Distinguished Eagle Scout Award

Distinguished Eagle Scout Award

Honoring Eagle Scouts at the National Level

Eagle Scouts do amazing things ...

The Distinguished Eagle Scout Award (DESA) was established in 1969 to acknowledge Eagle Scouts who have received extraordinary national-level recognition, fame, or demonstrated eminence within their field, and have a strong record of voluntary service to their community. It is NESA's highest honor.

Only Eagle Scouts who earned the Eagle Scout rank a minimum of 25 years previously are eligible for nomination.

Since its establishment in 1969, the DESA has gained prominent standing among Scouting recognitions. Previous recipients include President Gerald R. Ford, several governors and senators, military flag officers, university presidents, chief executive officers of Fortune 500 companies, and nationally known lawyers, educators, and doctors.

The selection of recipients is made by the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award Committee, comprised of members who are also DESA recipients. Not all nominations acted upon by the award committee are approved. A substantial percentage of nominations are declined.

In short, Distinguished Eagle Scouts are those that have risen to the top of their avocation or vocation at a national level.
- Rick Bragga, Vice-President of the National Eagle Scout Association


  • The nominee must have earned the Eagle Scout rank through the Boy Scouts of America at least 25 years prior to submission of this nomination.
  • The nomination must state the specific reasons or how the nominee has received extraordinary national-level recognition, fame, or eminence within the identified field.
  • Through the years, it has been established that a nominee should also have a strong record of voluntary service to his community. This is in addition to his achievement of a distinguished career, not in place of one. Service to Scouting is not required.
  • Nominations may be sent to the National Eagle Scout Association by the council (an individual may not submit the form) for consideration. Those selected will be added to the list of NESA Award and Recognition Roll.


  • The nominee should not be informed of his nomination, and presentation should not be scheduled until NESA has notified the council of the DESA Committee’s decision. Notification is accomplished only in written form.
  • The award should be presented at a meeting of the recipient’s peers, not a Scouting function. Presentation should be made within the council submitting the nomination and, whenever possible, by a previous recipient of the award. It is appropriate that the award is presented as part of a fundraising activity.
  • Ten to 12 weeks are required for preparation of the DESA plaque. If a plaque is ordered, the citation will be written by the nominating council. All DESA orders must be made through the national office, as DESA items are restricted to DESA recipients only.
  • Only the local council over the Eagle Scout’s primary residence may submit a nomination. Since some nominees maintain two residences upon retirement, the nominating council must secure the written concurrence of the related council.


Distinguished Eagle Scout Award Nomination Form  (170K, PDF)


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


Cast plaque (No. 17575 or No. 2580) Red, white, and blue ribbon with pendant, No. 330; Distinguished Eagle device, No. 94; Distinguished Eagle kit award, No. 330; lapel pin, No. 328; Charm, No. 652, for spouse.

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


Presentation Guidelines
Sample Press Release
Sample DESA Presentation Script
Citation Template (54KB)
Sample DESA Citations: Contact the Vice - President for Awards and Recognition or National Eagle Scout Association for additional inquiries.


What is the process for submitting a nomination?
How is the nomination approved?
How can I ensure the nomination will be approved?
How long does it take to approve a nomination?
What recognition items will NESA provide when the nominee is approved?
When and how should a DESA be presented?


Last revised March 27, 2018