Meritorious Service Medal (Belgium)
|Meritorious service medal|
Meritorious Service Medal (obverse)
|Awarded by Kingdom of Belgium|
|Eligibility||Personnel of the Belgian Armed Forces or personnel of non-Belgian Armed Forces|
|Awarded for||Exemplary behaviour or act|
|Established||25 February 2005|
|Next (higher)||Commemorative Medal for Missions or Operations regarding the operational defense of the territory|
|Next (lower)||Commemorative Medals for Army Marches|
The Meritorious service medal for personnel of the Belgian Defence Forces and Foreign Armed Forces (Dutch: Medaille van Verdienste ten gunste van de personeelsleden van defensie en van vreemde legers, French: Médaille du Mérite en faveur des membres du personnel de la défense et d’armées étrangères) is a military decoration of Belgium. It was established on 23 February 2005 as a more rewarding successor of an earlier Medal of Military Merit (created in 1988) and is awarded to members of the Belgian Armed Forces and civilians working for the Belgian Defence who show an exemplary meritorious behaviour in the completion of their duties or who have accomplished an exemplary meritorious act.
The medal may also be awarded to foreign military and civilian members of a foreign Armed Force who have provided exceptional support to the Belgian Defence.
The Meritorious service medal is awarded by royal decree.
The original Medal for Military Merit was created in 1988 by ministerial decree and awarded internally within the Ministry of Defence. However, it was felt that this limited the visibility and importance of the award, and a new Meritorious Service Medal with a slightly different official name was created in its place, that was to be awarded by the King of Belgium. The original Medal for Military Merit is to be considered as equivalent to the new one.
Belgian Military Personnel
The Meritorious Service Medal is awarded by the King based on a proposal from the Secretary of Defence, the Chief of Defence or an officer with the authority of Corps Commander or above, for award to a person who:
- is more productive than most of their colleagues;
- tries to achieve perfection in their daily work;
- has on their own initiative achieved something to the benefit of the Belgian Armed Forces;
- has not had any previous penal or disciplinary sanctions;
- behaves in an exemplary manner; and
- takes into account human and social issues in their work.
One cannot be awarded the Meritorious Service Medal if one has already been awarded the Civic Decoration, the Military Decoration for gallantry or exceptional devotion or a medal of the Carnegie Hero Fund for the same acts.
Award ceremonies are usually held only once a year, the medal is rare, with barely four to eleven yearly recipients. In the period 2009-2013, the Medal for Military Merit was awarded 55 times. The medal can only be awarded once to the same individual. When personnel receives a severe punishment, multiple light punishments or when they act in a way that is deemed unbecoming and has been punished accordingly, the King can revoke the award of the meritorious service medal.
Personnel of Non-Belgian Armed Forces
The meritorious service medal may be awarded to military and civilian personnel of non-Belgian armed forces when they have collaborated exceptionally with and provided extraordinary support to the Belgian Defence. The Belgian regulation stipulate explicitly that such an award is exceptional. In order to receive the award, the awardee must:
- Be in active duty at the time of the act
- Not have been awarded the medal of the Carnegie Hero Fund of the Civic Decoration for the same acts
The award of the medal to a foreign service member can be done by:
- The Belgian Secretary of Defence
- The Belgian Chief of Defence
- A Belgian Commanding Officer in a multinational service, including in a foreign operation theatre.
- A Commanding Officer of a combat branch or major staff
The medal is circular and struck from bronze, the obverse bears the Escutcheon-only version of the Coat of arms of Belgium, the plain reverse usually bears the engraved name of the recipient and date of the award. The medal is suspended to the ribbon by a ring though the suspension loop. The ribbon is light blue with four vertical white stripes. The original Medal for Military Merit had the same design and hung from the same ribbon as the new one, only the statute differs.
Recipients (partial list)
- Lieutenant Yves Bertholet
- Sergeant Yoann Severijns
- Master Corporal J.-P. Doyen
- Warrant Officer G. Verlent
- Master Warrant Officer G. Lenders
- Chief Warrant Officer P. Istas
- First Sergeant-Major Jozef Van Lancker
- Corporal D. Tricot
- Major I. Dupont
- First Master Corporal Bruno Coenen
- Warrant Officer Pascal Blanchart
- Master Corporal Sean Vereecken
- Major Danny Snelders
- Chief Warrant Officer Stefaan Mouton
- Lieutenant Luc Gille
- Private First Class Timothy De Mars
- Master Warrant Officer Patrick Vermeulen
- Brigadier General Philippe Léonard (France)
- Colonel Mark E. Carter (USA)
- Major Anthony F. Sidoti (USA)
- List of Orders, Decorations and Medals of the Kingdom of Belgium
- List of Medal of Military Merit (Belgium) Recipients
- "Royal Decree of King Albert II of Belgium of 23 February 2005" (PDF). Moniteur Belge (in French). Belgian Ministry of Defence. 2005-02-23. Retrieved 2016-11-08.
- "Eretekens - regulation". Belgian Defence Ministry. 2016-08-08. Missing or empty
- "Ministerial Decree of 18 April 1988". Belgian Ministry of Defence. 1988-12-23. Missing or empty
- "Royal Decree 5656 of 22 September 2005". Belgian Ministry of Defence. 2005-09-22. Missing or empty
- "Royal Decree 6052 of 11 May 2006". Belgian Ministry of Defence. 2006-05-11. Missing or empty
- "Royal Decree 6707 of 31 August 2007". Belgian Ministry of Defence. 2007-08-31. Missing or empty
- "Royal Decree 7264 of 15 October 2008". Belgian Ministry of Defence. 2008-10-15. Missing or empty
- "Royal Decree 7558 of 29 April 2009". Belgian Ministry of Defence. 2009-04-29. Missing or empty
- "Royal Decree 8085 of 4 July 2010". Belgian Ministry of Defence. 2010-07-04. Missing or empty
- "Royal Decree 8389 of 26 May 2011". Belgian Ministry of Defence. 2011-05-26. Missing or empty
- "Royal Decree 8966 of 9 May 2012". Belgian Ministry of Defence. 2012-05-09. Missing or empty
- Quinot H., 1950, Recueil illustré des décorations belges et congolaises, 4e Edition. (Hasselt)
- Cornet R., 1982, Recueil des dispositions légales et réglementaires régissant les ordres nationaux belges. 2e Ed. N.pl., (Brussels)
- Borné A.C., 1985, Distinctions honorifiques de la Belgique, 1830-1985 (Brussels)
- Belgian military regulation DGHR-REG-DISPSYS-001 of 20 February 2006
- Belgian military regulation DGHR-SPS-DECOR-001 of 18 January 2006
- Report of written questions and answers in the Belgian House of Representatives, 17 March 2014 (QRVA 53-152)