Criteria: Exceptionally meritorious service to the United States Government in a duty of great responsibility
Devices: All Services: Bronze & Silver Oak Leaf Cluster
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Authorized by Congress on July 9, 1918 for exceptionally meritorious service to the United States while serving in a duty of great responsibility with the U.S. Army.
It was originally intended for qualifying actions during wartime only but was later authorized during both wartime or peacetime. As this country’s highest award for meritorious service or achievement, it has been awarded to both military and civilians, foreign and domestic.
Subsequent awards are denoted by the attachment of a bronze oak leaf cluster to the medal and ribbon. In the center of the reverse of the medal, amidst several flags and weapons, is a blank scroll for engraving the awardees name. The ribbon has a central wide white stripe edged with blue and an outer red band representing the colors of the U.S. flag.