The Distinguished Unit Citation was established as a result of Executive Order No. 9075, dated 26 February 1942. The Secretary of War was given the authority to issue citations in the name of the President of the United States to Army units for extraordinary performance of duty after 7 December 1941. The Office of the Quartermaster General approved the design sent to them by the G1 on 30 May 1942.
On 3 November 1966, the Distinguished Unit Citation was renamed the Presidential Unit Citation (Army) per DF, DCSPER.
The citation emblem is worn by all members of an organization which has been cited. It is considered to be an individual decoration for those that were in connection with the actions cited and may be worn if they continue as a member of the organization or not. Other personnel may wear the citation during their time of serving to confirm that the unit has been awarded the Presidential Unit Citation.
The order of precedence and wear policy for unit awards receiving the citation is contained in Army Regulation (AR) 670-1. Policy for awards, approving authority, and supply of the unit award emblem is found in AR 600-8-22. The policy for display of unit awards on guidons and flags and supply of streamers is found in AR 840-10.