~ 720th Military Police Battalion Reunion Association History Project ~
Meritorious Unit Commendation

     The first authorized Meritorious Unit Commendation emblem was a Gold color embroidered laurel wreath, 1 5/8 inches in diameter on a 2 inches square of Olive Drab cloth.

     The troops nicknamed it the "Toilet Seat."

Sleeve Emblem

    The current Meritorious Unit Commendation emblem worn to represent award of the Meritorious Unit Commendation is a ribbon 1 7/16 inches wide and 9/16 inch in height. The emblem consists of a 1/16 inch wide Gold frame with laurel leaves which encloses a Scarlet 67111 ribbon.


     A bronze oak leaf cluster is added to the ribbon to denote each subsequent award.

     A silver oak leaf cluster is added to the ribbon to denote the 5th, 10th, etc.

Criteria: The Meritorious Unit Commendation is awarded to units for exceptionally meritorious conduct in performance of outstanding services for at least six continuous months during the period of military operations against an armed enemy occurring on or after 1 January 1944. Service in a combat zone is not required, but must be directly related to the combat effort. CONUS based units are excluded from this award as are other units outside the area of operation. The unit must display such outstanding devotion and superior performance of exceptionally difficult tasks as to set it apart 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 award of this decoration. For services performed during World War II, awards will be made only to service units and only for services performed between 1 January 1944 and 15 September 1946. Effective 1 March 1961, the Meritorious Unit Commendation was authorized for units and/or detachments of the Armed Forces of the United States for exceptionally meritorious conduct in performance of outstanding services for at least six continuous months in support of military operations. Such service is interpreted to relate to combat service support type activities and not to the type of activities performed by senior headquarters, combat, or combat support units.

Component: The current components of the Meritorious Unit Commendation are the emblems awarded to members of the unit and the streamer for display on the unit flag/guidon.
        a. Meritorious Unit Commendation Emblem: MIL-D-3943/32 (frame) and MIL-R-11589/92 (ribbon). NSN 8455-00-964-4210.
        b. Streamer: MIL-S-14650/5. Manual requisition in accordance with Chapter 9, AR 840-10.
4. Background: a. The Meritorious Service Unit Plaque was established by War Department Circular No. 345, dated 23 August 1944. The circular provided that military personnel assigned or attached to an organization were entitled to wear the Meritorious Service Unit Insignia on the outside half of the right sleeve of the service coat and shirt, four inches above the end of the sleeve. Additional awards were to be indicated by a gold star to be placed on the plaque. War Department Circular No. 54, 1946, provided that additional awards would be indicated by placing a golden numeral inside the wreath.
        b. DF, D/PA, Subject: Proposed AR 260-15, Unit Awards, dated 12 December 1946, stated "In order to enhance the prestige of an award to a meritorious service unit, the present Meritorious Service Unit Plaque has been eliminated, and in lieu thereof a Meritorious Service Unit Commendation has been established on a plane comparable to the Navy Unit Commendation and may be awarded to any type of unit for meritorious service during military operations which, if performed by an individual would warrant the award of a Legion of Merit.
        c. In April 1947, D/PA approved a new design of the Meritorious Service Unit emblem that replaced the sleeve insignia to be effective 1 January 1949. On 11 April 1949, TAG advised D/PA that the stock position was such that it would not be exhausted prior to 1959. By Comment 2, 1 March 1960, DCSPER stated that for planning purposes the new Meritorious Service Unit emblem would be authorized for wear on or after 1 January 1961, with wear of the old one prohibited for wear after 30 June 1962. However, the stock level was still so high that it was not introduced into the supply system until 14 July 1966.
        d. AR 260-15, dated 16 May 1947, announced the Meritorious Unit Commendation, provided for wearing of the Meritorious Unit Commendation emblem, and provided for the display of the Meritorious Unit Commendation streamer, which was scarlet with the name of the applicable theater of operations in white letters.
        e. The emblem is worn by all members of a cited organization and is considered an individual decoration for persons in connection with the cited acts and may be worn whether or not they continue as members of the organization. Other personnel may wear this decoration while serving with an organization to indicate the unit has been awarded the Meritorious Unit Commendation.
        f. Order of precedence and wear policy for unit awards is contained in AR 670-1. Policy for awards, approving authority, and supply of the unit award emblem is contained in AR 600-8-22. The policy for display of unit awards on guidons and flags and supply of streamers is contained in AR 840-10.

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