The Naval Reserve Meritorious Service Medal was established when Secretary of the Navy Fred A. Korth approved National Naval Policy Board (1960) Report, promulgated by BUPERS Notice 1650 of June 25, 1962. Originally only a ribbon, the medal was authorized by Secretary of the Navy Paul H. Nitze on June 22, 1964.


The initial date for computation of service that could have been credited to this award was July 1, 1958. Between July 1, 1958 and January 1, 1996, the period of eligibility was four years; subsequent to January 1, 1996, the period of eligibility was three years. The medal was rendered obsolete by the Secretary of the Navy, as announced in ALNAV 025/14, which provided that effective January 1, 2014 Reserve personnel are eligible for the Navy Good Conduct Medal.


The Naval Reserve Meritorious Service Medal was intended to provide Naval Reservists an award which was equivalent to the Navy Good Conduct Medal.

The Naval Reserve Meritorious Service Medal was awarded on a selective basis to Navy Reservists who, during any three consecutive years subsequent to January 1, 1958, fulfilled with distinction the obligations of inactive reserve. These requirements included the following:
  • Performance of three periods of active duty of not less than twelve consecutive months each, unless any portion was waived by the Commander, Naval Reserve Force, or his delegated authority. Any combination of Annual Training (AT) or Active Duty for Special Work (ADSW) satisfied the annual requirement. AT completed prior to August 31, 1994, must have been for periods of not less than twelve consecutive days unless waived by competent authority for reasons not initiated by the individual reservist.

  • Attended a minimum of 90 percent of all scheduled drills each year prior to October 1, 1997, and a minimum of 85 percent thereafter, with an organized unit of the Naval Reserve, for three consecutive years (authorized equivalent instruction or duty could have been credited in lieu of drills). Assignment to records review of six months or less may have been counted towards eligibility for this award, provided the member maintained eligibility for a satisfactory year toward retirement, completing correspondence courses.

  • A period of eligibility interrupted for six months or more resulted in a new three-year period beginning with a date of return to drilling status.

  • When a member of the Naval Reserve was ordered to active duty, temporary active duty, or initial active duty for training, such periods were be credited toward fulfillment of the requirements under the following conditions:
  • The active duty consisted of at least thirty days;

  • The member must have earned some credit toward an award while in an inactive duty drilling status, except for personnel enlisted in reserve programs with no drilling obligation prior to reporting to active duty for Two Year General Detail (GENDET), Three Year Enlistment Apprenticeship, Sea/Air Mariner (SAM), or TAR Enlistment Progrmams (TEP). Personnel enlisted in these programs could receive credit towards the NRMSM for period of active duty or Active Duty for Training, provided such a period was for less than three years.

  • Upon completion of the three year eligibility requirement for the award while on continuous active duty, the membeer could not qualify for subsequent awards without returning to an inactive duty drill status. Continuous active duty could be applied toward award of the Navy Good Conduct Medal.

  • Active duty time credited toward the award of the Navy Good Conduct Medal could not be credited toward eligibility for the Naval Reserve Meritorious Service Medal. Active duty not credited toward the Navy Good Conduct Medal could be credited toward the NRMSM provided the member affiliated with the Selected Reserves within 90 days of discharge or release from active duty and met all other requirements for the Navy Good Conduct Medal.

  • A member must have had a clear record for the period of eligibility (no convictions by courts-martial or non-judicial punishment). If the service record contained a record of courts-martial or non-judicial punishment, the three year period began with the date of the completion of courts-martial sentence or non-judicial punishment.

  • No Enlisted Performance Evaluation mark below 2.0 in any trait subsequent to December 31, 1995, or below 3.0 in military knowledge/performance, rating knowledge/performance, reliability, military bearing, personal behavior, and directing between August 31 1983 and December 31, 1995 (or equivalent when other numerical values are assigned).

The Naval Reserve Meritorious Service Medal was worn after the Navy Reserve Special Commendation Ribbon and before the Fleet Marine Force ribbon.


Additional awards of the Naval Reserve Meritorious Service Medal were indicated by bronze stars three-sixteenths of an inch in diameter. A sixth award was denoted by a silver star of the same size; seventh and subsequent awards are centered on the ribbon outboard of the silver star.


The Naval Reserve Meritorious Service Medal was designed by the Institute of Heraldry Staff.



In the center of a bronze medallion one and three eighths inches in diameter, a fouled anchor is shown with a scroll around its shank. On the scroll, in two segments, are the words MERITORIOUS SERVICE in incised letters. Encircling the anchor and following the contour of the medal, the words UNITED STATES NAVAL RESERVE, appear in raised letters. The anchor represents the naval service and the character of the required service is reflected in the words on the scroll.


The reverse of the Naval Reserve Meritorious Service Medal is blank.


The ribbon is a slight modification of the ribbon for the obsolete Naval Reserve Medal (which was effectively replaced by the Armed Forces Reserve Medal). The only difference between this ribbon and that of the naval Reserve Medal is that this ribbon has a quarter inch wide stripe of dark blue in the center. The blue and gold pinstripes at the edge of the ribbon represent the Navy; the scarlet center stripe was adapted from the Navy Good Conduct Medal, and the blue center stripe was added to distinguished this ribbon from that of the Naval Reserve Medal.


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