The New York National Guard Meritorious Service Ribbon honors New York National Guard members who, subsequent to April 17, 1979, demonstrated exceptional service or heroism of a lesser nature than would warrant the Medal of Valor, typically involving risk of personal injury. The award may be granted in instances of individual acts of heroism or sustained exceptional service of six months or more.
Comprised of the New York Army National Guard and New York Air National Guard, the New York National Guard dates back to 1786 with the establishment of a militia following the British occupation of New York City. The New York Army National Guard was officially formed in 1906, and the Air Guard followed in 1917. The Army component numbers over 10,000 guardsmen, and the New York Air National Guard is the largest state Air Guard in the country at nearly 6,000.
The medal features the image of a ship encircled by a ring of blue and two stars at the bottom; the inscription reads “FOR MERITORIOUS SERVICE,” and the medal is joined to the ribbon by an eagle. The ribbon features a series of alternating thin vertical stripes in the center, six white and six blue; this section is flanked on each side by a thicker red stripe.
Additional awards may be indicated by the New York State Shield device in gold or silver.