The Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal was established by Executive Order 12830, dated 9 January 1993. A proposed design, prepared by The Institute of Heraldry, was submitted to the Office of the Secretary of Defense on 12 April 1993. The design was approved by the Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for Military Manpower and Personnel Policy on 15 Jun 1993.
The interlaced annulets emphasize the interaction of the military services with the civilian community and symbolize continuity and cooperation. The star commemorates outstanding service; the wreath of laurel denotes honor and achievement. Oak is symbolic of strength and potential. Medium blue is the color traditionally associated with the Department of Defense. Gold is for excellence and green alludes to the nurturing of life and growth.