This award was authorized by the Secretary of the Air Force on Oct. 20, 1980. It is awarded to Air Force personnel for outstanding achievement or meritorious service rendered specifically on behalf of the Air Force. It may also be awarded for acts of courage lesser than for award of the Air Force Commendation Medal (AFCM).
The distinctive outer border of this medal is composed of 11 cloudlike shapes, centered on the obverse a medallion portraying thunderbolts and wings, signifying striking power through aerospace, adapted from the Seal of the Air Force. This striking medal was designed by Capt. Robert C. Bonn, Jr., USAF. On the reverse of the medal in raised letters is the circular inscription, “Air Force Meritorious Achievement.”
The ribbon has three sets of four vertical stripes of ultramarine blue on a silver gray background.
Oak Leaf Cluster, Combat “C” and Remote “R” Devices
ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR COMBAT “C” DEVICE
The "C" device was established to distinguish an award earned for exceptionally meritorious service or achievement performed under combat conditions on or after Jan. 7, 2016 (this is not retroactive prior to this date).
The device is only authorized if the service or achievement was performed while the service member was personally exposed to hostile action or under significant risk of hostile action:
While engaged in action against an enemy of the United States
While engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or
While serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party
The use of the "C" device is determined solely on the specific circumstances under which the service or achievement was performed. The award is not determined by geographic location. The fact the service was performed in a combat zone, a combat zone tax exclusion area, or an area designated for imminent danger pay, hardship duty pay, or hostile fire pay is not sufficient to qualify for the "C" device. The service member must have been personally exposed to hostile action or under significant risk of hostile action.
Rank/Grade will not be a factor in determining whether the "C" device is warranted, nor will any quotas, official or unofficial, be established limiting the number of "C" devices authorized for a given combat engagement, a given operation, or cumulatively within a given expanse of area or time.
ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA FOR REMOTE “R” DEVICE
The "R" device was established to distinguish an award earned for direct hands-on employment of a weapon system that had a direct and immediate impact on a combat operation or other military operation (i.e. outcome of an engagement or specific effects on a target). Other military operations include Title 10, United States Code, support of non-Title 10 operations, and operations authorized by an approved execute order.
The action must have been performed through any domain and in circumstances that did not expose the individual to personal hostile action, or place him or her at significant risk of personal exposure to hostile action:
While engaged in military operations against an enemy of the United States; or
While engaged in military operations involving conflict against an opposing foreign force; or
While serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in military operations with an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party
Qualifying Career Fields
The "R" device may be awarded to Airmen who, during the period of the act, served in the remotely piloted aircraft; cyber; space; or Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance career fields on or after Jan. 7, 2016 (this is not retroactive prior to this date).
Basis for a Decoration
The "R" device is only authorized for a specific achievement (i.e. impact awards) and will not be authorized for sustained performance or service (i.e. end-of-tour, separation or retirement decorations)
Recognition for direct and immediate impact shall be based on the merit of the individual's actions, the basic criteria of the decoration, and the "R" device criteria
Performance of a normal duty or accumulation of minor acts will not justify the "R" device. The act must have been: performed in a manner significantly above that normally expected and sufficient to distinguish the individual above members performing similar acts
A decoration should only be recommended in cases where the event clearly merits special recognition of the action (i.e. achieving a strategic objective or saving of lives on the ground)
WEIGHTED AIRMAN PROMOTED SYSTEM POINT VALUE: 1