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Legion of Merit
Legionnaire of the Legion of Merit.jpg
Awarded by United States Department of Defense
Type Military medal (Decoration)
Awarded for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements
Status Currently awarded
Post-nominals LOM
First awarded 1942
Next (higher) Defense Superior Service Medal
Next (lower) Distinguished Flying Cross
Legion of Merit ribbon.svg
Legion of Merit ribbon

The Legion of Merit (LOM) is a military award of the United States Armed Forces that is given for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements. The decoration is issued both to United States military personnel and to military and political figures of foreign governments.

The Legion of Merit (Commander degree) is one of only two United States military decorations to be issued as a neck order (the other being the Medal of Honor) and the only United States decoration which may be issued in award degrees (much like an order of chivalry or certain Orders of Merit).[1][2]

The Legion of Merit is sixth in the order of precedence of U.S. Military awards and is worn after the Defense Superior Service Medal and before the Distinguished Flying Cross. In contemporary use in the U.S. Armed Forces, the Legion of Merit is typically awarded to Army, Marine Corps, and Air Force general officers and colonels, and Navy and Coast Guard flag officers and captains occupying command or very senior staff positions in their respective services. It may also be awarded to officers of lesser rank and to very senior enlisted personnel, but these instances are less frequent and circumstances vary by branch of service. As such, the medal can be considered as "points" in some enlisted promotion systems, such as the Air Force, where it is counted as seven points (out of a possible 25 points for decorations).[3] However, since the rare enlisted recipients are typically at the pinnacle of the enlisted pay grades (i.e., E-9), the utility of such points is marginal.


  • The degrees of Chief Commander, Commander, Officer, and Legionnaire are awarded only to members of armed forces of foreign nations under the criteria outlined in Army Regulation 672-7 and is based on the relative rank or position of the recipient as follows:[4]
  1. Chief Commander: Head of state or government. However this degree was awarded by President Roosevelt to some Allied World War II theater commanders usually for joint amphibious landings or invasions. (The President had this power under Executive Order 9260 of October 29, 1942 paragraph 3b.[5])
  2. Commander: Equivalent of a U.S. military chief of staff or higher position, but not to a head of state.
  3. Officer: General or flag officer below the equivalent of a U.S. military chief of staff; colonel or equivalent rank for service in assignments equivalent to those normally held by a general or flag officer in U.S. military service; or military attachés.
  4. Legionnaire: All recipients not included above.
  • When the Legion of Merit is awarded to members of the Armed Forces of the United States it is awarded without reference to degree. The criteria are "for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievements"; additional awards of the Legion of Merit are denoted by oak leaf clusters (in the Army and Air Force), and by 516 inch stars (in the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard). The sea services (i.e., the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard) may also authorize the Combat "V" for wear on the Legion of Merit, while the Army and Air Force do not authorize the "V" device.
  • The performance must have been such as to merit recognition of key individuals for service rendered in a clearly exceptional manner.
  • Performance of duties normal to the grade, branch, specialty or assignment, and experience of an individual is not an adequate basis for this award.
  • For service not related to actual war the term "key individual" applies to a narrower range of positions than in time of war and requires evidence of significant achievement.
  • In peacetime, service should be in the nature of a special requirement or of an extremely difficult duty performed in an unprecedented and clearly exceptional manner.
  • However, justification of the award may accrue by virtue of exceptionally meritorious service in a succession of important positions.

The degrees and the design of the decoration were clearly influenced by the French Legion of Honor (Légion d'honneur).


Although recommendations for creation of a Meritorious Service Medal were initiated as early as September 1937, no formal action was taken toward approval.

In a letter to the Quartermaster General (QMG) dated December 24, 1941, the Adjutant General formally requested action be initiated to create a Meritorious Service Medal and provide designs in the event the decoration was established. Proposed designs prepared by Bailey, Banks, and Biddle and the Office of the Quartermaster General were provided to Assistant Chief of Staff (G1) (Colonel Heard) by the QMG on January 5, 1942.

The Assistant Chief of Staff (G1) (BG Hilldring), in a response to the QMG on April 3, 1942, indicated the Secretary of War approved the design recommended by the QMG. The design of the Legion of Merit (change of name) would be ready for issue immediately after legislation authorizing it was enacted into law. (A separate Meritorius Service Medal was established in 1969.)

An Act of Congress (Public Law 671—77th Congress, Chapter 508, 2d Session) on July 20, 1942, established the Legion of Merit and provided that the medal "shall have suitable appurtenances and devices and not more than four degrees, and which the President, under such rules and regulations as he shall prescribe, may award to

(a) personnel of the Armed Forces of the United States and of the Government of the Commonwealth Philippines and
(b) personnel of the armed forces of friendly foreign nations who, since the proclamation of an emergency by the President on 1939-09-08, shall have distinguished themselves by exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services."

The medal was announced in War Department Bulletin No. 40, dated August 5, 1942. Executive Order 9260, dated October 29, 1942, by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, established the rules for the Legion of Merit and required the President's approval for the award. However, in 1943, at the request of General George C. Marshall, approval authority for U.S. personnel was delegated to the War Department.

Executive Order 10600, dated March 15, 1955, by President Dwight D. Eisenhower, revised approval authority. Current provisions are contained in Title 10, United States Code 1121.

The reverse of the medal has the motto taken from the Great Seal of the United States, "ANNUIT COEPTIS" ("He [God] Has Favored Our Undertakings") and the date "MDCCLXXXII" (1782) which is the date of America's first decoration, the Badge of Military Merit, now known as the Purple Heart. The ribbon design also follows the pattern of the Purple Heart ribbon.


Chief Commander Commander Officer Legionnaire
Us legion of merit chief commander.png
US Legion of Merit Commander.png
Us legion of merit officer.png
Us legion of merit legionnaire.png
US Legion of Merit Chief Commander ribbon.png
US Legion of Merit Commander ribbon.png
Us legion of merit officer rib.png
Us legion of merit rib.png
  • The Chief Commander Degree of the Legion of Merit Medal is, on a wreath of green laurel joined at the bottom by a gold bow-knot (rosette), a domed five-pointed white star bordered crimson, points reversed with v-shaped extremities tipped with a gold ball. In the center, a blue disk encircled by gold clouds, with 13 white stars arranged in the pattern that appears on the Great Seal of the United States. Between each point, within the wreath are crossed arrows pointing outwards. The overall width is 2 1516 inches (75 mm). The words "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA" are engraved in the center of the reverse. A miniature of the decoration in gold on a horizontal gold bar is worn on the service ribbon.
  • The Commander Degree of the Legion of Merit Medal is, on a wreath of green laurel joined at the bottom by a gold bow-knot (rosette), a five-pointed white star bordered crimson, points reversed with v-shaped extremities tipped with a gold ball. In the center, a blue disk encircled by gold clouds, with 13 white stars arranged in the pattern that appears on the Great Seal of the United States. Between each star point, within the wreath, are crossed arrows pointing outwards. The overall width is 2 14 inches (57 mm). A gold laurel wreath in the v-shaped angle at the top connects an oval suspension ring to the neck ribbon that is 1 1516 inches (49 mm) in width. The reverse of the five-pointed star is enameled in white, and the border is crimson. In the center, a disk for engraving the name of the recipient surrounded by the words "ANNUIT COEPTIS MDCCLXXXII." An outer scroll contains the words "UNITED STATES OF AMERICA." A miniature of the decoration in silver on a horizontal silver bar is worn on the service ribbon.
The neck ribbon for the degree of Commander is 1 1516 inches (49 mm) wide and consists of the following stripes: 116 inch (1.6 mm) white 67101; center 1 1316 inches (46 mm) crimson and 116 inch (1.6 mm) white.
  • The Officer Degree of the Legion of Merit Medal is similar to the degree of Commander except the overall width is 1 78 inches (48 mm) and the pendant has a suspension ring instead of the wreath for attaching the ribbon. A gold replica of the medal, 34 inch (19 mm) wide, is centered on the suspension ribbon.
  • The Legionnaire Degree of the Legion of Merit Medal and the Legion of Merit Medal issued to U.S. personnel is the same as the degree of Officer, except the suspension ribbon does not have the medal replica.
The ribbon for all of the decorations is 1 38 inches (35 mm) wide and consists of the following stripes: 116 inch (1.6 mm) white; center 1 14 inches (32 mm) crimson; and 116 inch (1.6 mm) white. The reverse of all of the medals has the motto taken from the Great Seal of the United States "ANNUIT COEPTIS" (He (God) Has Favored Our Undertakings) and the date "MDCCLXXXII" (1782), which is the date of America's first decoration, the Badge of Military Merit, now known as the Purple Heart. The ribbon design also follows the pattern of the Purple Heart ribbon.

Notable recipients

Chief Commander

Nationality Rank Name Force Date Comments
United Kingdom Lieutenant-General Kenneth A.N. Anderson, CB, MC British Army June 18, 1943
Taiwan Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek Chinese Armed Forces July 1943
Taiwan Lieutenant-General Tai An-lan Chinese Armed Forces 1943 In command of 200th Division, Chinese Expeditionary Force (Burma). KIA on May 26, 1942 in Burma.
United Kingdom Field Marshal Bernard Law Montgomery, KCB, DSO British Army August 6, 1943 General at the time
United Kingdom Temporary Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Tedder, GCB Royal Air Force August 27, 1943
Soviet Union Marshal of the Soviet Union Aleksandr Mikhajlovich Vasilevskij Soviet Army June 22, 1944
Soviet Union Chief Marshal Of Aviation Aleksandr Aleksandrovich Novikov Soviet Air Force June 22, 1944
United Kingdom Rear-Admiral Sir Victor Crutchley VC, KCB, DSC Royal Australian Naval Squadron September 1944 For exceptionally meritorious conduct 1942–44 in command of Task Force 44 in the Pacific.
United Kingdom Air Marshal Arthur Harris, OBE, AFC Royal Air Force October 17, 1944 Known as "Bomber" Harris; because of moral qualms, he was the only major British commander not to receive a peerage[6] after World War II. He instituted "area bombing"[7] of German cities.
United Kingdom King George VI Commonwealth armed forces 1945
United Kingdom Air Chief Marshal William Sholto Douglas, GCB, MC, DFC Royal Air Force 28 August 1945 made Commander of the Legion 28 July 1944
United Kingdom Admiral of the Fleet Sir Andrew Browne Cunningham Bt, GCB, DSO** Royal Navy First Sea Lord
United Kingdom Admiral Sir John Henry Dacres Cunningham KCB Royal Navy For gallant and distinguished service during the invasion operations in Northern Italy and the South of France.
United Kingdom Admiral Sir Bertram Ramsay KCB, KBE, MVO Royal Navy January 15, 1945 For gallant and distinguished service whilst in command of the invasion operations on Normandy.
United Kingdom Acting Air Marshal Sir Arthur Coningham KCB, DSO, MC, DFC, AFC Royal Air Force
Iraq Commander-In-Chief Crown Prince 'Abd al-Ilah Iraqi Armed Forces June 1, 1945
United Kingdom Vice Admiral Sir Philip Vian KBE, CMG Royal Navy July 17, 1945
Soviet Union Marshal of the Soviet Union Georgy Zhukov Soviet Army 1945
Soviet Union Marshal of the Soviet Union Ivan Stepanovich Konev Soviet Army 1945
Soviet Union Marshal of the Soviet Union Leonid Aleksandrovich Govorov Soviet Army
Soviet Union Army General Stanislav Giljarovich Poplavskij Soviet Army
Soviet Union Marshal of the Soviet Union Kirill Afanasievich Meretskov Soviet Army
Soviet Union Marshal of the Soviet Union Konstantin Konstantinovich Rokossovskij Soviet Army
Soviet Union General Andrey Ivanovich Yeryomenko Soviet Army
Netherlands General
Lieutenant admiral
Bernhard of Lippe-Biesterfeld Netherlands Armed Forces Was a General in the Royal Netherlands Army, Royal Netherlands East Indies Army and the Royal Netherlands Air Force and was a Lieutenant admiral in the Royal Netherlands Navy. Appointed a Honorary Air commodore in the Royal Air Force in 1941 and later appointed to the honorary rank of Air marshal by Queen Elizabeth II on 15 September 1964.[8] Was also a Honorary Air commodore in the Royal New Zealand Air Force since 1948.
Romania King Michael I of Romania Romanian Armed Forces 1945 "Rendered exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service to the cause of the Allied Nations in the struggle against Hitlerite Germany. In July and August, 1944, his Nation, under the dominance of a dictatorial regime over which the King had no control, have allied herself with the Germany aggressors, he, King Mihai I, succeeded in giving purpose, direction and inspiration to the theretofore uncoordinated internal forces of opposition to the ruling dictator.

In culmination of his efforts, on 23 August 1944, although his capitol was still dominated by Germany troops, he personally, on his own initiative, and in complete disregard for his own safety, gave the signal for a coup d'etat by ordering his palace guards to arrest the dictator and his chief ministers. "[9]

France Brigadier general Charles de Gaulle French Armed Forces August 24, 1945
Ethiopia Emperor Haile Selassie Ethiopian Armed Forces 1945
United Kingdom Vice Admiral Sir Geoffrey Blake KCB, DSO Royal Navy November 6, 1945
Norway Chief of Defence of Norway Crown Prince Olav Norwegian Armed Forces November 23, 1945 "exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services from August 1944 to July 1945."
Poland Marshal Michał Rola-Żymierski Polish Armed Forces 1945
Saudi Arabia King Abdulaziz bin Abdur Rahman Al Saud Saudi Arabian Armed Forces February 18, 1947
Mexico President Miguel Alemán Valdés Mexican Armed Forces May 1, 1947
Iran Shah Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi Iranian Armed Forces October 7, 1947
Kingdom of Yugoslavia General Dragoljub Mihailović Yugoslav Royal Army March 29, 1948 "General Mihailovich and his forces, although lacking adequate supplies, and fighting under extreme hardships, contributed materially to the allied cause, and were instrumental in obtaining a final Allied Victory." Recommended by Dwight D. Eisenhower. The award was kept secret until 1966.
United Kingdom Field Marshal Sir William Slim, GBE, KCB, DSO, MC, ADC British Army 1948
Australia Prime Minister The Rt Hon Sir Robert Menzies, KT, AK, CH, QC Australian Armed Forces
India Field Marshal Kodandera Madappa Cariappa Indian Army 1950
Greece King Paul I Greek Armed Forces October 28, 1953
Turkey President Celâl Bayar Turkish Armed Forces January 27, 1954
Thailand Field Marshal Luang Plaek Pibulsonggram Thai Royal Army May 2, 1955
India General Satyawant Mallana Srinagesh Indian Army 1955 [10]
Thailand King Bhumibol Adulyadej (Rama IX) Thai Armed Forces June 28, 1960
South Korea General Kim Yong-Bae Republic Of Korea Army February 14, 1968 For service April 1965 to March 1966. The initial award of Commander degree was revoked and replaced with Chief Commander.
South Korea Minister of National Defense Kim Sung-Eun Republic Of Korea December 9, 1968 For service March 1963 to June 1966.
India Admiral Jal Cursetji Indian Navy 1978 [11]
Turkey President Kenan Evren Turkish Armed Forces June 27, 1988
Germany General Wolfgang Schneiderhan Bundeswehr
Turkey General Hilmi Özkök Turkish Armed Forces 2002
Libya Major General Senussi Latewish Chief of staff of the Royal Libyan Army June 5, 1961 For Exceptionally Meritorious Conduct in the performance of outstanding services.
Pakistan Admiral Shahid Karimullah Pakistan Navy July 21, 2004 For his steadfast support of American-Pakistan cooperation in regional maritime, security affairs, demonstrated superb resolve and unwavering dedication to the Global War on terrorism
Pakistan Admiral Afzal Tahir Pakistan Navy January 23, 2006 Legion of Merit in recognition of his efforts in conducting maritime security operations and strengthening of cooperation between the two navies in the 5th Fleet area of responsibility.
Malaysia Admiral Mohammad Anwar Mohammad Nor Malaysian Armed Forces
Pakistan General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani Pakistani Army January 1, 2009
Iraq General Babaker Shawkat B. Zebari Iraqi Army January 7, 2010
Pakistan Admiral Noman Bashir Pakistan Navy March 18, 2010 For distinguished service and strengthening American-Pakistani relations. Also, for his role in establishing and strengthening the Pakistan Navy and U.S. Navy relations in Arabian sea.








Brazil Brigadier General Alexandre Zacharias de Assumpção Brazilian Army 1942 General of Brigade Alexandre Zacharias de Assumpcao, Brazilian Army, was cited for service as Commanding General of the 8th Military Region, Brazil. The 8th Military Region was headquartered in Belem, which was a major support base for US aircraft transiting to North Africa and the Mediterranean. The Army made 31 awards of the Legion of Merit, commander grade, to Brazilian officers during World War II.
Brazil Brigadier General Amaro Soares Bittencourt Brazilian Army 1942 First recipient of this medal in any degree.
Australia Rear Admiral Harold Farncomb, CB, DSO, MVO, RAN Royal Australian Navy 1942 Commanded various International military units.
United Kingdom Wing Commander Guy Penrose Gibson, VC, DSO & Bar, DFC & Bar Royal Air Force December 3, 1943[12] WWII leader of the Dams raid (Operation Chastise) in 1943.
France Brigadier General Paul Devinck French Army 1943
France Lieutenant General Louis Koeltz French Army 1943 Commander of XIXth Army Corps
France Brigadier General François Le Clercq French Army 1943
Poland Lieutenant General Władysław Anders 2nd Polish Corps August 1, 1944
France Major General Paul Bergeron French Army 1944
France General Etienne Beynet French Army 1944 Head of the French Military Mission to Washington
France General Georges Catroux French Army 1944 Governor General of French Algeria
France General (later maréchal de France) Jean de Lattre de Tassigny French Army 1944 Commander of the French Forces in Italy
France Lieutenant General Henry Martin French Army 1944 Commander of the French Forces in Corsica
France Brigadier General Louis Rivet French Army 1944 Former Head of French Military Intelligence
United Kingdom Air Marshal Sir Francis John Linnell KBE, CB Royal Air Force January 30, 1945[13] Deputy Commander-in-Chief (RAF MED ME) Mediterranean Allied Air Forces, 29 February 1944 – 29 June 1944. Awarded posthumously by Franklin D. Roosevelt.
United Kingdom Admiral Sir Gerald Charles Dickens KCVO, CB, CMG Royal Navy 1945 WWII Commander
United Kingdom Air Commodore Andrew James Wray Geddes DSO, OBE Royal Air Force 1945 Responsible for the planning of Operations Manna and Chowhound
New Zealand Lieutenant General Sir Bernard Cyril Freyberg, VC, KCB, KBE, CMG, DSO 2nd New Zealand Division, New Zealand Military Forces August 2, 1945
South Africa Major General William Henry Evered Poole, CB, CBE, DSO 6th South African Armored Division Unit is part of the 5th US Army during the Italian Campaign in World War II
Canada Major General Georges Vanier 1946 Canadian representative to the United Nations and Ambassador to France, later Governor General of Canada.
Canada Rear Admiral Leonard W. Murray Canadian Northwest Atlantic 1946 Architect of the Battle of the Atlantic.
New Zealand Air Chief Marshal Sir Keith Rodney Park Royal Air Force June 27, 1947 WWII commander during the Battle of Britain and later Allied Air Commander South East Asia
India General Rajendrasinhji Jadeja Indian Army 1946
Philippines General Alfredo M. Santos Armed Forces of the Philippines
Poland Lieutenant-General Stefan Grot-Rowecki Polish Armed Forces (Armia Krajowa) August 9, 1984 Awarded by Ronald Reagan posthumously forty years and one week after his death at the hands of the Gestapo.
Philippines General Fidel Ramos Armed Forces of the Philippines 1990
Bangladesh Brigadier General Sharif Uddin Ahmed Bangladesh Army March 30, 1990 The first Bangladeshi General to receive this award for his outstanding service as the Defense Attaché in the Bangladesh Embassy, United States from December 1985 to July 1989
France Lieutenant General (later General) Michel Roquejeoffre French Army July 14, 1991
United Kingdom General Sir Peter de la Billière KCB, KBE, DSO, MC & bar British Forces to the Middle East during Gulf War I July 14, 1991
Israel General Ehud Barak Israeli Defense Forces 1992 Later became Israeli Prime Minister from 1999 to 2001
Argentina Teniente General Martín Balza Argentine Army 1994 Chief of Argentine Armed Forces 1991 to 1999
Canada General Alfred John Gardyne Drummond de Chastelain, OC, CMM, CH, CD Canadian Forces 1995 In 1999, he was made a Companion of Honour by Queen Elizabeth II. He is the former Chief of the Defence Staff (Canada) for the Canadian Forces and he is the Chairman of the Independent International Commission on Decommissioning since November 1995 for the Northern Ireland Peace Process.
Colombia General I.M. Elias Nino Herrera Colombian Marine Corps For exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service as Commandant of the Colombian Marine Corps. General Nino's cooperation and understanding have been a significant contribution to the mutual friendship between Colombia and the United States.
United Kingdom General Michael John Dawson Walker, Baron Walker of Aldringham GCB, CMG, CBE, ADC, DL Implementation Force in Bosnia May 13, 1997[14] Former Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS) in the United Kingdom
Ecuador General de Ejército
(General of the Army)
Paco Moncayo Ecuadorian Armed Forces January 1998 For of his exceptionally superior performance as Chief of the Armed Forces Joint Command and his contribution to Ecuadorian history, politics and democracy.
Australia Vice Admiral Donald Chalmers, AO, RAN Royal Australian Navy 1998[15] Chief of Navy
Australia General Sir Phillip Bennett, AC, KBE, DSO, KStJ
John Baker, AC, DSM
Peter Cosgrove, AC, MC
Australian Defence Force Chiefs of the Defence Force
Germany General Adolf Heusinger
Klaus Naumann
Wolfgang Schneiderhan
France General Edgard de Larminat
Alain de Boissieu
Vincent Desportes
Jean-Louis Georgelin
Australia Vice Admiral David Shackleton, AO, RAN
Royal Australian Navy 2001 Chief of Navy
Malaysia General Md Hashim bin Hussein Royal Malaysia Army 2001 Chief of Army
Australia Vice Admiral Chris Ritchie, AO, RAN Royal Australian Navy Chief of Navy
Israel Major General Yedidiya Ya'ari Israeli Navy December 2003[16] Commander in Chief, Israel Navy
Canada Lieutenant General Charles Bouchard Deputy Commander NORAD 2004 Commander of NATO forces enforcing "No Fly Zone" Libya 2011
 Argentina Admiral Jorge Godoy Argentine Navy October 1, 2004 Chief of Staff, Argentine Navy
Japan General Yoshimitsu Tsumagari Japan Air Self-Defense Force October 19, 2004 Chief of Staff, Air Self Defense Force
Australia Lieutenant General Peter Leahy, AC
Ken Gillespie, AC, DSC, CSM
Australian Army 2004
Chief of Army
Bangladesh Lieutenant General Hasan Mashhud Chowdhury Bangladesh Army 2005 Former Chief of Army Staff (Bangladesh)
Turkey Commander-in-Chief Mehmet Yaşar Büyükanıt Turkish Armed Forces December 12, 2005
Italy Admiral Giampaolo Di Paola Italian Navy Incumbent Minister of Defence in the Monti Cabinet
Italy Lieutenant General Claudio Graziano Italian Army February 11, 2013 Chief of the General Staff of the Italian Army
Japan General Tadashi Yoshida Japan Air Self-Defense Force October 24, 2006 Chief of Staff, Air Self Defense Force
Russia Admiral of the Fleet Vladimir Vasilyevich Masorin Russian Navy August 24, 2007 The first Russian recipient for meritorious conduct of the Russian Federation Navy to increase cooperation and interoperability with the U.S. Navy and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization from September 2005 – August 2007.
Japan General Ryoichi Oriki Ground Self-Defense Force October 1, 2007 Chief of Staff
Poland General Franciszek Gągor Polish Armed Forces May 22, 2008 For exceptionally meritorious service as the Chief of Staff of the Polish Armed Forces from February 2006 to May 2008.
Israel Lieutenant General Hebrew: Rav Aluf Gabi Ashkenazi Israeli Defence Forces July 24, 2008 Chief of Staff - Israeli Defence Forces
South Africa Vice Admiral Refiloe Johannes Mudimu South African Navy 2008 For role in strengthening ties with US Navy[17]
Japan General Toshio Tamogami Air Self-Defense Force August 19, 2008 [18]
Sweden Supreme Commander of the Swedish Armed Forces Sverker Göranson Swedish Armed Forces 2010 For dedication and professionalism as supreme commander led the continuing transformation of the Swedish Armed Forces and the Swedish international operations.
Japan General Kenichiro Hokazono Japan Air Self-Defense Force January 22, 2010 Chief of Staff, Air Self Defense Force
Sri Lanka Major General Milinda Peiris RWP, RSP, USP Sri Lanka Army For service as military attaché to the Sri Lankan Embassy in the United States
South Africa General Godfrey Ngwenya South African Army 20 May 2010 for his leadership during a time of transition in the South African military and his country’s support of vital NATO peacekeeping operations in Sudan, Burundi and Congo
Australia Vice Admiral Russ Crane, AO, CSM, RAN Royal Australian Navy Chief of Navy
Japan General Yoshifumi Hibako Ground Self-Defense Force June 8, 2011 Chief of Staff
Austria General Edmund Entacher Austrian Armed Forces November 22, 2011[19] Chief of Staff
Israel Major General Ido Nehoshtan
Israeli Air Force 15 April 2012[20] Chief of IAF
Estonia General Ants Laaneots Estonian Defence Forces July 4, 2012 Former Commander-in-Chief
Australia Lieutenant General David Morrison, AO Australian Army 2012 Chief of Army
Australia General David Hurley, AC, DSC Australian Army 2012 Chief of the Defence Force
Canada Colonel Todd Balfe Royal Canadian Air Force June 5, 2012[21] For his exceptional devotion to duty, and his significant contributions both to the maintenance of North American air security as well as to the close relationship between United States and Canadian Forces in NORAD.
Hungary Colonel General Tibor Benkő Hungarian Ground Forces September 4, 2012[22] Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces
Jordan Brigadier General Abdulhalem k Mahafzah Jordanian Air Force 2005
Canada Vice Admiral Paul Maddison Royal Canadian Navy 26 April 2013 Commander of the Royal Canadian Navy
Australia Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, AO, CSC, RAN Royal Australian Navy May 2013 Chief of Navy


File:Movlid Visaitov, a Chechen colonel commander of 255th Separate Chechen-Ingush cavalry regiment.jpg

Movlid Visaitov, a Chechen colonel and a commander of 255th Separate Chechen–Ingush cavalry regiment, first to meet American forces on the Elbe river during World War II.

Ehud Barak, later Prime Minister of Israel, with the Legion of Merit in 1993

  • At the beginning of the North African campaign, General Lyman L. Lemnitzer accompanied General Mark Wayne Clark by submarine to North Africa. Upon arrival, about 60 officers were awarded the Legion of Merit and were among the first awarded the medal. By some misunderstanding as to the rules governing the awards, these 60 American officers were awarded the degree of Officer. According to Lemnitzer, President Roosevelt was quite annoyed but did not rescind the awards. These were the only U.S. officers (or service personnel of any rank) awarded the Legion of Merit with a degree.
  • In 1945, Colonel Movlid Visaitov, commander of the 255th Separate Chechen-Ingush Cavalry Regiment and the 28th Guards Regiment. Visaitov was the first Soviet officer to shake hands with General Bolling at the Elbe River.[23][24]
  • Group Captain Harry Day, senior Officer at numerous POW camps during World War II, and significantly helped American POWs endure the captivity, as well as organizing escape operations. He received the award on July 5, 1946.[25]
  • In 1946, Commodore Alfred Victor Knight of the Royal Australian Navy was awarded the commendation for honorary services. The citation described him as a 'forceful leader' who, by his 'splendid co-operation in the conduct of a vital training programme, aggressive determination and untiring energies ... contributed materially to combined large-scale operations'.[26]
  • In 1947, Colonel Valentine Patrick Terrel Vivian head of counter-espionage, Section V, and Vice-Chief of the S.I.S. or MI6. The citation reads, as deputy director of a special British agency in the European Theater of Operations from January 1943 to June 1945, rendered exceptionally devoted and meritorious service to the Allied armies, by American forces in a special province of military operations, and continuing it through the long period of preparation for the Normandy invasion and during the march into Germany, Colonel Vivian made an outstanding contribution to Allied military and to the enemy's defeat.[27][28]
  • In 1948, then Brigadier General John Frederick Boyce Combe was made an Officer of the Legion for his contribution "to the over-all success Allied forces in Italy" during World War II.[29]
  • In 1948, Air Chief Marshal Donald Perera VSV, USP Sri Lanka Air Force[30]
  • In 1952, then Commander Emilio S. Liwanag of the Philippine Navy was made an Officer of the Legion of Merit for services in the Philippine liaison office with the United Nations Command during the Korean War.[31]
  • In 1960 Major General Mian Hayaud Din was made an Officer of the Legion for his role as Chief of the Pakistan Military Mission to the United States from 1955 to 1960.[32]
  • In 1996, Lieutenant General Roméo Dallaire of the Canadian Army was made an Officer of the Legion for his role as Commander of the United Nations peacekeeping force in Rwanda during the civil war and subsequent genocide.[33]
  • in 18 December 1980 Major General Shlomo Inbar, Israel Army was made an Officer of the Legion of Merit for his exceptionally meritorious conduct in the outstanding performance of duties as Defense and Armed Forces Attache, Embassy of Israel to the United States of America, from July 1977 to August 1980.
  • In 1990, Colonel Stanisław Wożniak from Poland was made an Officer of the Legion of Merit for his exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services.[34]
  • In 2006, Lieutenant General Nick Houghton, British army, "in recognition of gallant and distinguished services during coalition operations in Iraq."[35]
  • Lieutenant General Tariq Khan became the fourth Pakistani officer to receive the award for meritorious services as a liaison officer at CENTCOM during Operations Enduring Freedom (December 9, 2007).
  • In 2008, Air Chief Marshal Sir Glenn Torpy Head of the Royal Air Force, for his part in Operation Telic / Operation Iraqi Freedom.[36]
  • Lieutenant General Sir James Dutton, Royal Marines, "in recognition of meritorious, gallant and distinguished services during coalition operations in Afghanistan".[37]
  • Major General Colin Boag, British Army, "in recognition of gallant and distinguished services during coalition operations in Iraq" (March 2008).[38]
  • Lieutenant General James Bucknall, British Army, "in recognition of gallant and distinguished services during coalition operations in Iraq" (July 2009).[39]
  • Major General Mohamed Elkeshky, Egyptian Army Defense, Military, Naval and Air Attaché to the United States. (2013)[citation needed]


When the Legion of Merit is awarded to members of the Armed Forces of the United States it is awarded without reference to degree. The medal and ribbon of this forth degree (Legionnaire) is used for such purpose though.[40]







United States Chief Warrant Officer 5 Richard L. Cordes United States Marine Corps December 4, 2020 Chief Warrant Officer 5 “Ditch” Cordes was awarded the Legion of Merit by the President of the United States for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding service as Bulk Fuel Occupational Field Manager for Logistics Division, Installations and Logistics Department, Headquarters, United States Marine Corps from March 2017 to March 2021.

During this period, through dynamic leadership, innovative resourcefulness, and remarkable technical competence, Chief Warrant Officer 5 Cordes conceived, developed and guided a myriad of fuels initiatives, many of which led to a markedly improved quality of life for Marines worldwide and produced a positive, far reaching impact on both operational and supporting establishment fuels functionality.

His aggressive efforts to upgrade Marine Corps fuels infrastructure garnered over 131 million dollars in Defense Logistics Agency energy military construction, sustainment, restoration, and modernization funding  for Marine Corps installations worldwide.

He coordinated the establishment of Marine Corps Installations Command Regional Fuel Officers, revised the Inspector General Marine Corps’ fuel installations inspection check list, and leveraged resources from Naval Supply Systems Command and Defense Logistics Agency to inspect each Marine Corps fuel installation within a three-year cycle. Chief Warrant Officer 5 Cordes’s superior performance  of duties culminated in his 28 years of honorable and dedicated military service. By his exceptional professionalism, initiative, and complete dedication to duty, Chief Warrant Officer 5 Cordes reflected great credit upon himself and upheld the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.


  1. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>"Legion of Merit". Awards. Institute of Heraldry. Retrieved April 26, 2010.
  2. "Types of the Medal of Honor: 1862 To Present." Congressional Medal of Honor Society. Retrieved: July 23, 2006.
  3. Air Force Personnel Center Legion of Merit
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  5. Executive Order 9260 of October 29, 1942
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