The Army’s Meritorious Unit Commendation (MUC) was originally established as the Meritorious Unit Plaque in a War Department Circular dated 23 August 1944. Personnel serving in units awarded the plaque were authorized to wear the Meritorious Unit insignia on the right sleeve of the service coat or shirt; additional awards were denoted by placing gold stars on the plaque.

A 1946 the Army announced it was eliminating the plaque and replacing with a Meritorious Service Unit Commendation, with the award criteria being a unit performing meritorious service during military operations which if would the award of a Legion of Merit to an individual. The largest-size unit that could be recommended for the award was a brigade.

The design of the new emblem was announced a year later and given an introduction date of 1 January 1949, but the stockpile of the old sleeve insignias was so great it would last until at least 1959; the Army responded by moving up the authorization date for the new emblem to 1 January 1961. In reality, the revised ribbon emblem was not introduced into the system until July 1966.

When originally introduced, the award was for units who “exhibited exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services for at least 6 continuous months during a period of military operations against an armed enemy on or after 1 January 1944.” The award was limited to service units and, for services performed during World War II, only those performed from the eligibility date to 15 September 1946.

In 1961, the MUC 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 continuous months in support of military operations, with “services” explicitly interpreted to mean combat service support-type activities, not the services performed by Senior HQ, combat, or combat-support units. The criteria were again modified with an effective date of 11 September 2011, removing any type of qualifying duty or service; instead, it is now awarded for the same time frame (6 months) but without any limitation based on type of duties performed or on the type of unit performing the duties.

Note that the Army uses a larger frame for its unit citations than other services do. Use the drop-down box to the right to choose a ribbon frame based upon the type of uniform with which this award will be worn.

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