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Posted 8/3/2010 Printable Fact Sheet
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Legion of Merit
Legion of Merit - Awarded to personnel of the Armed Forces of the United States and of the Government of the Commonwealth Philippines and personnel of the armed forces of friendly foreign nations who distinguished themselves by exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services. The Legion of Merit was established by Congress on July 20, 1942. (U.S. Air Force graphic)
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The Legion of Merit, the first United States decoration created specifically for award to citizens of other nations, was established by an Act of Congress of July 20, 1942, amended by an executive order of March 15, 1955.

It is conferred on officers and enlisted men of the armed forces of the United States and on nationals of other countries "who shall have distinguished themselves by exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services" since Sept. 8, 1939, the date of the president's proclamation of the state of emergency that led to World War II. The Legion of Merit may be awarded for combat or noncombat services; in the case of American military personnel, if the award is for combat service it is shown by the wearing of a combat "V" device.

The Legion of Merit was originally ranked directly below the Distinguished Service Medal in the Navy's pyramid of honor. This was changed by Navy Directive Number 49 of Jan. 28, 1946, which placed the Legion of Merit immediately below the Silver Star, thus making it the Navy's fifth ranking decoration.

The Legion of Merit is also the first award to have different degrees. If a holder of the Legion of Merit in one degree is subsequently given another such award, it is never in a degree lower than the original one. The degrees of chief commander and commander are conferred on members of foreign governments only and are awarded for services comparable to those for which the Distinguished Service Medal is given to members of the United States armed forces.

Authorized device: Oak leaf cluster and "V" device

Weighted Airman Promotion System Point Value: 7

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