Established on November 1, 1972, the Iowa National Guard Medal of Merit honors Iowa National Guard members who demonstrate outstanding service or accomplishment or acts of heroism on or after January 1, 1965 so as to distinguish themselves from their peers.
The Iowa National Guard is composed of the Iowa Army National Guard and the Iowa Air National Guard. The Army component is based in Johnston and traces its roots back to militia activity in 1838. Also headquartered in Johnston, the Air component was founded on September 18, 1847, when the United States Air Force was established as a distinct branch of the military.
The ribbon is bisected by a thin vertical red stripe; proceeding outward, it features stripes of yellow, dark blue (thin) and dark blue (thick) each separated by a thin vertical white stripe.