a. Authorization. E.O. 9158 of 11 May 1942, as amended by E.O. 9242-A of 11 September 1942.
b. Air Medal Eligibility Requirements. In adjudging the appropriate awards for the various members of a flight crew, the pilot responsible for flying the aircraft is sometimes eligible for a higher award than other members of the flight crew. However, in a two-seat aircraft where the pilot and crewmember constitute a team, and function as an integral part of the weapons system, both would generally be eligible for the same award. A crewmember other than the pilot should not be precluded from receiving a higher award if circumstances so indicate. Each case will be considered of its own merits. The Air Medal may be awarded in two categories:
(1) Air Medal Individual Award. Awarded to individuals who, while serving in any capacity with the Armed Forces of the United States, distinguish themselves by heroic or meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight, under flight orders. Gold Arabic numerals (5/16 inch) are worn to denote total number of Individual awards of the Air Medal. Numerals are positioned to the wearer's right on the ribbon bar and suspension ribbon. The Combat Distinguishing Device may be authorized for Individual Air Medals after 4 April 1974.
(2) Air Medal Strike/Flight Award. Awarded to individuals who, while serving in any capacity with the Armed Forces of the United States, distinguish themselves by meritorious achievement while participating in sustained aerial flight operations, under flight orders. Bronze Arabic numerals (5/16 inch) are worn to denote the total number of Strike/Flight awards. Numerals are positioned to the wearer's left on the ribbon bar and suspension ribbon. Strike/Flight awards may only be approved within the parameters (area, dates, etc.) established by SECNAV; delegated authority of this award is specific in nature and always in writing.
1 Strike. Those sorties that deliver ordnance against the enemy, insert or extract assault personnel, or engage in Search and Rescue (SAR) operations that encounter enemy opposition.
2 Flight. Those sorties that deliver ordnance against the &terny, insert or extract assault personnel, or engage in SAR operations that encounter no enemy opposition.
3 Direct Combat Support Mission. Those missions which may include reconnaissance, combat air patrol, electronic countermeasures (ECM) support, psychological warfare, patrol operations in support of coastal surveillance, etc., which do not necessarily involve delivery of ordnance against the enemy, inserting or extracting assault personnel, or
engaging in SAR operations. However, direct combat support missions that encounter enemy opposition equivalent to that encountered by a strike, should be considered as a strike sortie. Examples are photo reconnaissance, combat air patrol, and electronic counter-measures aircraft that are endangered by anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) or surface to air missiles (SAMs). Administrative and logistical flights between established airbases or secure areas and/or ships are not considered to be direct combat support sorties.
4 Awarding authorities are authorized to deviate from the above criteria, when appropriate, with due regard to hazard and exposure incurred in sustained aerial flight operations.
(b) Periods for Award of Strike/Flight Air Medals. Appendix D to this chapter lists the areas in which Strike/Flight Air Medals may be authorized.
(c) Requirements. The award of the Air Medal on a ~trike/Flight basis shall require 20 points.
1 10 strikes (1 strike = 2 points); or
2 20 flights (1 flight = 1 point); or
3 50 missions (1 mission = .4 points); or
4 250 flight hours in direct combat support missions that do not encounter enemy opposition (25 hours = 2 points) ; or
5 A combination of these, using the appropriate ratios, e . g . :
3 strikes = 6 points
8 flights = 8 points
*10 missions = 4 points
25 hours = 2 points
20 total points = 1 S/F AM
*Note: Time flown on 'missions' are not counted as 'hours'.
(d) Special Provisions
1 Only personnel participating in aerial flight, under competent flight orders, are eligible to receive the Strike/Flight award of the Air Medal. The Combat Distinguishing Device (Combat 'V") may not be authorized for Strike/Flight Air Medals.
2 Award of an Individual Air Medal, or other personal decoration for a particular sortie, does not preclude that sortie from counting toward eligibility for a Strike/Flight award of the Air Medal.
Officers of the rank of captain/colonel or above shall not beeligible for the award of the Air Medal on a Strike/Flight basis, unless the sorties involved were actually required in the performance of their regular duties. Recommendations involving officers in this category, regardless of the current extent of delegated awarding authority, shall be forwarded via the chain of command to SECNAV for approval.
Following are the geographic areas and time periods during which personnel may have been eligible to earn Strike/Flight awards of the Air Medal:
Vietnam 4 Jul 65 - 28 Mar 73
Grenada 23 Oct - 2 Nov 83
Lebanon 1 Oct 83 - 31 Oct 84
Libya Mar - Apr 86
Operation PRAYING MANTIS 18 - 19 Apr 88
Panama 20 Dec 89 - 31 Jan 90
Operation DESERT STORM 17 Jan- 28 Feb 91
Operation SOUTHERN WATCH Aug 92 - 18 Mar 03
Operation DENY FLIGHT 1 Jul 92 - 20 Dec 95
Operation JOINT ENDEAVOR 15 Dec 95 - 16 Dec 96
Kosovo 24 Mar 99 - TBD
Operation ENDURING FREEDOM 11 Sep 01 - TBD
Operation IRAQI FREEDOM 19 Mar 03 - TBD
Note: The operational commander receives specific delegated Air Medal (Strike/Flight) awarding authority from SECNAV. Specifications for each area of operations must be adhered to
Air Force: Bronze Oak Leaf, Silver Oak Leaf
Army:Bronze V, Bronze Numerals
Coast Guard: Gold Star, Silver Star, Bronze Numerals
Marine Corps: Gold Star, Silver Star, Bronze Star, Bronze V, Gold Numerals
Navy: Bronze Numerals, Gold Numerals, Bronze V