|Navy & Marine Corps Awards and Decorations|
Authorization. Executive Order 9158 of 11 May 1942, as amended by E.O. 9242-A of 11 September 1942.
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 on its own merits. The Air Medal may be awarded in two categories:
Strike. Those sorties which deliver ordnance against the enemy, land or evacuate personnel in assault or engage in search and rescue (SAR) operations which encounter enemy opposition.
Flight. Those sorties which deliver ordnance against the enemy, land or evacuate personnel in assault or engage in Search and Rescue operations which encounter no enemy opposition.
Direct Combat Support Mission. Those missions which include reconnaissance, target 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, or landing or evacuating personnel in assault or engaging in Search and Rescue (SAR) operations. However, those 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, target combat air patrol (TARCAP) and ECM aircraft that are endangered by anti-aircraft artillery (AAA) and surface to air missiles (SAMs). Administrative and logistical flights between established airbases or secure areas and/or ships are not considered qualifying as direct combat support sorties.
Modifications. 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.
Requirements. The award of the Air Medal on a strike/flight basis shall require 20 points.
*NOTE: (Time flown on 'missions' are not counted as 'hours')
Only personnel under flight orders are eligible to receive the strike/flight award of the Air Medal.
The individual award of an Air Medal, or other personal decoration for a particular sortie, should not preclude that sortie from counting toward eligibility for a strike/flight award of the Air Medal.
Officers of the rank of captain/colonel (O-6) or above shall not be eligible 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 award authority, shall be forwarded via the chain of command to SECNAV for approval.
Combat Distinguishing Device. The Combat Distinguishing Device may be authorized for single mission Air Medals for valor (heroism) after 4 April 1974.
Periods for Strike/Flight Air Medals. Only areas in which Strike Flight Air Medals could have been earned/awarded:
(Note: The operational commander receives specific delegated award authority from SECNAV. Specifications for each area of operations must be adhered to in addition to the basic guidance of this chapter. Local guidance must be consulted for clarifications.)