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There are many parallels between military service and volunteer work. Both of these endeavors are not only selfless, but also require an interest in connecting with other people and the willingness to go above and beyond. Like military service, the nature of volunteer work can vary. However, more often than not, those who choose to volunteer find themselves working with others, as part of a greater community. This, in turn, provides the irreplaceable benefit of allowing a person to be part of something greater than themselves.
Believe it or not, there are occasions where military service and volunteer work can cross paths and even overlap with one another. Many members of the military perform volunteer work in various capacities that supersede their inherent responsibilities as members of the Armed Forces. In order to recognize and pay tribute to this service, the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal (MOVSM) was created, designed, and originally issued in 1993.
While many service members are aware of the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, the same cannot be said for a fair amount of U.S. civilians. Moreover, while knowledge of the MOVSM isn’t common, an understanding of the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal requirements is even more difficult to come upon.
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If you’re interested in learning more information about the MOVSM along with its requirements and significance, then you’ve come to the right place.
Everything You Need to Know: Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal (MOVSM) and Its Requirements
Familiarizing yourself with the requirements of the MOVSM can never hurt. As a matter of fact, if you or someone you know is currently serving, this information can be especially valuable and beneficial. However, before understanding what it takes to become a recipient of this prestigious medal, you should first come to know what the MOVSM is all about.
What is the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal?
The honorable military award known as the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal came into inception via Executive Order from former President George H.W. Bush. This particular award is specifically designed to acknowledge and commemorate service members who choose to partake in volunteer service that goes beyond their obligations as military members.
The volunteer service in question must meet certain guidelines, though. In order to qualify for the MOVSM, members of the U.S. military must partake in volunteer work that directly aids civilian communities and is plentiful enough to generate results that are tangible. Moreover, MOVSM-worthy volunteer service requires a positive reflection on not only the military, but also the nation’s Department of Defense.
Due to the great potential for value in volunteer work, the service which the MOVSM acknowledges is broad. This allows servicemembers to partake in diverse volunteer activities which in turn pave the way to the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.
The MOVSM comes in the form of a bronze medal with a modest diameter of 1 ⅛ inches. On the medal is a five-pointed star with a laurel wreath around it. The reverse contains a three-leafed oak sprig and two acorns. Above this design reads the inscription, “OUTSTANDING VOLUNTEER SERVICE,” while the lower inscription reads, “UNITED STATES ARMED FORCES.”
What are the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal Requirements?
The MOVSM is a distinguished award and form of acknowledgement; therefore, it comes with certain requirements that must be achieved before a servicemember can earn this medal.
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Per the Code of Federal Regulations, volunteer service that qualifies for the MOVSM award must first be directed towards the civilian community, but also include the community of service members.
In addition to this volunteer work being vast in nature and supplying tangible outcomes, MOVSM-worthy service is mandated to adhere to a “direct” and “sustained” nature. Finally, the volunteer work of the servicemember is required to have a favorable reflection upon both the military and the Department of Defense, as previously noted.
Unlike many other military rewards, the MOVSM does not have a specific time requirement. Overall, this particular medal is designed to honor a pattern of consistent service which meets the aforementioned guidelines, rather than merely acknowledging one isolated act. It’s also important to understand that the MOVSM places a lot of focus on community work and the impacts that habitual volunteer service can have on communities as a collective.
In order for a servicemember to receive the MOVSM, approval authority from a commander ranking at Lieutenant Colonel or higher is necessary. Before this can happen, however, someone must recommend a servicemember for the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal.
After this recommendation has been given, the approval authority will then ensure that the military member has met all of the aforementioned requirements. In order for the commander to go through the necessary verification process, they will typically need paperwork to confirm the execution of volunteer service.
Some examples of appropriate documentation include written records of volunteer hours, times, and duties, certification and/or letters from overseers of volunteer activities, and additional records of volunteer service.
Why is the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal Valuable?
There’s no denying the value of the MOVSM; however, this value comes not just in earning the award, but also in the journey that leads a servicemember to eligibility for this medal.
Volunteer work inherently requires some degree of sacrifice and the willingness to place service above self. Military work, in and of itself, obviously comes with the same requirements; however, the MOVSM specifically focuses on volunteer work that impacts civilian communities.
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This can not only reap benefits for service members while they are deployed, but partaking in volunteer work with the civilian community also creates a connection with this group. Furthermore, the connection that comes from service of this nature can have a positive impact when military members complete their work and return back to the civilian world.
As servicemembers go through the process of earning the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, honorable ethics, such as bravery, loyalty, and commitment to a cause will be further ingrained in their character. Moreover, volunteer work creates an opportunity for ethics of this nature to hit home in a different way than they do via exclusive military service.
Learning about the logistics of requirements for the MOVSM is all well and good. If you or someone you know is presently serving and interested in earning this award, having as much information as possible will never steer you in the wrong direction.
If you have the privilege of knowing someone who has earned or is in the process of earning the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, speaking with this person can be incredibly helpful. You’ll not only get another perspective on the MOVSM requirements, but also the individual experiences of a service member who also does volunteer work.
No two paths to meeting the MOVSM requirements are precisely the same. The volunteer work that one servicemember does over a period of time and with the civilian community can often be very different from that of another servicemember. The good news is that the guidelines for earning this award are flexible enough to enforce certain stipulations, while still allowing servicemembers the opportunities to further learn and grow from volunteer work.
No matter who you are, where you are, or what you’re doing, there is always something new to be learned. Familiarizing oneself with the requirements, background, and significance of the Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal matters. This information can come in handy, not only for service members interested in receiving the MOVSM, but also for passing along to a friend, family member, or loved one.