The Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medal may be awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity with the Navy or Marine Corps (including foreign military personnel), distinguishes himself/herself by heroic or meritorious achievement or service. To merit this award, the acts or services must be accomplished or performed in a manner above that normally expected and sufficient to distinguish the individual above those performing similar services as set forth in the following:
For Meritorious Achievement. Outstanding and worthy of special recognition, but not to the degree required for the Bronze Star Medal or Air Medal when combat is involved or the Meritorious Service Medal or Air Medal when combat is not involved. The achievement should be such as to constitute a definite contribution to the Naval Service, such as an invention, or improvement in design, procedure or organization.
For Meritorious Service. Outstanding and worthy of special recognition, but not to the degree required for the Bronze Star Medal or Air Medal when combat is involved or the Meritorious Service Medal or Air Medal when combat is not involved. The award may cover an extended period of time during which a higher award may have been recommended or received for specific act(s). The criteria, however, should not be the period of service involved, but rather the circumstances and conditions under which the service was performed. The performance should be well above that usually expected of an individual commensurate with his or her grade or rate, and above that degree of excellence which can be appropriately reflected in the individual's fitness report, performance evaluations or personnel records.
For Acts of Heroism. Worthy of special recognition, but not to the degree required for the Bronze Star Medal when combat is involved or the Navy and Marine Corps Medal when combat is not involved.
On 17 January 1991, the "V" (for valor) was authorized for wear on the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal. The "V" is authorized for wear if the award is for acts or services involving direct participation in combat operations. The Combat Distinguishing Device may only be worn if specifically authorized in the citation. Eligibility for the Combat Distinguishing Device shall be based solely on acts or services by individuals who are exposed to personal hazard due to direct hostile actions, and not upon the geographical area in which the acts or services are performed.
NAVSO 1650/11 (7-99), Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal Certificate, S/N 0104-LF-982-1800 (for issue only by those commanders with authority to award the medal)
Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal FSN 8455-00-680-0617
Ref: SECNAVINST 1650.1H, Navy and Marine Corps Awards Manual