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The Aerial Achievement Medal
is a decoration of the United States Air Force
The United States Air Force is the aerial warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the American uniformed services. Initially part of the United States Army, the USAF was formed as a separate branch of the military on September 18, 1947 under the National Security Act of...
which was first created in 1988. The decoration is intended to recognize the contributions of aircrew members who would, otherwise, not be qualified for the award of the Air Medal
The Air Medal is a military decoration of the United States. The award was created in 1942, and is awarded for meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight.-Criteria:...
The decoration is awarded in the name of the Secretary of the Air Force and is presented to members of the United States military or civilian personnel, while serving in a capacity with the U.S. Air Force, who distinguish themselves by sustained meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight. The achievements must be accomplished with distinction above and beyond that normally expected of professional airmen.
Operators of Unmanned aerial vehicle
An unmanned aerial vehicle , also known as a unmanned aircraft system , remotely piloted aircraft or unmanned aircraft, is a machine which functions either by the remote control of a navigator or pilot or autonomously, that is, as a self-directing entity...
s may receive the award. One was given in 1997 for successfully flying a disabled UAV back to its base. According to a report based on Air Force statistics, from January 2009 to mid-2010 3497 medals were granted to operators, while 1408 more were given to pilots.
The Aerial Achievement Medal may be approved by local commanders, however the missions for which the decoration is authorized must be approved by a Major Air Force Command.
Minimum requirements for an Aerial Achievement Medal are 20 flights of at least 2 hours with one flight per theater per day. For the basic Aerial Achievement medal, 14 flights may be used. However, if this is the case then 26 flights must be used for the first Oak Leaf Cluster
An oak leaf cluster is a common device which is placed on U.S. Army and Air Force awards and decorations to denote those who have received more than one bestowal of a particular decoration. The number of oak leaf clusters typically indicates the number of subsequent awards of the decoration...
Enlisted personnel receive three (3) promotion points per award.
The Aerial Achievement medal ribbon bears a strikingly similar resemblance to the Commonwealth Air Crew Europe Star
The Air Crew Europe Star was a campaign medal of the British Commonwealth, awarded for service in World War II. Specifically, the medal was awarded to Commonwealth aircrew who participated in operational flights over Europe, from UK bases....
, awarded to personnel of the Commonwealth air crew during 1939 to 1945 who participated in the Battle of Britain
The Battle of Britain is the name given to the World War II air campaign waged by the German Air Force against the United Kingdom during the summer and autumn of 1940...
, however, this medal was phased out, and later recipients were given a clasp for the Defence Medal.
- Combat Readiness Medal
The Combat Readiness Medal is an award of the United States Air Force which was first created in 1964. The original Combat Readiness Medal was an award senior to the Air Force Commendation Medal and was awarded for superior and meritorious duty to the United States Air Force...
- Awards and decorations of the United States military
Awards and decorations of the United States Military are military decorations which recognize service and personal accomplishments while a member of the United States armed forces...