This decoration was established by Executive Order 11448 on Jan. 16, 1969. The Meritorious Service Medal (pictured below) may be awarded to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who distinguishes themselves by either outstanding achievement or meritorious service to the United States.
This award was established as the counterpart of the Bronze Star Medal for the recognition of meritorious noncombat service.
The medal was designed by Jay Morris and sculptered by Lewis J. King, Jr., both of the Army's Institute of Heraldry. It is a one and one-half inch medallion in bronze, on the obverse as eagle wings upraised, standing upon two upward curving branches of laurel tied with a ribbon between the talons of the eagle, above and behind the eagle the upper part of a five-pointed star (with two smaller stars outlined within) on a incised plaque with six points starting at the top of each wing of the eagle. The reverse is plain with a circular inscription in raised letters, "United States of America" and "Meritorious Service" separated by dots.
The ribbon is purplish red with a quarter inch white stripe one-eighth inch from each edge.