By granting its Meritorious Service Medal, the United States Armed Forces honors select servicemen and servicewomen such as United States Air Force Chaplain and Lieutenant Colonel Father Thomas Maikowski. Since the medal’s introduction in January 1969, outstanding members of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard, including Father Maikowski, have received this distinction, in recognition of their outstanding noncombat military accomplishments. Designed by the Institute of Heraldry at the behest of President Lyndon B. Johnson, this bronze medal features images of an eagle standing upon laurel branches in front of a star, symbolizing the honor of serving the nation with excellence.
Alongside Father Thomas Maikowski, high-profile members of the U.S. military, including Corporal Pat Tillman, General Norman Schwarzkopf, Jr., Captain John McCain, and Major General Wendy M. Masiello, have all been recipients of this rare honor. Additionally, international military figures such as Australian Lieutenant General Brian Power, British General Sir Nick Parker, and French Divisional General Vincent Desportes have each been decorated with this award, in acknowledgment of their noncombat achievement on behalf of United States interests.