Established on May 10, 1944, the Merchant Marine Pacific War Zone Medal honors Merchant Marine mariners who carried out service on vessels under the operation of the War Shipping Administration within the Pacific War Zone, including the North and South Pacific and Indian Oceans. Eligible dates range from December 7, 1941 to March 2, 1946. 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 trident resting atop a bamboo branch superimposed over ocean waters. The ribbon is bisected by a thin vertical red stripe flanked on either side by one stripe each in white, blue, red, orange, and beige proceeding outward.