The Air Medal was established in 1942 specifically to protect the prestige of the DFC. When the Distinguished Flying Cross was established, no one could have foreseen the extent of aerial combat that World War II was to witness. To protect the importance of the DFC from being diminished, the Air Medal was established as the aerial equivalent of the Bronze Star.
Authorization. E.O. 9158. 11 May 1942, as amended by E.O. 9242-A 11 September 1942
Eligibility Requirements: The Air Medal may be awarded in two categories:
1. Individual Award; Awarded to persons who, while serving in any capacity with the
Armed Forces of the United States, distinguishes himself by heroic/meritorious
achievement while participating in aerial flight. Gold stars are worn to denote
individual awards of the Air Medal (single mission Air Medal).
2. Strike/Flight Award. Awarded to persons who, while serving in any capacity with
the Armed Forces of the United States, distinguish themselves by meritorious
achievement while participating in sustained aerial operations. Bronze numerals
are worn to denote total number of Strike/Flight Awards.
Information provided by:
The Marine Wives Web Site
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