Service: All Services (by Secretary of Defense)
Instituted: June 25, 1963
Criteria: Meritorious service or achievement while assigned to a Joint Activity
Devices: Bronze Letter “V” (for valor), Bronze, Silver Oak Leaf Cluster
Authorized on June 25, 1963, this was the first medal specifically authorized for members of a Joint Service organization. Awarded to members of the Armed Forces for meritorious achievement or service while serving in a Joint Activity after January 1, 1963.
The “V” device is authorized if the award is made for direct participation in combat operations.
The medal consists of four conjoined green enameled hexagons edged in gold which represent the unity of the Armed Forces. The top hexagon has thirteen gold five-pointed stars (representing the thirteen original states) and the lower hexagon has a gold stylized heraldic device (for land, air and sea). An eagle with spread wings and a shield on its breast is in the center of the hexagons. The eagle is grasping three arrows in its talons. The hexagons are encircled by a laurel wreath bound with gold bands (representing achievement). On the reverse there is a plaque for engraving the recipient’s name. Above the plaque are the raised words, “FOR MILITARY” and below, “MERIT” with a laurel spray below. The words and laurel spray are derived from the Army and Navy Commendation Medals. The ribbon is a center stripe of green flanked by white, green, white and light blue stripes. The green and white are from the Army and Navy Commendation ribbons and the light blue represents the Department of Defense.
The Joint Service Commendation Award was designed by the Institute of Heraldry’s Stafford F. Potter. Oak leaf clusters denote additional awards.