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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
Macefield, James28-03-1920 more 
Macias, Oscar B. 10-06-1944 
Mackey, William H.   
MacNider, Hanford02-10-188918-02-1968more 
Magner, Francis J.00-00-191529-11-1943 
Mah Bon Quen, Albert20-11-192106-05-2005more 
Maliszewski, Edward P.13-10-191901-06-2004more 
Malone, James W. 13-04-1944 
Mancina, John00-00-191216-12-1943 
Manzer, Harry F.   
Marks, Charles R.   
Marks, Jack S.29-07-190917-07-1942 
Maroney, Henry Ralph04-07-191628-04-2007 
Marontate, William Pratt03-12-191915-01-1943more 
Martin, Robert C.  more 
Maschhoff, Jack30-08-1921  
Maxwell, Gene A.   
May, Marion B.15-07-192016-04-1944 
Mazza, Harold Ralph15-11-191224-06-1956more 
McAnsh, Andrew T.   
McCaffrey, Thomas M.   
McCampbell, David S. (USN)16-01-191030-06-1996more 
McCartney, Henry Allan "Hank"00-00-1918  
McClure, Warren H. 25-07-1943 
McClurkin, Joseph K. 29-04-1944 
McClusky, Clarence Wade, Jr. "Mac"01-06-190227-06-1976 
McCorkle, Earl L.   
McCutcheon, Keith Barr10-08-191513-07-1971more 
McDowell, Harold H.20-07-1924  
McFarland, Bruce   
McGaughey, Richard V.   
McGee, John Francis13-08-192118-03-2006more 
McGory, Thomas J. "Tommy"23-04-191526-06-2007 
McGuire, Edward T. "Ed" 02-08-1943 
McGuire, Thomas Buchanan, Jr. "Tommy"01-08-192007-01-1945more 
McKenzie, Daniel Murray22-12-192029-03-1943 
McLaughlin, Lachlan Douglas "Doug"00-00-192105-05-1996 
McNatt, Hoyt28-05-1920  
McNatt, Kenneth 04-09-2012more 
McNevin, John W. "Jack"23-08-192320-01-2016 
McNickle, Paul A. 29-04-2010 
McNutt, Robert L., Jr. 13-06-1943 
Mease, David Doyle   
Meharg, John R.08-11-191930-10-2010 
Meidinger, John Carold03-07-192118-03-1945 
Mellian, Antran   
Mendenhall, Dean02-09-191916-10-1942 
Menweg, Robert   
Merrick, Harold J.   
Mesropian, Leon M.   
Metz, John J. 07-06-1944 
Metz, Louis 03-03-1944 
Metz, Thomas P. 26-06-1945 
Metz, William 29-05-1945 
Meyer, John Charles03-04-191902-12-1975more 
Michael, Edward Stanley02-05-191810-05-1994more 
Michaud, Raymond L.18-12-191600-01-2001more 
Milani, Joseph Reno 00-08-2007 
Miller, Raymond A. "Ray"03-10-1922  
Millett, Lewis Lee, Sr. "Red"15-12-192014-11-2009more 
Mims, Hayden P. 02-11-2011more 
Minost, Lucien   
Mirsch, George Ernest "Bob"23-09-192009-09-1999more 
Mitchell, Ralph Johnson25-09-189131-05-1970more 
Mitts, Harold E.00-00-191517-07-1942 
Moan, Floyd Edward07-04-1915  
Mooney, Robert Carleton14-10-191901-08-1943 
Moore, Arthur Ross21-10-191826-09-1943 
Moore, John F. 30-01-1944 
Moore, Leslie B.   
Moore, Thomas J. 12-05-1944 
Moore, Vernon L. 04-04-1943 
Morgan, John Cary "Red"24-08-191417-01-1991more 
Morino, John W.28-03-1924  
Morris, Henry Grady (Sr.)26-01-191822-06-1944 
Morris, John Andrew14-12-191923-08-2008 
Morrow, Thomas Jefferson14-03-191807-10-1944 
Morton, William W. 00-03-1943 
Moura, Danilo Marques30-06-191614-05-1990 
Moura, Nero30-01-191017-12-1994more 
Mueger, Edward F.   
Mulvey, John Ralph (Jr.)08-03-192009-03-1990 
Munyon, Robert W.   
Murphy, John J.01-06-191529-06-1944 
Murphy, Joseph William01-06-1919 more 
Myers, Jennings L. 22-12-1943 

Sources