The Meritorious Unit Commendation was originally established by War Department Circular 345 on August 23, 1944, as the Meritorious Service Unit Plaque. Change 12 to Army Regulation 672-5-1 dated April 6, 1966, changed this award from a patch to a scarlet ribbon worn inside a gold frame.
The Meritorious Services Unit Plaque took effect on January 1, 1944 (the Meritorious Unit Commendation ribbon was made retroactive to January 1, 1944).
The Meritorious Unit Commendation is awarded to units for exceptionally meritorious conduct in performance of outstanding services for at least six continuous months during a period of military operations against an armed enemy on or after January 1, 1944.
Although service in a combat zone is not required, the unit's accomplishments must be directly related to the larger combat effort. The unit must display such outstanding devotion and superior performance of exceptionally difficult tasks as to set it apart from and above other units with similar missions. The degree of achievement required is the same as that which would warrant award of the Legion of Merit to an individual. Only in rare cases will a unit larger than a battalion qualify for this award.
For services performed during World War II, this award was limited to service units and was restricted to services performed between January 1, 1944 and September 15, 1946. Members of units that received the Plaque were entitled to wear on their right sleeve a two inch square of olive drab cloth on which appeared a golden yellow laurel wreath one and five-eighths inches in diameter.
Effective March 1, 1961 the Meritorious Unit Commendation was authorized for units and/or detachments of the Armed Forces for exceptionally meritorious conduct in performance of outstanding services for at least six months in support of military operations. Change 12 to Army Regulation 672-5-1 dated April 6, 1966, replaced the patch with a scarlet ribbon worn inside a gold frame.
Order of Precedence
The Meritorious Unit Commendation is worn after the Valorous Unit Award and before the Superior Unit Award.
Additional awards of the Meritorious Unit Commendation are denoted by oak leaf clusters.
The Meritorious Unit Commendation is 1 7/16 inches wide and 9/16 inch in height. The Scarlet ribbon is contained within a 1/16 inch wide Gold frame with laurel leaves. The previous issued emblem was a 1-5/8 inch gold, embroidered laurel wreath on a two inch square Olive Drab cloth.