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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

Grid List
NameDate of birthDate of deathAwards
Abbott, Earl L. "Abby"08-01-191924-01-1945more
Abeles, Afred Beecher (USAF)12-06-192323-01-1945
Abernathy, Alva Norman07-06-192125-12-2008more
Abernathy, Louis Martin (USN)20-03-192209-06-1996
Abernathy, Olen H. (USAF)13-11-192004-02-1996
Abjanich, Jack M.  
Ackerman, Harry (USAF)17-08-191913-04-2015more
Adams, Charles B. 05-06-1945
Adler, Philip M.00-00-1914 
Aho, Augustus07-10-192020-12-1943
Akin, John H.19-01-192209-05-1944
Akin, John Herbert (Sr.)00-00-191725-02-1945more
Akin, Spencer Bell13-02-188906-10-1973more
Aleman-Ramos, Hector E.29-04-193616-10-2021
Alexander, Bruce C.10-01-192206-12-1944
Alexander, Charles Reed13-01-191725-02-1944
Alford, William Leonard12-05-191913-07-1992
Allan, James D.00-00-192411-04-2012more
Alleckson, Theodore A.00-00-191717-07-1942
Alleman, Virgil Calvin (USAAF)28-10-191312-06-1942more
Alterio, Ernest09-06-191228-12-2003more
Altman, Fredric Gans10-02-191708-09-2002
Altman, Richard Gustaf28-08-192304-01-2009more
Ambrogi, Joseph Narciso, Jr.08-03-192011-11-1998
Anderson, Allan S. 19-03-1944
Anderson, Burton J. 00-00-1977more
Anderson, Clarence Emil "Bud"13-01-1922 more
Anderson, James R. 09-10-1943
Anderson, Richard J.  
Anderson, Trevor Maxwell  more
Andersz, Tadeusz27-10-191829-10-2007more
Andrews, John A.C.  
Andrus, Willis James04-01-192116-10-1967
Apperson, Edwin C.13-07-192518-08-1995
Armour, Donald F.23-09-192009-10-2001
Armstrong, William S.  
Arnold, Dale F. 07-04-1944
Arnold, Ellis E. (Jr.) 15-12-1942
Arnold, Henry Harley "Hap"25-06-188615-01-1950more
Arnold, William Howard18-01-190130-09-1976more
Arnoult, Carl A.00-00-191801-06-1945more
Ash, Merlin T.30-06-192224-09-1944
Atkinson, Gerald V. 10-04-1945
Atkinson, Robert Edward "Ed"18-03-192029-03-1943more
Auer, John Richard, Sr.31-08-192204-09-2012