Legion of Merit

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Legion of Merit
Us legion of merit legionnaire.png
Awarded by United States Department of Defense
TypeMilitary medal (Decoration)
Awarded forExceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements
StatusCurrently awarded
Post-nominalsLOM
Statistics
First awarded1942
Precedence
Next (higher)Defense Superior Service Medal
Next (lower)Distinguished Flying Cross
Legion of Merit ribbon.svg
Legion of Merit ribbon
 
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Legion of Merit
Us legion of merit legionnaire.png
Awarded by United States Department of Defense
TypeMilitary medal (Decoration)
Awarded forExceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements
StatusCurrently awarded
Post-nominalsLOM
Statistics
First awarded1942
Precedence
Next (higher)Defense Superior Service Medal
Next (lower)Distinguished Flying Cross
Legion of Merit ribbon.svg
Legion of Merit ribbon

The Legion of Merit (LOM) is a military award of the United States Armed Forces that is given for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements. The decoration is issued to members of the seven uniformed services of the United States[1] as well as to military and political figures of foreign governments.

The Legion of Merit (Commander degree) is one of only two United States military decorations to be issued as a neck order (the other being the Medal of Honor) and the only United States decoration which may be issued in award degrees (much like an order of chivalry or certain Orders of Merit).[2][3]

The Legion of Merit is sixth in the order of precedence of U.S. Military awards and is worn after the Defense Superior Service Medal and before the Distinguished Flying Cross. In contemporary use in the U.S. Armed Forces, the Legion of Merit is typically awarded to Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force general officers and colonels, and Navy and Coast Guard flag officers and captains occupying command or very senior staff positions in their respective services. It may also be awarded to officers of lesser rank and to very senior enlisted personnel, but these instances are less frequent and circumstances vary by branch of service. As such, the medal can be considered as "points" in some enlisted promotion systems, such as the Air Force, where it is counted as seven points (out of a possible 25 points for decorations).[4] However, since the rare enlisted recipients are typically at the pinnacle of the enlisted pay grades (i.e., E-9), the utility of such points is marginal to nil.

Criteria[edit]

  1. Chief Commander: Head of state or government. However this degree was awarded by President Roosevelt to some Allied World War II theater commanders usually for joint amphibious landings or invasions. (The President had this power under Executive Order 9260 of October 29, 1942 paragraph 3b.[6])
  2. Commander: Equivalent of a U.S. military chief of staff or higher position, but not to a head of state.
  3. 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 attachés.
  4. Legionnaire: All recipients not included above.

The degrees and the design of the decoration were clearly influenced by the French Legion of Honor (Légion d'honneur).

History[edit]

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 December 24, 1941, 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 January 5, 1942.

The Assistant Chief of Staff (G1) (BG Hilldring), in a response to the QMG on April 3, 1942, 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. (A separate Meritorius Service Medal was established in 1969.)

An Act of Congress (Public Law 671—77th Congress, Chapter 508, 2d Session) on July 20, 1942, 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 August 5, 1942. Executive Order 9260, dated October 29, 1942, 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 March 15, 1955, 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.

Insignia[edit]

Chief CommanderCommanderOfficerLegionnaire
Us legion of merit chief commander.png
Us legion of meit commander.png
Us legion of merit officer.png
Us legion of merit legionnaire.png
Ribbon
US Legion of Merit Chief Commander ribbon.png
US Legion of Merit Commander ribbon.png
Us legion of merit officer rib.png
Us legion of merit legionnaire rib.png
The neck ribbon for the degree of Commander is 1 1516 inches (49 mm) wide and consists of the following stripes: 116 inch (1.6 mm) white 67101; center 1 1316 inches (46 mm) crimson and 116 inch (1.6 mm) white.
The ribbon for all of the decorations is 1 38 inches (35 mm) wide and consists of the following stripes: 116 inch (1.6 mm) white; center 1 14 inches (32 mm) crimson; and 116 inch (1.6 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.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ [1] Note: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Commissioned Officer Corps Amendments Act of 2012 amended the Legion of Merit to be awarded to any uniformed service.
  2. ^ "Legion of Merit". Awards. Institute of Heraldry. Retrieved April 26, 2010. 
  3. ^ "Types of the Medal of Honor: 1862 To Present." Congressional Medal of Honor Society. Retrieved: July 23, 2006.
  4. ^ Air Force Personnel Center Legion of Merit
  5. ^ 578.13 Legion of Merit
  6. ^ Executive Order 9260 of October 29, 1942 http://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/ws/index.php?pid=58838

External links[edit]