After the outbreak of the Mexican–American War (1846–1848) a Certificate of Merit (Meritorious Service Citation Certificate) was established by Act of Congress on March 3, 1847, "to any private soldier who had distinguished himself by gallantry performed in the presence of the enemy". 539 certificates were approved for this period. The certificate was discontinued after the war and reintroduced in 1876 effective from June 22, 1874, to February 10, 1892, when it was awarded for extraordinary gallantry by private soldiers in the presence of the enemy. From February 11, 1892, through July 9, 1918, (Certificate of Merit disestablished) it could be awarded to members of the Army for distinguished service in combat or noncombat; from January 11, 1905, through July 9, 1918, the certificate was granted medal status as the Certificate of Merit Medal (first awarded to a soldier who was awarded the Certificate of Merit for combat action on August 13, 1898). This medal was later replaced by the Army's Distinguished Service Medal, established on January 2, 1918; the Navy's Distinguished Service Medal was established in 1919. Those Army members who held the Distinguished Service Medal in place of the Certificate of Merit could apply for the Army Distinguished Service Cross (established 1918) effective March 5, 1934.
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