Air Medal, Ribbon, Miniature and
Display Recognition

Site Index

      • Example Display Recognition
      • Applicable Military Branches
      • Display Types
      • Issue Requirements
      • Issue Regulations
      • Who May Apply
      • Administration Processing and Delivery
      • How To Apply For This Display Recognition and/or Medal
      • Mailing Address
      • Questions?
      • Other Display Recognitions
      • Air Service Websites
      • Example Display Recognition:
        Actual Size: 8 1/2 x 11
        Displayed: Army.
        All Five Service Branches, Army, Coast Guard,
        Marine and Navy are Applicable.



        Military Branches

        All Military Service branches are applicable:
        Air Force, Army, Coast Guard, Marine Corps, Navy

        Who May Apply

        • Veteran recipients
        • Active Duty recipients
        • Family Members of recipients
        • Estate Inheritors

        Display Types

        You have four display types to choose from:
        Black & White (No Color)
        Heavy Bond Enclosure

        Heavy Bond Enclosure
        Colors: Regal, Black, Navy
        Trimmed in Appearance Gold

        Ready for Mantle or Shelf Display

        Issue Requirements
        You must submit the following:

      • An unaltered photocopy of your DD-214, WD AGO, NAVPERS, NG or other military issued document clearly displaying your award of the Air Medal.
      • NOTICE

        This Display Recognition is available ONLY to authorized recipients who possess orders, or authorization form, or release documentation that confirms award eligibility. (See "Issue Requirements"). To obtain either a Display Medal or a Display Recognition for your authorized award you will be required to provide military-issued documentation authorizing your award. There are no exceptions.

        WARNING!
        You must NOT submit a military issued document or photocopy that:

        • has been altered in any way by you after
          the original's official issue
        • contains information or corrections or
          additions that you entered
        • lists awards or training you knowingly did not receive
        • contains highlighting, colorizing or other markings you entered

        Be advised that on request any knowingly fraudulent document sent by you will be released to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) that may result in prosecution and/or fine/imprisonment.

        Email Questions, or Phone / Fax: 1-562-422-4100

        Personnel Branch
        Processing and Delivery

        Style Admin Shipping Total
        Full Color .PDF (Printable) $7.50 Emailed $7.50
        Published Document only (Full Color) $14.00 $8.35 $22.35
        Published Document in Heavy Bond Enclosure (Full Color) $19.00 $8.35 $27.35
        Full Color Printable Certificates
        on CD-Rom (minimum 20 Certificates)
        $7.50 $7.50 By Count

      • *** USPS Shipping fee based on 1-3 Certificates shipped to any U.S. state, FPO or APO
      • ** USPS Shipping fee based on 1-10 Certificates shipped to any U.S. state, FPO or APO
      • Contact The War Library for international shipping cost
      • How to Apply

        You may apply for your Display Recognition using a...

      • Check Debit card (* Shipped within 1 week)
      • Charge card (* Shipped within 1 week)
      • Personal, Business, Bank or Cashiers Check ( Shipped in 6 weeks)
      • Money Order (* Shipped within 1 week)
      • (* Upon reception of required documentation)

        Complete and MAIL this APPLICATION FORM.
        Don't forget to include an unaltered COPY of your DD-214, WD AGO 53-55 or other pre-arranged document(s).

        DISPLAY RECOGNITION and/or MEDAL APPLICATION FORM

        Mailing Address

        Records Chief (REC-AMW)
        The American War Library
        817 East Via Carmelitos Ste 319
        Long Beach CA 90805-7549

        Questions?

        Click here for answers to common questions

        Email: Air Medal Display Recognition Inquiry

        Telephone: 1-562-422-4100

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        Military and Veteran Websites
        The G.I. Photograph Museum of Honor
        Locator Registry Applications
        Accessing The Worldwide Military Personnel Database

        Issue Regulations
        Air Medal


        Click for larger image

        Established on May 11, 1942. The Air Medal is awarded to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who, subsequent to September 8, 1939, shall have distinguished himself by meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight. It was given for combat or non-combat action, and conferred in recognition of single acts of heroism or merit for operational activities against an armed enemy. Additionally, it is given for meritorious services, or for sustained distinction in the performance of duties involving regular and frequent participation in aerial flight.

        24. Air Medal

        A. Authorized by Executive Order 9158, as amended (reference (www)). b. Awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity with the Armed Forces of the United States, subsequent to September 8, 1939, distinguishes himself or herself by heroic or meritorious achievement while participating in an aerial flight.

        c. Subsequent to April 1974 the letter "V" may be authorized by the Navy and Marine corps.

        This award, established on May 11, 1942, by Executive Order 9158 and amended by Executive Order 9242-A, on Sept. 11, 1942, is given to any person who, while serving with the armed forces of the United States in any capacity subsequent to Sept. 8, 1939, shall have distinguished him or herself by meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight. It is given for combat or non-combat action, and conferred in recognition of single acts of heroism or merit for operational activities against an armed enemy, or for meritorious services, or for sustained distinction in performance of duties involving regular and frequent participation in aerial flight. This decoration is the same for all branches of the Armed Forces of the United States.

        The ribbon has a broad stripe of ultramarine blue in the center flanked on either side by a wide stripe of golden orange, and with a narrow stripe of ultramarine blue at the edge. The original colors of the Army Air Corps.

        1. Description: A bronze compass rose 1 11/16 inches circumscribing diameter and charged with an eagle volant carrying two lightning flashes in its talons. A fleur-de-lis at the top point holds the suspension ring. The points of the compass rose on the reverse are modeled with the central portion plain for engraving the name of the recipient.

        2. Ribbon: The ribbon is 1 3/8 inches wide and consists of the following stripes: 1/8 inch ultramarine blue 67118; < inch golden orange 67109; center 5/8 inch ultramarine blue; < inch golden orange; and 1/8 inch ultramarine blue.

        3. Criteria: The Air Medal is awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity in or with the armed forces of the United States, shall have distinguished himself by meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight. Awards may be made to recognize single acts of merit or heroism or for meritorious service. Award of the Air Medal is primarily intended to recognize those personnel who are on current crew member or non-crew member flying status which requires them to participate in aerial flight on a regular and frequent basis in the performance of their primary duties. However, it may also be awarded to certain other individuals whose combat duties require regular and frequent flying in other than a passenger status or individuals who perform a particularly noteworthy act while performing the function of a crew member but who are not on flying status. These individuals must make a discernible contribution to the operational land combat mission or to the mission of the aircraft in flight. Examples of personnel whose combat duties require them to fly include those in the attack elements of units involved in air-land assaults against an armed enemy and those directly involved in airborne command and control of combat operations. Involvement in such activities, normally at the brigade/group level and below, serves only to establish eligibility for award of the Air Medal; the degree of heroism, meritorious achievement or exemplary service determines who should receive the award. Awards will not be made to individuals who use air transportation solely for the purpose of moving from point to point in a combat zone.

        4. Components: The following are authorized components of the Air Medal and the applicable specifications for each:

        a. Decoration (regular size): MIL-D-3943/23. NSN for decoration set is 8455-00-269-5747. For display medal NSN 8455-00-246-3837.

        b. Decoration (miniature size): MIL-D-3943/23. NSN 8455-00-996-5002.

        c. Ribbon: MIL-R-11589/7. NSN 8455-00-252-9963.

        d. Lapel Button: MIL-L-11484/17. NSN 8455-00-257-4308.

        5. Background: a. In a letter from the Secretary of War to the Director, Bureau of Budget, dated 9 March 1942, the Secretary submitted a proposed executive order establishing the Air Medal for award to any person who, while serving in any capacity of the Army of the United States, distinguishes himself by meritorious achievement while participating in an aerial flight The Secretary of War, in his request, stated "The Distinguished Flying Cross is available only for heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight. It is desired not to cheapen the Distinguished Flying Cross by awarding it for achievement not bordering on the heroic. It is, however, important to reward personnel for meritorious service."

        b. The Air Medal was authorized by President Roosevelt by Executive Order 9158, dated 11 May 1942, and established the award for "any person who, while serving in any capacity in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps or Coast Guard of the United States subsequent to September 8, 1939, distinguishes, or has distinguished, himself by meritorious achievement while participating in an aerial flight." Authorization was announced in War Department Bulletin No. 25, dated 25 May 1942. Executive Order 9242-A, dated 11 September 1942 amended the previous Executive Order to read "in any capacity in or with the Army".

        c. In July 1942, the Office of The Quartermaster General (OQMG), forwarded a letter to twenty-two artists offering an opportunity to submit designs for consideration. The design selected was submitted by Walker Hancock and approved by the Secretary of War on 31 December 1942. The designer, Walker Hancock, had been inducted into the Army and assigned to Camp Livingston, Louisiana. He was ordered to temporary duty effective 16 November 1942 to G1 War Department to work on the medal. The Chief of Staff approved the ribbon design prepared by OQMG on 26 August 1942.

        d. Oak leaf clusters were initially used to denote subsequent awards of the Air Medal. The number of additional awards were so great that the oak leaf clusters did not fit on the ribbon. As a result, the policy was changed in September 1968 to require the use of numbers to indicate subsequent awards of the Air Medal.

        e. The Air Medal may be awarded for service during peacetime; however, approval authority for peacetime awards is not delegated to field commanders.

        f. Order of precedence and wear of decorations is contained in Army Regulation (AR) 670-1. Policy for awards, approving authority, supply, and issue of decorations is contained in AR 600-8-22.

        The Air Medal was established by Executive Order 9158 signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on May 11, 1942.

        Effective Dates

        The Air Medal is retroactive to September 8, 1939.

        Criteria

        The Air Medal may be awarded to individuals who, while serving in any capacity with the Armed Forces, distinguish themselves by heroism, outstanding achievement, or by meritorious service while participating in aerial flight, but not of a degree that would justify an award of the Distinguished Flying Cross.

        Order of Precedence

        The Air Medal is worn after the Bronze Star Medal and before Joint Service Commendation Medal. For Air Force personnel it is worn before the Aerial Achievement Medal.

        Devices

        Army

        Bronze "V" Device

        The Bronze "V" device was authorized for wear on Air Medals awarded for acts of heroism involving conflict with an armed enemy, effective February 29, 1964.

        Numerals

        Arabic numerals three-sixteenths of an inch high are used in lieu of a second and succeeding awards of the Air Medal.

        Navy and Marine Corps

        Gold and Silver Stars (five-sixteenths of an inch in diameter)

        Stars are worn to denote subsequent awards of the Air Medal as individual awards based on heroic or meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight. Gold stars are used for the second through the fifth, seventh through tenth awards, and so on. Silver stars are used in lieu of five gold stars, and denote the sixth and eleventh (and so on) awards.

        Strike/Flight Numerals

        Second and subsequent awards Strike/ Flight Air Medals are denoted by Arabic numerals five-sixteenths of an inch in height. Strike/flight awards are made for meritorious achievement while participating in sustained aerial fight operations, and the Arabic numerals denote the total number of Strike/Flight awards. Only personnel under flight orders are eligible to receive the strike/flight award of an Air Medal. Officers in the rank of captain (or colonel in the Marine Corps) are not eligible for award of the Air Medal on a strike/flight basis unless the sorties they fly are required in the performance of their regular duties.

        Strikes are sorties that deliver ordnance against the enemy, land or evacuate personnel in an assault, or in which personnel are engaged in search and rescue operations. The distinguishing feature of a strike is that it encounters enemy opposition.

        Flights are sorties that deliver ordnance against the enemy, land or evacuate personnel in an assault, or in which personnel are engaged in search and rescue operations. The distinguishing feature of a flight is that although it takes place in a nominally hostile environment, it does not encounter enemy opposition.

        Combat Distinguishing Device

        The Combat Distinguishing Device has been authorized for use with the Air Medal effective April 5, 1974.

        Air Force

        Additional awards are denoted by Oak Leaf Clusters. The Air Force does not use Strike/Flight Numerals.

        Coast Guard

        Subsequent awards of the Air Medal are denoted by wearing gold and silver stars five-sixteenths of an inch in diameter. Second and subsequent awards are denoted by a gold star, and five gold stars are denoted by a silver star.

        Designer/Sculptor

        The Air Medal was designed and sculpted by Walker Hancock.

        First Recipient

        The first recipient of the Air Medal was not recorded.

        Description and Symbolism

        Obverse

        The obverse is a bronze compass rose of sixteen points and is one and eleven sixteenths inches in circumscribing diameter. The compass rose is suspended by a fleur-de-lis. In the center of the obverse there is an eagle volant, swooping downward and carrying a lighting bolt in each talon.

        The compass rose reflects the global capacity of American air power, represented by the American bald eagle. The lightning bolts in the eagle's talons allude to the ability of the United States to wage war from the air. The Fleur-de-lis, the French symbol of nobility, represents the high ideals of American airmen.

        Reverse

        The points of the compass rose on the reverse are modeled with the central portion plain for inscribing the recipient's name.

        Ribbon

        The ribbon is predominantly ultramarine blue with two orange-gold stripes just inside each edge and were selected because they were the colors of the Army Air Force.

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