Meritorious Unit Commendation

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For the Australian award, see Meritorious Unit Citation.
Meritorious Unit Commendation
U.S. Army
U.S. Navy & U.S. Marine Corps
U.S. Coast Guard
U.S. Air Force
Awarded by United States Military
Type Ribbon
Eligibility Military Unit
Awarded for "Exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service, heroic deeds, or valorous actions."
Status Currently awarded
Statistics
First awarded 1944
Last awarded On going
Precedence
Next (higher) DoD - Joint Meritorious Unit Award
Army - Valorous Unit Award
Navy - Navy Unit Commendation
Air Force - Gallant Unit Citation[1]
Coast Guard - Coast Guard Unit Commendation
Next (lower) Army - Superior Unit Award
Navy - None
Air Force - Air Force Outstanding Unit Award[1]
Coast Guard - Meritorious Team Commendation

Streamer MUC Army.PNG Meritorious Unit Commendation (Navy-Marine) Streamer.jpg

AF MUA Streamer.JPG
Streamers: Army, Navy and Marine Corps, Air Force

The Meritorious Unit Commendation (MUC) is a mid-level unit award of the United States military which is awarded to any military command which displays exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service, heroic deeds, or valorous actions.

Etymology[edit]

Each military service issues its own version of the Meritorious Unit Commendation. The United States Army version is typically referred to as the "Meritorious Unit Commendation" while the other military branches use the service name as a prefix (for example Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation). The Meritorious Unit Commendation is abbreviated (and often pronounced) as "MUC."

Army[edit]

The Meritorious Unit Commendation emblem worn to represent award of the Meritorious Unit Commendation is 1 7/16 inches wide and 9/16 inch in height. The emblem consists of a 1/16 inch wide Gold frame with laurel leaves which encloses a Scarlet 67111 ribbon. The previously authorized emblem was a Gold color embroidered laurel wreath, 1 5/8 inches in diameter on a 2 inches square of Olive Drab cloth.[2]

The Meritorious Unit Commendation is awarded to units for exceptionally meritorious conduct in performance of outstanding services for at least six continuous months during the period of military operations against an armed enemy occurring on or after 1 January 1944. Service in a combat zone is not required, but must be directly related to the combat effort. CONUS based units are excluded from this award as are other units outside the area of operation. The unit must display such outstanding devotion and superior performance of exceptionally difficult tasks as to set it apart and above other units with similar missions. The degree of achievement required is the same as that which would warrant award of the Legion of Merit to an individual. Only in rare cases will a unit larger than a battalion qualify for award of this commendation. For services performed during World War II, awards will be made only to service units and only for services performed between 1 January 1944 and 15 September 1946. Effective 1 March 1961, the Meritorious Unit Commendation was authorized for units and/or detachments of the Armed Forces of the United States for exceptionally meritorious conduct in performance of outstanding services for at least six continuous months in support of military operations. Such service is interpreted to relate to combat service support type activities and not to the type of activities performed by senior headquarters, combat, or combat support units.[3]

The Meritorious Service Unit Plaque was established by War Department Circular No. 345, dated 23 August 1944. The circular provided that military personnel assigned or attached to an organization were entitled to wear the Meritorious Service Unit Insignia on the outside half of the right sleeve of the service coat and shirt, four inches above the end of the sleeve. Additional awards were to be indicated by a gold star to be placed on the plaque. War Department Circular No. 54, 1946, provided that additional awards would be indicated by placing a golden numeral inside the wreath.

In April 1947, the Army approved a new design of the Meritorious Service Unit emblem that replaced the sleeve insignia and on 16 May 1947, announced the Meritorious Unit Commendation, provided for wearing of the Meritorious Unit Commendation emblem, and provided for the display of the Meritorious Unit Commendation streamer, which was scarlet with the name of the applicable theater of operations in white letters.

The emblem is worn by all members of a cited organization and is considered an individual award for persons in connection with the cited acts and may be worn whether or not they continue as members of the organization. Other personnel may wear this award while serving with an organization to indicate the unit has been awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation.

On 11 April 1949, TAG advised D/PA that the stock position was such that it would not be exhausted prior to 1959. By Comment 2, 1 March 1960, DCSPER stated that for planning purposes the new Meritorious Service Unit emblem would be authorized for wear on or after 1 January 1961, with wear of the old one prohibited for wear after 30 June 1962. However, the stock level was still so high that it was not introduced into the supply system until 14 July 1966.

Navy and Marine Corps[edit]

Meritorious Unit Commendation pennant

The Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation was established by order of the Secretary of the Navy on July 17, 1967. The ribbon is awarded in the name of the Secretary of the Navy to units of the U.S. Navy, United States Marine Corps, and United States Coast Guard members when operating as part of the U.S. Navy, such as Operation Market Time during the Vietnam war. As a result of Operation Eldorado Canyon on 14-15 April 1986, Secretary of the Navy John F. Lehman Jr. awarded the Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation to the men and women of a United States Air Force unit, the 48th Tactical Fighter Wing, the "Statue of Liberty Wing," whose F-111 aircraft participated in the operation. This the only U.S. Air Force unit so awarded. To be eligible for the award, the unit must have performed service of a character comparable to that which would merit the award of a Bronze Star Medal in a combat situation, or achievement of like caliber in a non-combat situation, to an individual.

The Navy Meritorious Unit Commendation ribbon ranks below the Navy Unit Commendation. Additional awards of the ribbon are denoted by bronze and silver service stars.

Coast Guard[edit]

The Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation was established in November 1973 and is awarded in the name of the Commandant of the United States Coast Guard. Additional awards of the Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation are denoted by gold 5/16 inch stars. The Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation may also be awarded with the Operational Distinguishing Device, denoted by a 5/16 inch silver letter "O" centered on the ribbon.

In addition to Coast Guard units, the Commandant of the Coast Guard has also periodically awarded the Coast Guard Meritorious Unit Commendation to warships, aviation squadrons and other selected units of the U.S. Navy, typically for USN support to USCG-led counter-narcotics (CN) and drug interdiction operations in both the Caribbean and off the Pacific coast of Mexico, Central America and South America.

Air Force[edit]

The Air Force version of the Meritorious Unit Commendation is known as the Meritorious Unit Award. In March 2004, the Secretary of the Air Force approved the ribbon to recognize organizations for outstanding achievement or service in direct support of combat operations.

The Meritorious Unit Award is awarded to Air Force units for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding achievement or service in direct support of combat operations for at least 90 continuous days during the period of military operations against an armed enemy of the United States on or after September 11, 2001. The unit must have displayed such outstanding devotion and superior performance of exceptionally difficult tasks as to set it apart and above other units with similar missions. The degree of achievement required is the same as that which would warrant award of the Legion of Merit. Superior performance of normal mission will not alone justify award of the ribbon. Service in a combat zone is not required, but service must be directly related to the combat effort. Squadrons, groups, and wings may be recommended for this award. The ribbon is not awarded to any unit or unit component previously awarded the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, the Air Force Organizational Excellence Award, or unit awards from other service components for the same act, achievement, or service. The component commander will automatically consider all disapproved Meritorious Unit Awards for the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award.[4]

The Meritorious Unit Award is worn immediately before the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award. Subsequent awards of the ribbon are denoted by bronze oak leaf clusters.

See also[edit]

References[edit]