The Combat Readiness Medal was established by Secretary of the Air Force Eugene M. Zuckert on March 9, 1964, and amended by Secretary of the Air Force Harold Brown on August 28, 1967).
The Combat Readiness Medal has been awarded for qualifying service retroactive to August 1, 1960.
The Combat Readiness Medal is awarded to military service members after August 1, 1960, for sustained individual combat or mission readiness or preparedness for direct weapon system employment. Specifically, a service member must meet the following criteria:
The Combat Readiness Medal is worn after the Prisoner of War Medal and before the Air Force Good Conduct Medal.
A bronze oak leaf cluster is awarded for each additional entitlement.
The Air Force Combat Readiness Medal was designed by Thomas Hudson Jones (1892-1969).
The identity of the first recipient of the Air Force Combat Readiness Medal was not recorded.
DESCRIPTION AND SYMBOLISM
Encircling a ring of stylized cloud forms, a border of concentric rays, its rim concave between 12 points, charged with six arrowheads alternating with the points of two triangular flight symbols having center lines ridged conversely, one pointed south and overlapping the one pointed north, whose apex extends beyond the rim, becoming the point of suspension of the medal.
Combat readiness around the clock, as exemplified through the years by the vigilance and courage of veteran United States Air Force crew members is symbolized in a geometric pattern representing the teaming up of highly skilled, precision-trained men with complex modern defense weapons. The stress and strain exerted on men and machines by long hours of constant application is signified by two delta-shaped contrapuntal flight symbols. The twelve points on the rim are formed by the placement of arrowheads between the points of the flight symbols in such a way as to depict the major bearings of the compass as well as the hours of the clock, thus suggesting the scope and dimension of the operation of weapons delivery systems to which crew members must constantly exert themselves. The devotion of time and energy by these professionally skilled men is noted by the simulated clock dial on which each hour is ascribed equal importance. The glimpse of symbolic clouds around the inside of the rim attests to the spirit and zeal of men devoted to the surpassing of previous limitations.
The inscription FOR COMBAT READINESS AIR FORCE, the whole forming a circle, with the words AIR FORCE at the base.
The ribbon to the Combat Readiness Medal consists of a red background with a stripe of Brittany blue bisected by an ultramarine pinstripe toward each edge of the ribbon. The Brittany blue and Ultramarine blue symbolically represent the Air Force, and the red alludes to combat readiness and zeal.