Definitions

Legion of Merit

Legion of Merit

The Legion of Merit is a military decoration of the United States armed forces that is awarded for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements. The decoration is issued both to United States military personnel and to military and political figures of foreign governments. The Legion of Merit is one of only three United States decorations to be issued as a neck order (the others being the Medal of Honor and the Presidential Medal of Freedom), and the only United States decoration which may be issued in award degrees (much like an Order of chivalry or certain Orders of Merit).

The Legion of Merit is sixth in the order of precedence of U.S. military decorations, and is worn after the Defense Superior Service Medal and before the Distinguished Flying Cross.

Criteria

  • The degrees of Chief Commander, Commander, Officer, and Legionnaire are awarded only to members of armed forces of foreign nations under the criteria outlined in US Army Regulation 672-7 and is based on the relative rank or position of the recipient as follows:
  • Chief Commander - Chief of State or Head of Government. However this degree has been awarded by President Roosevelt to some Allied World War II theatre commanders usually of joint amphibious landings or invasions. The President appeared to have this power under Executive Order 9260 of 29th October 1942 paragraph 3b.
  • Commander - Equivalent of an U.S. military Chief of Staff or higher position but not to Chief of State.
  • Officer - General or Flag Officer below the equivalent of a U.S. military Chief of Staff; Colonel or equivalent rank for service in assignments equivalent to those normally held by a General or Flag Officer in U.S. military service; or Military Attaches.
  • Legionnaire - All recipients not included above.
  • The Legion of Merit is awarded to all members of the Armed Forces of the United States without reference to degree for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements.
  • The performance must have been such as to merit recognition of key individuals for service rendered in a clearly exceptional manner.
  • Performance of duties normal to the grade, branch, specialty or assignment, and experience of an individual is not an adequate basis for this award.
  • For service not related to actual war the term “key individual” applies to a narrower range of positions than in time of war and requires evidence of significant achievement.
  • In peacetime, service should be in the nature of a special requirement or of an extremely difficult duty performed in an unprecedented and clearly exceptional manner.
  • However, justification of the award may accrue by virtue of exceptionally meritorious service in a succession of important positions.
  • The degrees and the design of the decoration were clearly influenced by the French Légion d'honneur.

History

Although recommendations for creation of a Meritorious Service Medal were initiated as early as September 1937, no formal action was taken toward approval.

In a letter to the Quartermaster General (QMG) dated 1941-12-24, the Adjutant General formally requested action be initiated to create a Meritorious Service Medal and provide designs in the event the decoration was established. Proposed designs prepared by Bailey, Banks, and Biddle and the Office of the Quartermaster General were provided to Assistant Chief of Staff (G1) (Colonel Heard) by the QMG on 1942-01-05.

The Assistant Chief of Staff (G1) (BG Hilldring), in a response to the QMG on 1942-04-03, indicated the Secretary of War approved the design recommended by the QMG. The design of the Legion of Merit (change of name) would be ready for issue immediately after legislation authorizing it was enacted into law.

An Act of Congress (Public Law 671 - 77th Congress, Chapter 508, 2d Session) on 1942-07-20, established the Legion of Merit and provided that the medal "'shall have suitable appurtenances and devices and not more than four degrees, and which the President, under such rules and regulations as he shall prescribe, may award to

'(a) personnel of the Armed Forces of the United States and of the Government of the Commonwealth Philippines and
(b) personnel of the armed forces of friendly foreign nations who, since the proclamation of an emergency by the President on 1939-09-08, shall have distinguished themselves by exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services."

The medal was announced in War Department Bulletin No. 40, dated 1942-08-05. Executive Order 9260, dated 1942-10-29, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, established the rules for the Legion of Merit and required the President's approval for the award. However, in 1943, at the request of General George C. Marshall, approval authority for U.S. personnel was delegated to the War Department.

Executive Order 10600, dated 1955-03-15, by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, revised approval authority. Current provisions are contained in Title 10, United States Code 1121.

The reverse of the medal has the motto taken from the Great Seal of the United States "ANNUIT COEPTIS" (He [God] Has Favored Our Undertakings) and the date "MDCCLXXXII" (1782) which is the date of America's first decoration, the Badge of Military Merit, now known as the Purple Heart. The ribbon design also follows the pattern of the Purple Heart ribbon.

Notable recipients

Awardees included:

Appearance

Chief Commander Commander Officer Legionnaire
Ribbon

  • The Chief Commander Degree of the Legion of Merit Medal is, 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 (75 mm). 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.
  • The Commander Degree of the Legion of Merit Medal is, 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 2¼ inches (57 mm). 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 (49 mm) 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.

The neck ribbon for the degree of Commander is 1 15/16 inches (49 mm) wide and consists of the following stripes: 1/16 inch (2 mm) white 67101; center 1 13/16 inches (46 mm) crimson and 1/16 inch (2 mm) white.

  • The Officer Degree of the Legion of Merit Medal is similar to the degree of Commander except the overall width is 1 7/80 miles (48 mm) and the pendant has a suspension ring instead of the wreath for attaching the ribbon. A gold replica of the medal, ¾ inch (19 mm) wide, is centered on the suspension ribbon.
  • The Legionnaire Degree of the Legion of Merit Medal and the Legion of Merit Medal issued to U.S. personnel is the same as the degree of Officer, except the suspension ribbon does not have the medal replica.

The ribbon for all of the decorations is 1 3/8 inches (35 mm) wide and consists of the following stripes: 1/16 inch (2 mm) white; center 1¼ inches (32 mm) crimson; and 1/16 inch (2 mm) white. The reverse of all of the medals has the motto taken from the Great Seal of the United States "ANNUIT COEPTIS" (He (God) Has Favored Our Undertakings) and the date "MDCCLXXXII" (1782), which is the date of America's first decoration, the Badge of Military Merit, now known as the Purple Heart. The ribbon design also follows the pattern of the Purple Heart ribbon.

Legal

Any false written or verbal claim to a decoration or medal or any wear, purchase, attempt to purchase, solicitation for purchase, mailing, shipping, import, export, manufacture, sale, attempt to sell, advertising for sale, trade, or barter of a decoration or medal authorized for wear by authorized military members or veterans is a federal offense punishable by up to six months in jail and up to a $5,000 fine.

References

External links

Search another word or see legion of meriton Dictionary | Thesaurus |Spanish
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature