Meritorious Service Medal (USA)
The MSM was previously awarded as a decoration for achievement during peacetime, but 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. 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.
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.
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."
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 one silver oak leaf cluster denoting five additional awards. (1 silver OLC plus the medal itself represents six) 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 five additional awards). These devices are also authorized for wear on the suspension and service ribbon of the medal.
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.
There have been 26 Signals and C&E Branch recipients of the United States MSM and 1 Signals and C&E recipient of the first Oak Leaf Cluster. Please see Meritorious Service Medal (USA) - Signals Recipients for a listing of the individuals.