Meritorious Service Medal
Display Recognition

Site Index

      • Example Display Recognition
      • Applicable Military Branches
      • Display Types
      • Issue Requirements
      • Issue Regulations
      • Who May Apply
      • Executive Order 10448
      • Administration Processing and Delivery
      • How To Apply For This Display Recognition and/or Medal
      • Mailing Address
      • Questions?
      • Other Display Recognitions
      • Meritorious Service Registry Application
      • Military Medals Website
      • Example Display Recognition:
        Actual Size: 8 1/2 x 11
        Displayed: U.S. Army.
        All Five Service Branches, Air Force, Army, Coast Guard,
        Marine and Navy
        are Applicable.



        Military Branches

        All Military Service branches are applicable:
        Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy

        Who May Apply

        • Veteran recipients
        • Active Duty recipients
        • Family Members of recipients
        • Estate Inheritors

        Display Types

        You have four display types to choose from:
        Black & White (No Color)
        Heavy Bond Enclosure

        Heavy Bond Enclosure
        Colors: Regal, Black, Navy
        Trimmed in Appearance Gold

        Ready for Mantle or Shelf Display

        Issue Requirements
        You must submit the following:

      • An unaltered photocopy of your DD-214, OR WD AGO 53-55, OR other military issued document clearly displaying your Meritorious Service Medal award or eligibility.
      • Contact The War Library if you do not have a DD-214: 1-562-422-4100.
      • NOTICE

        This Display Recognition is available ONLY to authorized recipients who possess orders, or authorization form, or release documentation that confirms award eligibility. (See "Issue Requirements"). To obtain either a Display Medal or a Display Recognition for your authorized award you will be required to provide military-issued documentation authorizing your award. There are no exceptions.

        WARNING!
        You must NOT submit a military issued document or photocopy that:

        • has been altered in any way by you after
          the original's official issue
        • contains information or corrections or
          additions that you entered
        • lists awards or training you knowingly did not receive
        • contains highlighting, colorizing or other markings you entered

        Be advised that on request any knowingly fraudulent document sent by you will be released to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that may result in prosecution and/or fine/imprisonment.

        Email Questions, or Phone / Fax: 1-562-422-4100

        Personnel Branch
        Processing and Delivery

        Style Admin Shipping Total
        Full Color .PDF (Printable) $7.50 Emailed $7.50
        Published Document only (Full Color) $14.00 $8.35 $22.35
        Published Document in Heavy Bond Enclosure (Full Color) $19.00 $8.35 $27.35
        Full Color Printable Certificates
        on CD-Rom (minimum 20 Certificates)
        $7.50 $7.50 By Count

      • Total/Shipping fees, above, apply to 50 U.S. states
      • Contact The War Library for international shipping cost
      • How to Apply

        You may apply for your Display Recognition using a...

      • Check Debit card (* Shipped within 1 week)
      • Charge card (* Shipped within 1 week)
      • Personal, Business, Bank or Cashiers Check ( Shipped in 6 weeks)
      • Money Order (* Shipped within 1 week)
      • (* Upon reception of required documentation)

        Complete and MAIL this APPLICATION FORM.
        Don't forget to include an unaltered COPY of your DD-214, DD-215 or other pre-arranged document(s).

        DISPLAY RECOGNITION and/or MEDAL APPLICATION FORM

        Mailing Address

        Records Chief (REC-AMW)
        The American War Library
        817 East Via Carmelitos Ste 319
        Long Beach CA 90805-7549

        Questions?

        Click here for answers to common questions

        Email: Recognition Inquiry

        Telephone: 1-562-422-4100

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        Issue Regulations
        The Meritorious Service Service Medal

        Establishing Authority


        Click for larger image

        The Meritorious Service Medal was established by Executive Order 11448, signed by President Lyndon B. Johnson on January 16, 1969.

        Effective Dates

        The Meritorious Service Medal has been in effect since January 16, 1969.

        Criteria

        The Meritorious Service Medal may be awarded to members of the Armed Forces who distinguish themselves by outstanding noncombat achievement or by meritorious service to the United States, but not of a degree that would warrant the award of the Legion of Merit.

        Order of Precedence

        The Meritorious Service Medal is worn after the Defense Meritorious Service Medal and before the Air Medal.

        Devices

        Army and Air Force

        Additional awards are denoted by oak leaf clusters.

        Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard

        Additional awards are denoted by gold stars. For the Coast Guard, the Operational Distinguishing Device may be awarded.

        Designer and Sculptor

        The Meritorious Service Medal was designed by Jay Morris and sculpted by Lewis J. King, Jr., both of the Army's Institute of Heraldry.

        First Recipient

        The first recipient of the Meritorious Service Medal was Commander Frank W. Hannegan, USN, (March 27, 1969).

        Description and Symbolism

        Obverse

        A bronze medal one and a half inches in diameter overall consisting of six rays issuant from the upper three points of a five-pointed star with beveled edges and containing two smaller stars defined by incised outlines. In front of the lower part of the medal there is an eagle with its wings displayed. It is standing on two upward curving branches of laurel tied with a ribbon between the eagle's feet.

        The eagle, symbol of the nation, stands on laurel branches denoting achievement. The star is used to represent the military service and the rays emanating therefrom denote the constant efforts of individuals to achieve through excellent and meritorious service.

        Reverse

        The reverse is blank except for a circle consisting of the raised inscription, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA (at the top) and MERITORIOUS SERVICE (at the bottom). The two portions of the inscription are separated by bullets, and the space inside the circle is to be used for engraving the recipient's name.

        Ribbon

        The ribbon is ruby red with two white stripes, just inside each edge. The ribbon was suggested by that of the Legion of Merit.

        1. Description: A bronze medal, 1 1/2 inches in diameter overall, consisting of six rays issuant from the upper three points of a five-pointed star with beveled edges and containing two smaller stars defined by incised outlines; in front of the lower part of the star an eagle with wings upraised standing upon two upward curving branches of laurel tied with a ribbon between the feet of the eagle. The reverse has the encircled inscriptions "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" and "MERITORIOUS SERVICE".

        2. Ribbon: The ribbon is 1 3/8 inches wide and consists of the following stripes: 1/8 inch Crimson 67112; 1/4 inch White 67101; center 5/8 inch Crimson; 1/4 inch White; and 1/8 inch Crimson.

        3. Criteria: Awarded to members of the Armed Forces of the United States who distinguished themselves by outstanding non-combat meritorious achievement or service to the United States subsequent to 16 January 1969. Normally, the acts or services rendered must be comparable to that required for the Legion of Merit but in a duty of lesser though considerable responsibility.

        4. Components: The following are authorized components of the Meritorious Service Medal:

        a. Decoration set (regular size): MIL-D-3943/66. NSN 8455-00-450-3728. Display medal NSN 8455-00-439-2142.

        b. Decoration (miniature size): MIL-D-3943/66. Not stocked.

        c. Ribbon: MIL-R-11589/172. NSN 8455-00-439-2143.

        d. Lapel Button (metal replica of ribbon): MIL-L-11484/85. NSN 8455-00-439-2141.

        5. Background: a. At Tri-Department Awards Conference, 5-6 February 1968, there was a discussion on the need for a third meritorious award to provide appropriate recognition for noncombat achievement or service comparable to the Bronze Star Medal for combat achievement or service. It was felt that the Legion of Merits prestige was slipping because it was being used with increasing frequency to reward service below Legion of Merit standard, but higher than that required for the Commendation Medal.

        b. A proposed executive order was prepared in April 1968 and forwarded for approval to the Military Departments. An ad hoc committee was formed by the Secretary of Defense (M&RA) to select a name. On 8 November 1968, the committee unanimously approved the name "Meritorious Service Medal". President Johnson established the Meritorious Service Medal per Executive Order No. 11448 dated 16 January 1969. The Executive Order was amended by President Reagan per Executive Order 12312, dated 2 July 1981, to authorize award to members of the armed forces of friendly foreign nations.

        c. The decoration was designed by Mr. Jay Morris, The Institute of Heraldry, and the design was approved by the committee on 20 March 1969. The ribbon design purposely follows the colors used for the Legion of Merit to reflect the parallel between the two medals. The eagle, symbol of the nation, stands on laurel branches denoting achievement. The star is used to represent the military service and the rays emanating therefrom denote the constant efforts of individuals to achieve through excellent and meritorious service.

        d. Order of precedence and wear of decorations is contained in Army Regulation (AR) 670-1. Policy for awards, approving authority, supply, and issue of decorations is contained in AR 600-8-22.

        This decoration was established by Executive Order 11448 on Jan. 16, 1969. The Meritorious Service Medal (pictured below) may be awarded to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who distinguishes themselves by either outstanding achievement or meritorious service to the United States.

        This award was established as the counterpart of the Bronze Star Medal for the recognition of meritorious noncombat service.

        The medal was designed by Jay Morris and sculptered by Lewis J. King, Jr., both of the Army's Institute of Heraldry. It is a one and one-half inch medallion in bronze, on the obverse as eagle wings upraised, standing upon two upward curving branches of laurel tied with a ribbon between the talons of the eagle, above and behind the eagle the upper part of a five-pointed star (with two smaller stars outlined within) on a incised plaque with six points starting at the top of each wing of the eagle. The reverse is plain with a circular inscription in raised letters, "United States of America" and "Meritorious Service" separated by dots.

        The ribbon is purplish red with a quarter inch white stripe one-eighth inch from each edge.

        EXECUTIVE ORDER

        DATE: 01-16-69

        32 -- National Defense Subchapter B -- Military And Civilian Personnel

        Establishing the Meritorious Service Medal

        By virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States and as Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces of the United States, it is ordered as follows:

        Section 1. There is hereby established a Meritorious Service Medal, with accompanying ribbons and appurtenances, for award by the Secretary of a military department or the Secretary of Transportation with regard to the Coast Guard when not operating as a service in the Navy, or by such military commanders or other appropriate officers as the Secretary concerned may designate, to any member of the armed forces of the United States, or to any member of the armed forces of a friendly foreign nation, who has distinguished himself by outstanding meritorious achievement or service.

        [Sec. 1 amended by EO 12312 of July 2, 1981, 46 FR 35251, 3 CFR, 1981 Comp., p. 160]

        Sec. 2. The Meritorious Service Medal and appurtenances thereto shall be of appropriate design approved by the Secretary of Defense, and shall be awarded under such regulations as the Secretary concerned may prescribe. Such regulations shall, so far as practicable, be uniform, and those of the military departments shall be subject to the approval of the Secretary of Defense.

        Sec. 3. No more than one Meritorious Service Medal shall be awarded to any one person, but for each succeeding outstanding meritorious achievement or service justifying such an award a suitable device may be awarded to be worn with the medal as prescribed by appropriate regulations.

        Sec. 4. The Meritorious Service Medal or device may be awarded posthumously and, when so awarded, may be presented to such representative of the deceased as may be deemed appropriate by the Secretary of the department concerned.

        The provisions of Executive Order 11448 of Jan. 16, 1969, appear at 34 FR 915, 3 CFR, 1966 - 1970 Comp., p. 768, unless otherwise noted.

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