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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
Caflisch, Leonard Paul, Jr.27-04-192430-04-2012more 
Callahan, Robert E. "Bob"25-12-192001-04-2010more 
Campbell, Clayton J.14-03-191717-11-2002 
Campos de Medeiros, Joao Mauricio15-04-192102-01-1945 
Cane, John Eugene00-00-191617-07-1942 
Capron, Donald E. 06-11-1944 
Capron, Joseph R. 04-01-1946 
Cardiello, Cono B. 27-04-1945 
Carlisle, Joseph E.28-12-1920 more 
Carlson, Roland P.   
Carr, Reuben A.00-09-191615-05-1943 
Carroll, Basil   
Carswell, Horace Seaver "Stump" Jr.18-06-191626-10-1944more 
Carter, James R.   
Carter, Norman L. 12-09-1944 
Castagna, Consetto J.22-09-192127-07-1942 
Castle, Frederick Walker14-10-190824-12-1944more 
Cavenee, Ray E.   
Chapman, George Thomas "Chappie", Jr. 23-01-2016 
Chase, Herbert A. 16-03-1944 
Chavasse , Noel Willinc11-04-192000-00-1974more 
Cheli, Ralph29-10-191904-04-1944more 
Chennault, Claire Lee06-09-189327-07-1958more 
Chickering, Lester M.   
Chin, Arthur23-10-191303-09-1997 
Chiodo, Michael Angelo18-06-192129-04-1944 
Christian Jr, Thomas Jonathan Jackson19-11-191512-08-1944more 
Cirafice, Peter John22-10-191305-04-1945 
Clancy, Robert Lawrence19-06-192229-03-2004more 
Clark, George Pierce08-09-1915  
Clark, Harold W.19-11-192400-10-1979more 
Clark, James Duane08-02-191609-11-1944more 
Clarkson, Percy William09-12-189314-09-1962more 
Clemmens, John F.00-00-192020-01-1944 
Clift, Jack T.   
Clostermann, Pierre28-02-192122-03-2006more 
Codeglia, Laurence Robert  more 
Cohen, Maurice L. 15-12-1942 
Cole, James Gordon   
Cole, Robert W. 21-05-1943 
Coleman, Idus F. 18-10-1943 
Collins, Arthur S., Jr.06-08-191507-01-1984 
Collins, Clark 05-11-1943 
Collins, Jimmie D., III 21-06-1944 
Collins, William Neil27-09-192010-01-1984more 
Colvin, Roy B.   
Conley, Carl F. 22-04-1944 
Connor, John J. , Jr. 08-05-1944 
Connors, Raymond E. "Ray" 13-12-1943 
Conroy, Donald "The Great Santini"04-04-192109-05-1998more 
Conroy, Paul Francis  more 
Cooper, Claude H.   
Corcoran, Robert 02-03-1944 
Cosgrove, Robert Donald09-01-191922-03-2005more 
Cotter, Harry L. Jr.05-03-192122-05-2006more 
Covey, Barney Lev09-11-192402-07-1944 
Cox, Henry Oren, Jr.28-01-192116-09-1943 
Crawford, Charles E. 25-06-1943 
Crookston, John R. 24-08-1944 
Cross, Charles W. 29-02-1944 
Crumpler, Thomas P. 22-02-1944 
Cukovich, Emil G.   
Curry, Thomas Gordon13-06-191910-06-1943 
Cushing, Wilson J.06-09-192105-11-2009 

Sources