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Military Award Tools Write My Award
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The Meritorious Service Medal 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. Effective 11 September 2001, this award also may be bestowed for meritorious
achievement in a designated combat theatre. 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
decoration, known as the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, is intended for similar services performed under
joint service with the United States Department of Defense. Today, most MSM recipients are field grade officers
(pay grades O-4 to O-6), senior warrant officers (W-3 to W-5), senior noncommissioned officers (E-7 to E-9),
foreign military personnel in the ranks of O-6 and below, and individuals who have displayed a level of service
that warrants an award of such magnitude. To receive this award the individual must exhibit exceptionally
meritorious service at that level of responsibility.