Army Commendation Medal

Establishing Authority 

The Army Commendation Medal was established by Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson via War Department Circular 377 on December 18, 1945, as the Army Commendation Ribbon. It was redesignated as the Army Commendation Ribbon With Metal Pendant in 1949. The final change in its name occurred on March 31, 1960, when it was redesignated as the Army Commendation Medal.

Effective Dates

The Army Commendation Medal has been in effect, with modification, since December 7, 1941.


The Army Commendation Medal is awarded to members of the Armed Forces of the United States who, while serving in any capacity with the Army, distinguish themselves by heroism, outstanding achievement, or meritorious service.

Order of Precedence 

The Army Commendation Medal is worn after the Joint Service Commendation Medal and before the Joint Service Achievement Medal.


Additional awards of the Army Commendation Medal are denoted by oak leaf clusters, and the "V" device has been authorized since June 25, 1963, when the Commendation Medal is awarded for acts of heroism involving conflict with an armed enemy.


The Army Commendation Medal was designed and sculpted by Thomas Hudson Jones of the Army's Institute of Heraldry.

First Recipient 

The identity of the first recipient is unknown.

Description and Symbolism


In the center of a bronze hexagon one and three-eighths inches wide, an eagle with horizontally displayed wings and bearing on its breast a shield paly of thirteen pieces and a chief. In its talons the eagle holds three arrows. The shape of the medal was designed to distinguish the Commendation Medal from all other Army decorations. The eagle is from the Seal of the Department of Defense, and the shield is taken from the Great Seal of the United States.


In the center of the bronze hexagon there is a plaque for engraving the recipient's name. Above the plaque, in two lines, the inscription in raised letters, FOR MILITARY, and below the plaque, MERIT. Below the word MERIT, and in the bottom point of the medal, there is a spray of laurel, representing achievement.


The ribbon to the Army Commendation Medal consists of a field of Myrtle Green with five white stripes in the center and white stripes on each edge of the ribbon.