Obverse: In the center of a bronze hexagon, 1-3/8 inches wide, there is an eagle with horizontally displayed wings bearing on its breast a shield paly of thirteen pieces and a chief. The eagle holds three arrows in its talons. The eagle is taken from the Seal of the Department of Defense, and the shield on the eagle's breast is from the Great Seal of the United States.
Reverse: In the center of the bronze hexagon, there is a plaque for engraving the recipient's name. Above the plaque, in two lines, the inscription in raised letters, “FOR MILITARY,” and below the plaque, “MERIT.” Below the word MERIT, there is a spray of laurel, representing achievement.