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The Airman’s Medal is an individual decoration of the United States Air Force. The medal was established on 6 July 1960 and is awarded to those service members or those of a friendly nation who, while serving in any capacity with the U.S. Air Force, distinguish themselves by a heroic act, usually at the voluntary risk of his or her life not involving actual combat. The saving of a life or the success of the voluntary heroic act is not essential.[2][3]

Airman's Medal
Airman's Medal.jpg
Obverse of the Airman's Medal
Awarded by the Department of the Air Force[1]
TypePersonal Military Decoration
EligibilityMembers of the Armed Forces of the United States or of a friendly nation
Awarded fora heroic act, usually at the voluntary risk of his or her life but not involving actual combat
StatusCurrently awarded
Established6 July 1960
Retroactive after 10 August 1956
First awarded21 July 1960
Next (higher)Distinguished Flying Cross
EquivalentArmy - Soldier's Medal
Navy & Marine Corps - Navy and Marine Corps Medal
Coast Guard - Coast Guard Medal
Next (lower)Bronze Star Medal
Airman's Medal ribbon.svg
Service ribbon

The Airman’s Medal was authorized on 10 August 1956 to replace the U.S. Army's Soldier's Medal which had also been awarded to qualifying Air Force personnel since 26 September 1947.[4] According to Air Force Instruction 36-2803, The Secretary of the Air Force, Personnel Council approves or disapproves recommendations for Airman's Medals requiring SAF approval and determines upon approval, entitlement to 10 percent increase in retirement pay for the Airman's Medal when awarded to enlisted members for extraordinary heroism.

Besides the Airman's Medal, the Navy and Marine Corps Medal and the Coast Guard Medal are also considered to be the equivalent of the Soldier's Medal. Additional awards of the Airman's Medal are denoted by oak leaf clusters.

The first recipient of the Airman's Medal was Captain John Burger, U.S. Air Force, who was awarded the medal at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, on 21 July 1960, for heroism performed on 9 September 1959.

Notable recipientsEdit


  1. ^ "Production publication" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2018-01-27. Retrieved 2018-01-10.
  2. ^ Air Force Personnel Center. Airman's Medal. [1] Archived 2017-06-01 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "Institute of Heraldry Airman's Medal". Archived from the original on 2016-12-15. Retrieved 2017-05-07.
  4. ^ Smithsonian, Air and Space Museum. Airman's Medal.Retrieved May 6, 2017