Until 1981 the accomplishments of joint activities could only be recognized by unit awards of the separate services. However, because each service had different requirements for its own unit awards, it became necessary for the Department of Defense to create its own unit award to recognize outstanding performance by joint activities. As a result, the Joint Meritorious Unit Award was established. < p>The Joint Meritorious Unit Award is the only ribbon award granted by the Department of Defense (as opposed to those given by the separate services) and is the organizational equivalent of the Defense Superior Service Medal. In fact, their respective ribbons are nearly identical (the Joint Meritorious Unit Award is enclosed within a gold frame). The Joint Meritorious Unit Award is worn after the Presidential Unit Citations of the Army, Navy and Air Force but before any lesser unit awards of those services. It comes in two formats: a large size consistent with Army unit awards, and a smaller size consistent with Navy and Air Force unit awards. Additional awards for all services are denoted by oak leaf clusters.
It is only awarded to joint units or activities (a Department of Defense activity consisting of elements of more than none military service). To qualify, the joint activity must either report through Unified, Combined, or Specified Command channels or pursue a joint mission under the cognizance of the Secretary of Defense; the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; the commander of a Unified, Specified or Combined Command that is also a joint command; or the Secretary of a military department that has been designated the Executive Agent for the Secretary of Defense. The first organization to receive the Joint Meritorious Unit Award was the Electronic Warfare During Close Air Support Joint Test Force for the inclusive dates of Mary 15, 1976 to September 30, 1982.
JOINT MERITORIOUS UNIT AWARD
The Joint Meritorious Unit Award was established on June 4, 1981, by Secretary of Defense Caspar W. Weinberger and was implemented by Department of Defense Directive 1348.27 dated July 22, 1982 (as amended).
The Joint Meritorious Unit Award was made retroactive to January 23, 1979.
The Joint Meritorious Unit Award is presented in the name of the Secretary of Defense to Joint Activities of the Department of Defense for meritorious achievement or service, superior to that which is normally expected, under one of the following conditions:
The Joint Meritorious Unit Award is worn after the Presidential Unit Citation. For the Army, it is worn before the Valorous Unit Award; for the Navy and Marine Corps it is worn before the Navy Unit Commendation; for the Air Force it is worn before the Air Force Outstanding Unit Award; and, for the Coast Guard it is worn before the Department of Transportation Outstanding Unit Award.
Additional awards of the Joint Meritorious Unit Award are denoted by oak leaf clusters.
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