Meritorious Service Medal

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Meritorious Service Medal
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Award MSM.png
Meritorious Service Medal
Description
Type Personal/Individual Performance Award
Awarded for Awarded for contributions of a technical matter to either the 7th Cavalry or a member, or for meritorious service of a non combat nature. To receive this award the individual must exhibit exceptionally meritorious service at that level of responsibility.
Status Currently Awarded
Abbreviation MSM
Precedence
Next (higher) Defense Meritorious Service Medal
Equivalent
Next (lower) Army Air Medal



The Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) is a military award presented to members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguished themselves by outstanding meritorious achievement or service to the United States subsequent to January 16, 1969. The MSM was previously awarded as a decoration for achievement during peacetime; effective 11 September 2001, this decoration may also be bestowed in lieu of the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious achievement in a designated combat theater.[1] 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. According to AR 600-8-22, Paragraph 3-16, the MSM may not be upgraded to or downgraded from a recommended Bronze Star Medal. An MSM recommendation that is downgraded will be approved as an ARCOM.

A higher award and decoration known as the Defense Meritorious Service Medal (DMSM) is intended for similar services performed under joint duty within the United States Department of Defense, to include the Joint Staff, the Unified Combatant Commands, and joint task forces under their cognizance.

In the U.S. Army, recipients of the Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) are typically field grade officers in pay grades O-4 through O-6 (major, lieutenant colonel, colonel), senior chief warrant officers in pay grades W-3 through W-5 (CW3 to CW5, Army only), and senior non-commissioned officers (E-7 to E-9) in both the Army and the Air Force. Award of the MSM may be for meritorious performance while serving in a staff position as a field grade officer, senior chief warrant officer, or senior non-commissioned office, or, in the case of field grade officers, for successful completion of a command tour at the battalion (Army) or squadron (Army or Air Force) level. Award of the MSM to company grade officers in pay grades O-1 through O-3 (2d lieutenant, 1st lieutenant, captain), junior warrant officers/chief warrant officers in pay grades W-1 and W-2 (WO1 and CW2, Army only), and junior NCOs in pay grades E-6 and below is rare and typically by exception.

Foreign military personnel in the ranks of NATO OF-5 (US O-6 equivalent) and below and individuals who have displayed a level of service that warrants an award of such magnitude may also be eligible to be awarded the MSM subject to approval by a U.S. flag officer or general officer. To receive this medal the individual must exhibit exceptionally meritorious service at that level of responsibility.

7th Cavalry Adaptation

The Meritorious Service Medal is a military award presented to members of the 7th Cavalry who distinguished themselves by outstanding non-combat meritorious achievement or service to the 7th Cavalry. Awarded for contributions of a technical matter to either the 7th Cavalry or a member, or for meritorious service of a non combat nature. To receive this award the individual must exhibit exceptionally meritorious service at that level of responsibility.

Creation and History

At the Tri-Department Awards Conference (February 5, 1968), there was a discussion on the need for a third meritorious award to provide appropriate recognition for non-combat achievement or service comparable to that of the Bronze Star Medal for combat achievement or service. It was felt that the Legion of Merit's prestige was slipping because it was being used with increasing frequency to reward service below the Legion of Merit's intended standard, but higher than that required for the Commendation Medals of the various military services.

An ad hoc committee was formed by the Secretary of Defense (M&RA) to select a name. On November 8, 1968, the committee unanimously approved the name "Meritorious Service Medal". President Lyndon B. Johnson established the Meritorious Service Medal per Executive Order 11448, dated January 16, 1969. The Executive Order was amended by President Ronald Reagan per Executive Order 12312, dated July 2, 1981, to authorize award to members of the armed forces of friendly foreign nations.

The medal was designed by Mr. Jay Morris of the Institute of Heraldry, and the design was approved by the committee on March 20, 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 United States, 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.

Description

The Meritorious Service Medal is a bronze medal, 1.5 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". The suspension 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.

Additional awards of the Meritorious Service Medal are denoted by bronze oak leaf clusters in the U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force (with a silver oak leaf cluster denoting six awards) and gold 5/16 inch stars in the U.S. Navy, U.S. Marine Corps and U.S. Coast Guard (with a 5/16 inch silver star denoting six awards). These devices are also authorized for wear on the suspension and service ribbon of the medal. In certain instances, the U.S. Coast Guard also authorizes an Operational Distinguishing Device for the medal.