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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
Sackton, Frank J.00-00-1912  
Samarel, Isaac 05-04-1946 
Sanchez, Henry Gabriel29-12-190700-00-1978more 
Sarnoski, Joseph Raymond30-01-191516-06-1943more 
Sautter, Fred C.   
Sawicz, Tadeusz13-02-191419-10-2011more 
Saxce, de, Arnaud Charles Marie10-08-191910-04-1945more 
Schimmelpfennig, Irving R. 04-02-1945 
Schinz, Albert W.27-02-191918-01-1985more 
Schmidt, Joseph01-12-1918 more 
Schneider, Mathias G. (USAF)13-05-192024-07-1974more 
Schneider, Tony Frederic (USN)11-11-191716-10-2010more 
Schreiber, Leroy A.13-12-191715-04-1944more 
Schroder, Urban J. 10-02-1945 
Schroeder, Willer David10-03-1916  
Seaman, Allen Lang21-12-191601-05-1944 
Sears, Frank L.   
Segler, Thomas F., Jr.   
Self, Leroy L., Jr. 11-06-1943 
Sellers, Harold Eugene   
Shambarger, Walter Ghoras02-04-192207-07-1944 
Sharpton, Willie T. 27-08-1943 
Shattles, David Collier   
Shaw, Robert Wheeler 08-08-1945 
Sheldon, Stanley W. 06-08-1944 
Shepherd, Wendell H. 09-02-1945 
Shifflet, Fred Burnam (Jr.) 03-03-1943 
Shipley, Norman M.29-02-191630-03-1985 
Shomo, William Arthur "Bill"30-05-191825-06-1990more 
Shurtleff, Dwight K. 06-12-1944 
Shurtz, Guy Frelen30-03-192102-03-1945 
Sibbett, Frank T.31-10-192123-06-1944 
Sibert, Franklin Cummings03-01-189124-06-1980more 
Siegelman, Sanford A.   
Simonelli, George Joseph 12-11-2012 
Sims, Jack09-10-191014-04-1945 
Singer, Richard R.   
Sink, Robert Frederick "Uncle Bob"03-04-190513-12-1965more 
Sisley, John Franklin, Jr.26-07-191629-09-2002 
Slattery, William H. "Bill"05-03-191925-12-1943more 
Sleeth, William N. 09-02-1945 
Slingerland, Chester Arthur04-02-191623-03-1945more 
Sloan, William J.01-01-192130-01-1999more 
Smart, James L. 04-06-1942 
Smith, Donald Eugene   
Smith, Earl W. 20-08-1943 
Smith, Herman L.   
Smith, Hubert D.00-00-192117-07-1942 
Smith, Jack E. 01-08-1943 
Smith, Kenneth Guy "Ken"08-06-191420-10-1947more 
Smith, Mack H.03-10-192101-08-1943 
Smith, Maynard Harrison, Sr.01-01-191111-05-1984 
Smith, Robert Arthur08-06-191614-06-1942 
Smith, Robert Eugene "Gene"26-02-191722-06-1944more 
Smith, Robert J. 16-11-1943 
Smith, Robert Tharp "Tadpole"23-02-191821-08-1995 
Snapp, Charles Bryant24-08-192105-06-1945 
Snelson, Jack S.   
Snider, Benjamin W.09-06-192205-08-1967more 
Spahr, Kimball22-09-1916 more 
Spencer Sr., Carl Lawrence   
Stack, John R. 27-11-1943 
Stadtherr, Nicholas G. "Nick"   
Stalnaker, Harold G.10-04-192323-12-1944 
Stanley, Lorne R.   
Stecker, Raymond James26-07-191019-12-1967 
Steele, Kay B.   
Steff, Eugène Paul Yvon00-00-190600-00-1951more 
Steinke, William W.00-00-192009-04-1944 
Stephansky, Richard16-06-192428-12-1981more 
Sterrie, Norman Anderson  more 
Stevenson, Charles W.22-06-192119-09-1944 
Stewart, Adna S. (Jr.)   
Stewart, James Maitland "Jimmy"20-05-190802-07-1997more 
Stiver, David S.16-08-192309-06-2005 
Stone, Frederick G.   
Stonebraker, William Harry20-10-192121-03-1968 
Stookey, Donald L. 05-03-1944 
Stovall, William Howard, Jr. "Bud"00-03-192331-12-1944more 
Stratta, Maurice D.   
Sullivan, Edward J.14-01-1926 more 
Sutliff, Don L. 22-10-1944 
Swanson, Chandler Waterman28-03-191506-12-2003more 
Swanson, Hjalmar   
Swenson, Robert S. "Bob"   
Swett, James Elms15-06-192018-01-2009more 
Swing, Joseph May28-02-189409-12-1984more 
Swisher, Oliver Lee05-03-1923 more 
Sykora, Roy J. 06-01-1944 
Sykora, Rudolph16-11-192222-12-2008more 
Synar, Stanley T.12-03-191830-04-1998 

Sources