The Coast Guard may award trophies, badges, and cash prizes to Coast Guard personnel or groups thereof, including personnel of the reserve components thereof whether or not on active duty, for excellence in accomplishments related to Coast Guard service, to incur such expenses as may be necessary to enter such personnel in competitions, and to provide badges or buttons in recognition of special service, good conduct, and discharge under conditions other than dishonorable.
14 U.S. Code § 2747 - Awards and insignia for excellence in service or conduct
Based on the following language contained in the Coast Guard appropriation act for 1949, “Pay and Allowances” and preceding years:
This section expands the language contained in the appropriation act to include the awarding of trophies and badges, and to include in the accomplishments for which such awards may be made, excellence in any field related to Coast Guard duty. 81st Congress, House Report No. 557.