The Coast Guard MUC was established in November 1973, and is awarded in the name of the Commandant of the Coast Guard. The MUC may be awarded to any unit of the Coast Guard that has distinguished itself by either valorous or meritorious achievement or service in support of Coast Guard operations not involving combat. The Commandant may also bestow the award upon a unit of another branch of the Armed Forces of the United States, provided the unit meets the standards established for Coast Guard units. To justify the award, the service performed as a unit must be comparable to that which would meet the award of a Coast Guard Achievement Medal (CGAM) to an individual. Normal performance of duty or participation in a large number of operational missions does not in itself justify the award. A Coast Guard MUC will not be awarded to a large unit for actions of one or more of its sub-units unless the entire unit performed as a team.[8]

The Coast Guard MUC is worn after the Coast Guard Unit Commendation and before the Coast Guard Meritorious Team Commendation. Additional awards of the Coast Guard MUC are denoted by 516 inch gold stars. The MUC may also be awarded with the Operational Distinguishing Device, denoted by a 14 inch silver letter “O” centered on the ribbon.