US Meritorious Service Medal: Presented to members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguished themselves by outstanding non-combat meritorious achievement or service to the United States subsequent to January 16, 1969. Effective 11 September 2001, this award also may be bestowed for non-combat 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) and senior noncommissioned officers (E-7 to E-9), as exceptionally meritorious service at that level of responsibility is usually required for award of the medal.
Devices: Bronze Oak Leaf Device, Silver Oak Leaf Device.