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 counties "who shall have distinguished themselves by exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services" since September 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." Authorized Device: Gold Star.
1. Gold Letter "V" for "Valor"
2. Gold Star for each additional award.