Initially established as a ribbon bar in 1964, the Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal took on its current medal form on May 1, 1973. It honors Reserve or National Guard personnel who complete three uninterrupted years of exemplary service without disciplinary action. Prior to July 1, 1972, the required term is four years.
The medal is bronze and features an eagle atop a disc with a five-pointed star. A scroll above the eagle reads “MERITORIOUS SERVICE,” and the words “AIR RESERVE” and “FORCES” appear on either side of the eagle. Thirteen rays extend out from the center of the medal. The reverse includes a space for engraving the name of the recipient and features a cloud and an image of the Air Force Coat of Arms. Inscriptions reading “EXEMPLARY BEHAVIOR,” “EFFICIENCY,” and “FIDELITY” appear around the outer edge.
The ribbon is light blue and features two darker blue vertical stripes toward the exterior which are bisected by thinner yellow stripes. A white vertical stripe appears outside of the darker blue stripe.
Subsequent awards may be indicated by oak leaf clusters.