Air Force Distinguished Service Medal

Air Force Distinguished Service Medal

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Air Force Distinguished Service Medal

Service: Air Force
Instituted: 160

Air Force Distinguished Service Medal – Criteria and Overview

Air Force Distinguished Service Medal

Air Force Distinguished Service Medal

The Air Force Distinguished Service Medal was authorized by Congress on July 6, 1960; it evolved from the Army Distinguished Service Medal authorized in 1918. The medal is awarded for exceptionally meritorious service to the U.S. in a duty of great responsibility; the term “great responsibility” denotes the success of a major operation or program attributed to the proper exercise of authority and judgement. This is the highest peacetime Air Force medal awarded. It is presented to all recipients who are awarded this decoration on or after November 1, 1965; AAF and USAF personnel who were awarded this decoration prior to this date received the Army version. The Air Force Distinguished Service Medal is rarely awarded to officers below the rank of Brigadier General. This military medal should be referred to as “Distinguished Service Medal – Air Force design.” Major General Osmond J. Ritland, Air Force Systems Command, was the first recipient of the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal on November 30, 1965 for his efforts as Deputy Commander for Manned Space Flight. Subsequent awards are denoted by bronze and silver oak leaf clusters. The medal is a blue stone centered within 13 gold rays, each separated by 13 white stars. the recipient’s name may be engraved on the reverse of the medal.

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