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   Legion of Merit
Service: ALL
Instituted: 1942
Authorized: DOD 1348-33-M
Issuing Country: ( US ) - UNITED STATES
Legion of Merit
Back of Medal
 
Devices
Description:
  1. Authorized by Congress through Stat. 743, July 20, 1942 and subsequently by Executive Order 9260
  2.  Awarded pursuant to 10 U.S.C. 1121, to a member of the Armed Forces of the United States without degree. However, awards to members of foreign anneal forces are made in the degree of Chief Commander, Commander, Officer, and Legionnaire.
  • The first two degrees are comparable in rank to the Distinguished Service Medal and are usually awarded to heads of state and to commanders of armed forces, respectively.
  • The last two degrees are comparable in rank to the award of the Legion of Merit to U.S. Service members.
  1. The Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard authorize the letter “V” on the Legion of Merit. (The Navy did not authorize the letter “V” between April 1974 and August 1990.)


Background:
  1. The Legion of Merit, the first United States decoration created specifically for award to citizens of other nations, was established by an Act of Congress of July 20, 1942, amended by an executive order of March 15, 1955. It is conferred on officers and enlisted men of the Armed Forces of the United States and on nationals of other counties "who shall have distinguished themselves by exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services" since September 8, 1939, the date of the President's proclamation of the state of emergency that led to World War II. The Legion of Merit may be awarded for combat or noncombat services; in the case of American military personnel, if the award is for combat service it is shown by the wearing of a combat "V."
  2. There are 4 classes of this medal.
  • Chief Commander Description: On a wreath of Green laurel joined at the bottom by a Gold bow-knot (rosette), a domed five-pointed White star bordered Crimson, points reversed with v-shaped extremities tipped with a Gold ball. In the center, a Blue disk encircled by Gold clouds, with 13 White stars arranged in the pattern that appears on the United States Coat of Arms. Between each point, within the wreath are crossed arrows pointing outwards. The overall width is 2 15/16 inches. The words "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" are engraved in the center of the reverse. A miniature of the decoration in Gold on a horizontal Gold bar is worn on the service ribbon.
  • Commander Description: On a wreath of Green laurel joined at the bottom by a Gold bow-knot (rosette), a five-pointed White star bordered Crimson, points reversed with v-shaped extremities tipped with a Gold ball. In the center, a Blue disk encircled by Gold clouds, with 13 White stars arranged in the pattern that appears on the United States Coat of Arms. Between each star point, within the wreath are crossed arrows pointing outwards. The overall width is 2 1/4 inches. A Gold laurel wreath in the v-shaped angle at the top connects an oval suspension ring to the neck ribbon that is 1 15/16 inches in width. The reverse of the five-pointed star is enameled in White, and the border is Crimson. In the center, a disk for engraving the name of the recipient surrounded by the words "ANNUIT COEPTIS MDCCLXXXII." An outer scroll contains the words "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA." The service ribbon is the same as the ribbon for the degree of Commander, except the ribbon attachment is Silver.
  • Officer: Description: The design is the same as the degree of Commander except overall width is 1 7/8 inches and the pendant has a suspension ring instead of the wreath for attaching the ribbon. A Gold replica of the medal, 3/4 inch wide, is centered on the suspension ribbon.
  • Legionnaire/Legion of Merit: Description: The design is the same as the degree of Officer, except the suspension ribbon does not have the medal replica.