Found out this week that the 3rd Personnel Command, the unit that my unit (the 437th PSD) was attached to during my last mobilization and deployment was awarded the Army Meritorious Unit Commendation (MUC) this past spring. It only took the Army four years to get that done after we got back and the only reason I found out was that I saw somebody wearing it in a picture on FaceBook. Oh well, not that it makes a big impact on my life right now being out of the military but I will eventually pick one up and throw it on the “old” green Class A jacket in the back of my closet so that when I kick the bucket the family can throw me in it for the funeral.
Of the 5 currently authorized unit awards the MUC ranks 4th in prestige, sitting below the Presidential Unit Citation (PUC), the Joint Meritorious Unit Award (JMUA) and the Valorous Unit Award (VUA). The only unit award it outranks is the Army Superior Unit Award ASUA). Along with the PUA and the VUA it does require that the service that the unit renders be in support of an operation against an enemy in combat, although combat itself is not a direct requirement to receive it, which is good because only a small percentage of my unit actually saw any bang-bang going on in our tour overseas.
With unit awards in the Army, the unit the award is give to is permanently authorized to wear the award by individuals assigned to that unit whether they were with it when it was awarded or not. Therefore in the 148th Infantry we wore the Philippine Presidential Unit Citation in the 1990’s although none of us had been involved in the 1945 invasion of Manila. This applies to other awards as well. Many troops in the 82nd Airborne look like they are ready to rappel with the Belgian Fourragere they wear from WW1 still…just in case you were wondering a fourragere is a colored rope worn off the uniform jacket and under the arm.
Fourragere insanity going on here…although as old as this guy was in the pic he may have actually earned a few of those..good for you doc.
For the members of the unit that were actually in it during the period of contributing service that the award or citation is given, it becomes a permanent part of their military record and can be worn for the remainder of their career wherever they go, just like individual awards. Especially since the first Gulf War it has not been unusual to see soldiers in a unit with varying types of unit awards on their uniforms for this reason. It was not uncommon, especially in the guard, to see individuals that had been in the Navy or Air Force wearing unit awards on the left side of their uniform (which is where the Army wears individual awards). The big one I always noticed was the Navy “E” award which was the size of a normal ribbon to begin with. The “E” (Efficiency?) award was given to a ship that had performed to a high degree during an operational deployment and had passed certain criteria.
Anyway, I am glad that on at least one level someone, somewhere was impressed by the amount of work our unit did while deployed.