Established by the State of Vietnam in August, 1950 and reauthorized by the Republic of Vietnam in 1956, the Military Merit Medal was the highest military honor that could be awarded to enlisted personnel in the Vietnamese military. In the 1960s, the eligibility criteria were expanded so the decoration could be awarded to U.S. troops and members of the military from other allied nations fighting for the defense of South Vietnam.
Some sources state that this decoration was approved for wear by the “U.S. Military,” implying all five branches of the Armed Forces of the United States had authorized its acceptance and wear. But the award is not mentioned in the regulations regarding medals and awards for the Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard, and is referred to nowhere in any of the three volumes of the Department of Defense’s Manual of Military Decorations and Awards (1348.33). Only AR 600-8-22, Military Awards, lists it as a foreign decoration that’s been approved for acceptance and wear; it refers to the award as the “Vietnamese Military Merit Medal.”

To earn the Military Merit Medal, noncommissioned officers and enlisted personnel must have previously received citations at the Armed Forces level, been wounded at least once in combat, performed heroic actions that distinguished from their fellow servicemembers, and have served honorably for a minimum of thirteen years. The medal was issued in only one class and was awarded by either the Minister of National Defense or, in the case of posthumous awards, the Chief of Joint General Staff of the Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces.

The overwhelming majority of those awarded the Military Merit Medal were enlisted servicemembers, but a more-or-less honorary version of the award was also presented to Chiefs of State and “Marshals” of countries friendly to the Republic of Vietnam, as well as to anyone who served as the country’s Commander in Chief.

The Vietnam Military Merit award was the highest military decoration of South Vietnam during the years of the Vietnam War.
The United States military authorized the Vietnam Military Merit Ribbon as a foreign decoration and permitted the Ribbon to be worn on U.S. uniforms.

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As a certified manufacturer of uniforms and insignia, The Salute Uniforms considers it a privilege to provide the members of our nation’s military services with superior-quality apparel and accoutrements. We guarantee that every product we offer is made in the USA and meets or surpasses Mil-Spec standards. Browse our online catalog and discover how our tradition of excellence and commitment to innovation makes us your best source for military uniforms, insignias, medals, and accessories.


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