Established on May 10, 1944, the Merchant Marine Mediterranean-Middle East War Zone Medal honors Merchant Marine mariners who carried out service on vessels under the operation of the War Shipping Administration within the Arabian, Mediterranean, or Red Seas or the western portion of the Indian Ocean. Eligible dates range from December 7, 1941 to November 8, 1945. The award was originally issued as a ribbon only, with the medal added in 1992.
The Merchant Marine consists of civilian mariners who operate privately and federally owned vessels; in wartime, these vessels may be called to provide transportation or other support for military troops or supplies.
The medal features a shield and anchor as well as palms encircled by an inscription reading “MEDITERRANEAN-MIDDLE EAST WAR ZONE MEDAL.” The ribbon is bisected by a thin vertical white stripe flanked on either side by a thin green stripe, a thicker yellow stripe, and a thin stripe each of red, white, and blue proceeding outward.