The Presidential Unit Citation (PUC), originally called the Distinguished Unit Citation, is awarded to units of the United States Armed Forces, and those of allied countries, for extraordinary heroism in action against an armed enemy.  The collective degree of valor (combat heroism) against an armed enemy by the unit nominated for the PUC is the same as that which would warrant award of the individual award of the Distinguished Service CrossAir Force Cross or Navy Cross

The Meritorious Unit Commendation (MUC) is a mid-level unit award of the United States military which is awarded to any military command which displays exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service, heroic deeds, or valorous actions. The degree of achievement required is the same as that which would warrant award of the Legion of Merit to an individual. 



The Meritorious Service Medal (MSM) is a military award presented to members of the United States Armed Forces who distinguished themselves by outstanding meritorious achievement or service to the United States subsequent to January 16, 1969. The MSM was previously awarded as a decoration for achievement during peacetime; effective 11 September 2001, this decoration may also be bestowed in lieu of the Bronze Star Medal for meritorious achievement in a designated combat theater. [1] 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. Award of the MSM to company grade officers, junior warrant officers/chief warrant officers (Army only) and junior NCOs is rare and typically by exception.



The Army Commendation Medal is awarded to any member, other than General Officers, of the Armed Forces that distinguishes himself or herself by heroism, meritorious achievement or meritorious service which are of a lesser degree than that required for the Bronze Star Medal. The act justifying the award may entail aerial flight, and it may be made for made for noncombatant-related acts of heroism which do not meet the requirements for an award of the Soldier's Medal.



Good Conduct Medal is awarded on a selective basis to a soldier whom while in active Federal Military duty set himself/herself apart from his/her comrades by exemplary conduct, efficiency, and fidelity throughout a set time of uninterrupted enlisted active Federal military service. Every three years served after 27 August 1940 meets the criteria for a qualifying period of service. For the first award only, if separated before three years, the Good Conduct Medal can be awarded when a minimum on one year is completed, or for one who died in the line of duty before finishing one year of active Federal Military duty. The award must be sanctioned by the immediate commander and must be proclaimed in permanent orders.

The National Defense Service Medal is awarded for honorable active service as a member of the Armed Forces for any period between:

  • June 27, 1950, to July 27, 1954 (for service during the Korean War).
  • January 1, 1961, to August 14, 1974 (for service during the Vietnam War).
  • August 2, 1990, to November 30, 1995 (for service during the Gulf War).
  • September 11, 2001, to a date to be announced (for service during the War on Terrorism).


The Vietnam Service Medal was awarded to members of the Armed Forces of the United States who served at any time between 4 July 1965, and 28 March 1973, in Vietnam or its contiguous waters or airspace. Or, for any period of service during the same time period in Thailand, Laos, or Cambodia or the air spaces thereover and in direct support of operations in Vietnam. The medal is presented to any service member who served on temporary duty for more than thirty consecutive days, or 60 non-consecutive days, attached to or regularly serving for one, or more, days with an organization participating in or directly supporting ground (military) operations or attached to or regularly serving for one, or more, days with an organization participating in or direct support of military operations.


The Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross was awarded by the Vietnam Government to honor military members that had performed acts of valor or showed heroic conduct in the midst of fighting the enemy and were cited individually at the regiment, brigade, division, corps, or armed forces level.
U.S. Military units were individually cited for award of the Republic of Vietnam (RVN) Gallantry Cross, however, the Vietnamese Government issued the award to all units subordinate to Military Assistance Command (MACV) during the time span of 8 February 1962 and 28 March 1973 and to U.S. Army Vietnam and its subordinate units for the time span 20 July 1965 to 28 March 1973. This authorizes all personnel who served in Vietnam to be awarded the RVN Gallantry Cross unit citation.

To be awarded the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal personnel must meet one of the following requirements:

  • Served in the Republic of Vietnam for six months during the period of 1 March 1961 and 28 March 1973.
  • Served outside the geographical limits of the Republic of Vietnam and gave direct support in battle to the Republic of Vietnam and Armed Forces for six months.
  • Such individuals must meet the criteria established for the Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal (for Vietnam) or the Vietnam Service Medal, to qualify for the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.
  • Six months service is not required for those who were wounded by enemy forces; killed in action or otherwise in line of duty; or captured by enemy forces.