Awards and decorations of the United States Air Force

Awards and decorations of the United States Air Force are military decorations which are issued by the Department of the Air Force to Air Force service members and members of other military branches serving under Air Force commands. Of all five branches of the United States Armed Forces, the United States Air Force and the United States Coast Guard currently maintain the highest number of active awards and decorations (while the Air Force has more ribbons, the Coast Guard has more medals).

United States Air Force awards were first created in 1947. At that time, Air Force members were eligible to receive most U.S. Army decorations and Air Force veterans of World War II were entitled to continue displaying World War II campaign medals.

In 1962, following the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Air Force began a concentrated effort to create its own array of awards and Air Force members could no longer receive decorations of the United States Army as a matter of course. By the end of the Vietnam War, most of the modern day Air Force decorations had been established and Air Force members were also entitled to receive and wear all inter-service decorations.See also interservice Air Medal-which ranks above Aerial Achievement Medal

By the start of the 21st century, the Air Force had created several new ribbons as well as an Air Force specific campaign medal known as the Air and Space Campaign Medal. Since then, members of other military branches have been known to comment upon the high amount of awards and decorations that the Air Force bestows and some Air Force awards (such as the Air Force Training Ribbon) are not permitted for wear on United States Navy, Coast Guard, and Marine Corps uniforms due to the awards having no equivalent in the sea services. As of 2006 the United States Air Force no longer issues the Good Conduct Medal that is still issued by other branches of the United States Armed Forces; however, previously issued medals are still commonly seen on the uniforms of service members. [cite web|url=http://www.af.mil/news/story.asp?storyID=123016465|title=Good Conduct Medal award elimination explained|accessdate=2006-12-21]

Air Force members are also eligible to receive approved foreign awards and international decorations. The currently issued active Air Force decorations are as follows: [cite web|url=http://www.af.mil/shared/media/photodb/photos/070126-F-0000Z-100.jpg|title=Airmen to see combat medal in April|accessdate=2007-03-14]

Military awards

Air Force meritorious medals

Air Force service medals

Air Force service ribbons

Civilian awards

* Air Force Decoration for Exceptional Civilian Service - similar to the military Distinguished Service Medal. A gold-colored medal bearing the Air Force coat of arms with a wreath of laurel leaves. Ribbon is dark-blue silk with three dotted golden-orange lines in the center.

* Air Force Valor Award - similar to the Airman's Medal. Gold-colored medal design bearing the Air Force thunderbolt on an equilateral triangle surmounted by the Air Force eagle perched on a scroll inscribed "Valor" within an olive wreath. Ribbon is light blue with four yellow stripes, two dark blue stripes, and one red stripe in the center.

* Air Force Outstanding Civilian Career Service Award - similar to the military Legion of Merit. Bronze medal bearing the Air Force coat of arms with a wreath of laurel leaves. Ribbon is white trimmed in maroon with three maroon stripes in the center.

* Air Force Meritorious Civilian Service Award - similar to the military Meritorious Service Medal. Sterling silver medal and lapel emblem bearing the Air Force coat of arms with a wreath of laurel leaves. Emblem with ruby indicates receipt of more than one Meritorious Civilian Service Award.

* Air Force Command Award for Valor - similar to the military Meritorious Service Medal when awarded for heroism. Sterling silver medal of the same design as the "Air Force Valor Award". Ribbon is light-blue silk with four yellow stripes and one red stripe in the center.

* Air Force Exemplary Civilian Service Award - similar to the military Commendation Medal

Public service awards

* Air Force Scroll of Appreciation (or Air Force Scroll of Honor) - For meritorious achievement or service that are completely voluntary and performed as a public service or patriotic in nature.

* Air Force Exceptional Service Award - A gold-colored medal bearing the Air Force coat of arms with a wreath of laurel leaves. Ribbon is dark-blue silk with three dotted golden-orange lines in the center.

Notes


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