NGAUS created the Meritorious Service Award in 1972 based upon a perceived need for an additional Association award that would specifically recognize individuals for significant contributions to the United States Government, the Armed Forces of the United States or NGAUS.

Any member of the National Guard, NGAUS or the Armed Forces of the United States, or any civilian assigned to a National Guard Bureau or state headquarters is eligible to receive the Meritorious Service Award.

This award is a walnut plaque that has the NGAUS seal engraved in it. Beneath the NGAUS seal is the inscription “Meritorious Service Award” with an area provided for the recipient's name to be inscribed.

An individual must have accomplished an outstanding achievement on behalf of the National Guard or NGAUS. Superior performance by an individual must have been such as to clearly identify them as having played a key role in the accomplishment for which the award is to be given. Superior performance of duties normal to the grade, branch, specialty or assignment and experience of an individual are not considered adequate for this award. A single accomplishment may be considered as qualification for this award if it is of sufficient significance and magnitude. Particular considerations will be given to those individuals who have contributed outstanding service on a sustained basis. Personal dedication and self-sacrifice also will be regarded as factors deserving consideration.

Nomination and Selection Procedures
Any member of the Awards Committee, the Board of Directors or an elected officer of NGAUS, state association President or Adjutants General may nominate an individual to receive this award. An individual may not receive more than one Meritorious Service Award. More than one award may be given in a calendar year. By action of the Board of Directors, exceptions may be made to the restriction that an individual may not receive more than one.

The Meritorious Service Certificate
Individuals who demonstrate outstanding performance or achievement, but whose contributions in the opinion of the Awards Committee does not warrant presentation of the Meritorious Service Award, may be awarded the Meritorious Service Certificate in lieu thereof. The certificate includes a citation recognizing outstanding performance or achievement and will be forwarded to the state Adjutant General or state association for presentation at the state and/or local level at an appropriate occasion.