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Air Medal (AM)

The Air Medal was instituted on May 11th 1942. On March 9th 1942, the Secretary of War suggested to institute the Air Medal an 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”. Using the Distinguished Flying Cross for this purpose would have degraded that decoration. The original institutional text stated that the decoration was to be awarded to "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". On September 11th 1942 this “Executive Order was slightly changed with the words “in any capacity in or with the Army”.
The medal was designed by Walker Hancock, who was ordered to temporary duty to the G1 War Department on Camp Livingston, Louisiana, especially to work on the medal.

The Air Medal resembles a Bronze Compass Rose with sixteen points and decorated with a Fleur-de-lis at the top point which holds the suspension ring. On the obverse can be found a downward attacking “American Eagle”, clutching a lightning bolt in each talon. The reverse shows a blank raised disk that can bear the recipient’s name and rank.
The ribbon is ultramarine blue with two broad golden orange stripes from top to bottom.

The official criteria are:
- “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.”

Any further awarded Air Medal came in the form of an Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster (US Army, US Army Air Force), or Golden Star (US Navy, US Coast Guard and US Navy Marines Corps) that could be worn on the ribbon. Each fifth Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster or Golden Star was awarded as a Silver Oak Leave Cluster or Silver Star. The US Army and Navy also awarded a “V” pin (Valour Device) that denoted special acts for heroism involving aerial contact with an enemy force.

Abeles, Afred Beecher (USAF)* June 12th, 1923
† January 23rd, 1945

Abernathy, Alva Norman* June 7th, 1921
† December 25th, 2008

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Grid List
NameDate of birthDate of deathAwards
Bailey, Donald   
Bailey, John Russell00-00-192308-05-1944 
Baker, Addison Earl01-01-190701-08-1943 
Ballew, Oscar E.11-06-192305-05-1977 
Banas, George J.   
Banko, Stanley W. 27-11-1943 
Baran, Emil William   
Barber, Hugh Temple, Jr.28-09-191607-02-1975 
Barber, Rex T.   
Barnett, Marshall David, Jr.15-04-192225-10-1945 
Barrilleaux, Bernette G.   
Barry, John T. "Oh-Bear"24-11-192017-03-1945 
Barthes, August A.   
Bartosh, Walter Richard18-10-192004-02-2012more 
Beatty, Robert R.   
Bender, Max E.   
Benn, William Charles 22-05-2002more 
Bennett, Stanford L.   
Berryman, Richard C. 18-03-1945 
Beus, Raymon C.06-10-192211-01-1944 
Beverly, Kenneth W.27-11-192213-03-1945 
Bissell, John R.30-12-190724-03-1945 
Bissonnette, Alfred  more 
Bittles, William J.  more 
Blaine, Robert W.11-03-191608-03-1943 
Blakeslee, Donald James Matthew "Don"11-09-191703-09-2008more 
Blanchard, Theodore A. 22-12-1943 
Blauer, Dorsey A.   
Bloyd, Gerald H. 31-05-1942 
Bodien, Henry Erskine26-10-1916  
Boehm, Michael Albert 22-02-1944 
Bolling, Alexander Russell "Bud" Jr.11-09-192206-10-2011more 
Bomberger, George Kreider (USN)08-04-191728-07-2014 
Bong, Richard Ira24-09-192006-08-1945more 
Bono, John J.28-03-191613-09-1944 
Booth, Charles V.   
Bordas, de, Henri04-10-192122-10-2011more 
Borges, Peter N.06-03-1921  
Borgeson, Wesley C.   
Borofsky, Marshall P.18-12-192216-04-1944 
Borza, Herman T.   
Bos, Harvey 07-01-1945 
Bothwell, Lyman D.05-06-190424-04-1997 
Boyd, Robert H27-05-192223-03-1945 
Boye, Richard E. 25-08-1944 
Boyhan, Albert F.17-01-191908-02-1945 
Bradley, Mark Edward10-12-190722-05-0199more 
Brady, Glen20-01-192120-03-1943 
Brasseur, Jules J. "The Baron"31-01-191900-00-2004 
Brdeja, John E. 15-12-1942 
Brereton, Lewis Hyde21-06-189001-08-1967more 
Breshears, Kenneth Arthur01-11-192106-01-2003more 
Breslove, Joseph, Jr.  more 
Brethen, Richard H.   
Breunig, Wilbur W. 17-09-1943 
Brewer, Ronald S.01-12-192119-02-2009 
Brooks, Harold Francis   
Brooks, Ivan F.   
Brophy, James E. 26-07-1943 
Broussard, Eugene Gordon29-10-191527-08-1977 
Brown, Gordon Dale  more 
Brown, Richard K.   
Brown, Robert G.00-00-191917-07-1942 
Bruck, George F., Jr.   
Brunmier, Carland Edward13-05-191809-12-2009 
Bullard, Frank E. 03-11-1943 
Bunting, Henry Sharp 00-01-2004 
Burger, Robert Bernard18-01-192300-08-2009 
Burke, James Loyd09-11-191911-08-1943 
Burke, John E.04-12-191817-09-1944 
Burleigh, Lawrence C. 29-07-1944 
Burnett, Howard Reason05-06-191604-08-1944 
Burnett, Robert Wesley15-08-191520-12-1998 
Burton, Edgar W.  more 
Bush, George Herbert Walker12-06-192430-11-2018 
Butler, Robert Andrew17-06-191615-11-1957more 
Byers, Clovis Ethelbert05-11-189913-12-1973more 
Byron, Edward J. 01-05-1945more 
Byron, Richard C.  more 

Sources