Scout certainly made a positive impression on my life as a servant leader in my community and profession. It paved the way to my later receiving the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award and the Silver Buffalo Award

David L. Briscoe, Ph.D., D.H.L.
Distinguished Eagle Scout – Quapaw Area Council


  • Nominees must have earned the Eagle Scout rank through the Boy Scouts of America at least 25 years prior to submission.  
  • The nomination must state specific reasons with supporting facts, such as how the nominee has received extraordinary national-level recognition, fame, or eminence within a specific profession. 
  • A nominee should also have a strong record of voluntary service to his community. Such service is concurrent to a distinguished career, not in place of one.  
  • Service to Scouting is not required. 
  • Nominations are forwarded to the National Eagle Scout Association by the sponsoring Council according to published procedures. It is the responsibility of the local Council within the territory of the nominee’s primary residence to submit a nomination. In cases where a nominee may maintain two residences, a nominating council must obtain written concurrence of the second council. 
  • Names are added to the list of Distinguished Eagle Scouts annually. 

Special Considerations

  • A time-tested policy to keep nominees unaware of their nominations works well to avoid embarrassment and disappointment.  For, it is also not uncommon for nominees for BSA’s top distinguished awards to be considered more than once.   
  • In that same spirit, presentation should only be scheduled after NESA has formally notified the Council of the DESA Committee’s decision, in writing.  
  • Ideally, the DESA is best presented at an event/meeting of the recipient’s peers rather than a Scouting function for maximum positive effects among peers and related publicity. 
  • Presentation should be made within the territory of the Council submitting the nomination and, whenever possible, by a Distinguished Eagle Scout.  
  • Presentation in conjunction with a Council’s fundraising activity such as a special DESA dinner is also appropriate. 

Timing & FAQ's

Nomination Timeline

April 1 – July 31 

  •  Nominations accepted by NESA 

August 1 – September 30 

  • Internal review to confirm eligibility
  • During this time. Councils may be consulted about their nominations  

 October 1 – November 30 

  • Committee reviews, votes on nominations 

 December 1 – 9 

  • Council notified of voting results
  • Communications and media plans created 

 December 10 – 14 

  • Class of (current year)” DESA’s for year announced
  • Awards and DESA presentations are then scheduled for the next calendar year 


What is the key change in the DESA nomination process? 

NESA has aligned the DESA nomination and selection process similar to the Silver Beaver, Antelope, and Buffalo awards, using a defined nomination timeline.  

When is the new process going into effect? 

The new process was effective January 1, 2022. See nomination timeline for details.  

How do I submit a nomination? 

Work through your local Council NESA Committee and Scout Executive. Download the nomination form and additional instructions. 

Can I submit a nomination for a future calendar year? 

Recipients will be awarded in a Class of (current year)” announcement. Nominations for a future year should be submitted in the that calendar year.


Supply Item Description and Uniform Placement

Distinctive cast plaque; red, white, and blue ribbon with pendant; Distinguished Eagle device worn on Eagle Scout knot; Distinguished Eagle Scout Award kit. 

Supply/bin item no.

Cast plaque, No. 17575; DESA Presentation Kit with a red, white, and blue ribbon with pendant, eagle lapel pin, and eagle charm, No. 330; Distinguished Eagle Device, No. 94; Lapel Pin, No. 328; Charm, No. 652, for a spouse.

or call the National Supply Group Main Number 1-800-323-0732 to purchase

More Information

The presentation of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award to a prominent citizen in your community provides an excellent opportunity to focus attention on Scouting, as well as on the recipient. The presentation should be planned to achieve maximum publicity and visibility. 

Since the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award is not intended for presentation at a Scouting function, it is important that the council cooperate fully with the local community or business association to which the recipient belongs, through which the presentation should be made. 

The DESA is a national award presented by a local council. Presentation should be made at a meeting or dinner with the recipient’s peers. The presentation should be dignified as the main focus of the event. It should not be included to another recognition program such as a Silver Beaver Awards dinner. 

Plans should be made well in advance for media coverage, including trade or professional print media, radio, television, podcasts/social media.  

Following are elements the ceremony should include: 

  • Inspirational, patriotic opening. 
  • Explanation of the award. 
  • Introduction of special or honored guests. 
  • Recognition of the recipient’s family members present. 
  • Reading of the citation, pointing out the recipient’s contributions to the community, educational, professional/vocational background, distinguished factors in selection/nomination.  Presentation of the engraved plaque by representative of the council executive board or NESA Committee.  
  • Presentation of the medal by a distinguished Eagle Scout (if available). 
  • Response by recipient; Inspirational closing. 


Local Scouter Receives Distinguished Eagle Scout Award 

(CITY/TOWN, DATE)—(NAME) has been named a Distinguished Eagle Scout upon nomination by the (COUNCIL NAME) Council and the Boy Scouts of America. The award is granted to Eagle Scouts who, after 25 years, have distinguished themselves in their life work and have voluntarily shared their talents with their communities.  

(NAME) has distinguished himself through his career as a(n) (CAREER NAME/FIELD) and through continued service to God, country, and to other people by following the principles of the Scout Oath and Scout Law.  

(PROVIDE SPECIFIC DETAILS OF ACCOMPLISHMENT) The National Eagle Scout Association Committee, as part of Alumni Relations at the Boy Scouts of America’s national office, selects recipients for the award. Members of the selection committee are all recipients of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award. 

The Distinguished Eagle Scout Award was implemented in 1969.  Since that time nearly 2,000 have been approved out of 2.7 million Eagle Scout ranks.  The local BSA council encompassing an Eagle Scout’s primary residence is responsible for nominations.   

(Examples below are taken from actual presentations) 

Example #1. The trail a youth follows to attain Eagle Scout rank doesn’t quite end with presentation of a Silver Eagle medal.  Sometimes, long after that achievement, we pause on the trail for a very special tribute.  

We are privileged today to present a rare honor, the gold Eagle medal representing the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award. This prestigious honor is given to an Eagle Scout who has uncommonly demonstrated commitment to making our community a better place to live, and who achieves career and life success.  It is rarely presented; in fact, out of some 2.7 million Eagle Scouts, less than 2,000 have been recognized in this way.   

We are privileged tonight to have an opportunity to bestow this special award to one of our own. The recipient will join the ranks of some well-known Eagle Scouts—only (XXX) Eagles  have been so honored from our council. They are listed in your program, but we are blessed to have two of them here with us tonight. It is my honor to introduce to you Distinguished Eagle Scouts (name)  and (name).   

Example #2.   

(Name) became an Eagle Scout on (date).  As you will read in our program tonight, (name)  has distinguished himself and brought honor to Scouting and the U.S. (military or government branch) with warmth and care as a very visible public figure, and with illustrious career achievements.   


(name) is, indeed, a role model for all Scouts—and certainly for all Eagle Scouts. Will council president (name) and council Scout executive (name) please escort (name) and (name of spouse) to the stage? 


We are proud to convene this National Court of Honor at this time, and so I call on my fellow Distinguished Eagle Scout (name) to begin the award ceremony. 

(stated by the named person above) By the authority vested in me by the National Council, Boy Scouts of America, I now declare this court of honor to be open and in session. It is my special privilege to present a resolution from the National Eagle Scout Association. 

Whereas, (name) earned the rank of EAGLE SCOUT as a member of the Boy Scouts of America (XX) years ago, on (date); and 

Whereas, as an Eagle Scout (he/she) has continued to serve God, country, and other people by following the principles of the Scout Oath and Scout Law; and 

Whereas, (name) has achieved distinction as a (profession); and Whereas, (he/she) has given distinguished service to (his/her) community and nation as (specific job title, rank, location)—(examples of why the person is selected taken from plaque or citation);  and (if applicable) as a volunteer through the Boy Scouts of America; and having received numerous awards and recognitions; and  

Now, therefore, in recognition of these and other achievements and the desire of the Boy Scouts of America, upon nomination of the (council)  acting on behalf of the Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America, the honor and rank of DISTINGUISHED EAGLE SCOUT is awarded to and conferred on (name).  

[Presentation of neck medal/ribbon,  plaque, floral bouquet to spouse, as appropriate.  Remarks by recipient or others  if included in program). 



Earned the rank ofEagle Scout 

As a member of the Boy Scouts of America ____ years ago, on ______________ ; and WHEREAS, as an Eagle Scout, (he/she) has continued to serve God, country, and other people by following the principles of the Scout Oath and Scout Law; and WHEREAS (he/she) has achieved distinction as _______________and WHEREAS (he/she) has given distinguished service to (his/her) community and nation as____________ Therefore, be it RESOLVED, that in recognition of these and other achievements and the desire of the Boy Scouts of America, upon nomination of the _____________Council acting on behalf of the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America, ____________ the honorable distinction of a Distinguished Eagle Scout is awarded to and conferred upon (him/her), in , _________________, this day of ______________ . In testimony whereof, the Boy Scouts of America and the National Eagle Scout Association have caused this commemorative document to be signed by its officers and its corporate seal to be hereunto affixed. 

Local NESA Committee Addition or Update Request

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