[Update 29Jul15: The new AR covering 600-8-22 changed this up, and now you DO need either 500 hours of service or service over 3 years. Total bummer, really)
The Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal (MOVSM) is one of those unique awards that a soldier can get to build their rack outside of the usual suspects (AAMs, ARCOMs, NCOPD ribbons, etc.). Although it doesn’t require anything particularly heroic (Silver Star) or unusual (Prisoner of War Medal), I’d say it’s a pretty rare award to get. I don’t think I’ve actually every seen someone with one.
That said, I’ve heard it talked about a lot.
Especially at FRG meetings.
In those meetings, someone will usually remind soldiers to “log their hours” to get to a grand total of 100 hours so that they can be recommended for the MOVSM.
You do not need to rack up 100 hours of volunteer work to be recommended for the medal. In fact, there is no set requirement for how much volunteer work must be accomplished in order to get the award.
Let’s go to the doctrine:
From 600-8-22 Military Awards:
It’s clear that the award is intended to be presented to recognize volunteer service over an extended period of time, not a flash in the pan act of altruism. It is at the approval authority’s discretion as to what measure of service meets the criteria for this award, but there is absolutely no target mark that signifies meeting the minimum requirement for the award.