The Army Commendation Medal is a Bronze hexagon of 1 3/8 inches wide with one of the points of the hexagon situated upward. An American Bald eagle with wings outstretched horizontally clutching three crossed arrows and having a shield paly of thirteen sections and a chief is displayed on the hexagon. On the reverse side situated above a sprig of laurel, there is a namespace available between the words "For Military" and "Merit."
The Army Commendation Medal's ribbon is 1 3/8 inches wide. It has a total of 12 stripes. The first stripe is White and 3/32 inch, next is a stripe of Myrtle Green and 25/64 inch followed by stripes of 1/32 inch of White, 1/16 inch of Myrtle Green, 1/32 inch of White and 1/16 inch of Myrtle Green. The center stripe is 1/32 inch of White followed by 1/16 inch of Myrtle Green, 1/32 inch of White, 1/16 inch of Myrtle Green, 1/32 inch of White, 25/64 inch of Myrtle Green and lastly a stripe of 3/32 inch of White.
The Army Commendation Medal is awarded to any member, other than General Officers, of the Armed Forces that distinguishes himself or herself by heroism, meritorious achievement or meritorious service which are of a lesser degree than that required for the Bronze Star Medal. The act justifying the award may entail aerial flight, and it may be made noncombatant-related acts of heroism which do not meet the requirements for an award of the Soldier's Medal.
These acts must have been performed after 6 December 1941, while serving in any capacity with the Army. A member of the military service of a friendly foreign country who, after 1 June 1962, distinguishes himself/herself by an act of heroism, extraordinary achievement, or meritorious service if it has been of a joint benefit to both his/her nation and the United States may also be awarded the Army Commendation Medal.
It was suggested by the Personnel Division of the WDGAP on 5 November 1945, that a unique Commendation Ribbon be created to distinguish meritorious service in an area at an occasion for which the Bronze Star Medal may not be awarded. The Secretary of War approved the suggestion and War Department Circular 377; dated 18 December 1945 officially recognized the ribbon.
The circular sanctioned the Army Commendation Medal to be awarded to "members of the Armed Forces of the United States serving in any capacity with the Army for meritorious service rendered since 7 December 1941, not in sustained operational activities against an enemy nor in direct support of such operation (i.e., in areas and at times when the Bronze Star Medal may not be awarded because of its operational character"). Major Generals or commanders of any command, force or installation usually commanded by Major Generals were given the authority to award the Commendation Ribbon.
The D/PA, in a DF dated 29 April 1948 to the Quartermaster General, the Personnel & Admin. Division revealed that a medal pendant had been approved for the Commendation Ribbon by the Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of the Air Force. It was then asked that a projected design be made ready. On 8 July 1948 the Secretary of the Army and the Secretary of the Air Force both approved the design.
Department of the Army (DA) Circular 91 (AF Letter 35-25) dated 20 July 1949 publicized the Medal Pendant for the Commendation Ribbon. The Medal pendant was approved by the Secretary of the Navy on 20 March 1950 and permitted the use of the same medal with a different ribbon on 6 April 1950. The Commendation Ribbon with Medal Pendant was renamed to the Army Commendation Medal by DA General Order No. 10, dated 31 March 1960.
A note to the Secretary of Defense, dated 1 June 1962 by President Kennedy sanctioned the award of the Army Commendation Medal to a member of the military service of a friendly foreign country who, after 1 June 1962, distinguishes himself/herself by an act of heroism, extraordinary achievement, or meritorious service if it has been of a joint benefit to both his/her nation and the United States.