Created in 1969, The US Meritorious Service Medal is an Award given to any Branch of The US Armed Forces. Originally a Peacetime award, after 2001 – it was awarded for actions in Combat where One did not meet the criteria for award of The Bronze Star Medal. Normally, The Award is given to Officers and Senior NCOs (with those below the Rank of Staff Sergeant – inclusive, rare). It was typically seen as a ''Retirement Medal''.
A Circular Bronze Colored Device, The Medal features a twin motif of the Upper portion being the Rays of The Sun with the Lower portion a series of Wreaths. Centered is an engravement of The US Federal Eagle with a 5-pointed Star (partially obscured). The Ribbon is a Maroon Field with a series of (4) White Stripes. The Reverse reads ''UNITED STATES OF AMERICA'' and ''FOR MERITORIOUS SERVICE''.
With it's Combat usage after 2001, subsequent Awards of The ''MSM”” are denoted by small Oak Leave ''Cluster'' (Metal) Devices, worn attached to The Ribbon.