Service: All Services
Instituted: 16 January 1969
Criteria: Outstanding noncombat meritorious achievement or service to the United States
Devices: Army/Air Force: Bronze, Silver Oak Leaf Cluster; Navy/ Marine Corps: Gold, Silver Star; Coast Guard: Silver Letter “O”, Gold, Silver Star
Authorized on January 16, 1969 and awarded to members of the Armed Forces for noncombat meritorious achievement or meritorious service after that date. The Meritorious Service Medal evolved from an initial recommendation in 1918 by General John J. Pershing, the Commander of the American Expeditionary Forces during World War I.
The Meritorious Service Medal cannot be awarded for service in a combat theater. It has often been the decoration of choice for both end of tour and retirement recognition for field grade officers and senior enlisted personnel.