Defense Meritorious Service Medal
All five branches of the US military award Meritorious Service Medals, but the highest version is a separate issue by the Department of Defense, called the Defense Meritorious Service Medal. These military ribbons and military medals were created by President Lyndon Johnson with an Executive Order issued on January 16, 1969. These medals of America are presented to service members of all U.S. Armed Forces for outstanding non-combat meritorious service to the U.S., where the acts or services performed are similar to those for which the Legion of Merit is awarded, but entailing slightly lower levels of responsibility. On July 2, 1981, President Ronald Regan authorized the granting of these US military medals and military ribbons to members of friendly armed forces. Normally these military medals would only be awarded to field grade officers, senior warrant officers, and senior noncommissioned officers.
The Defense Meritorious Service Medal ranks just below the Purple Heart and just above the five services versions of the Meritorious Service Medal in the general order of precedence that has been established for the proper display of all military decorations. Subsequent awards of these military medals are denoted by Oak Leaf Clusters in all branches of service.