The Air Force Medal of Honor was established by Act of Congress (Public Law 86-593, 86th Congress, approved August 10, 1956).


The Air Force Medal of Honor has been in effect since November 1, 1965.


The Medal of Honor is awarded for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of one's life, above and beyond the call of duty. This gallantry must be performed either while engaged in action against an enemy of the United States; while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or, while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.

For award of the Medal of Honor there must be no margin of doubt or any possibility of error. To justify the award, a person must clearly render himself conspicuously above his comrades by an act so outstanding that it clearly distinguishes his gallantry as being beyond the call of duty. It must be the type of action which if not done would not leave him open to criticism, but must be done without detriment to his mission or to the command to which he is attached. Further, the recommendation must be submitted within three years of the act, and the medal must be awarded within five years of the act (there have, however, been exceptions to the rules governing the timing of recommendations and awarding the Medal of Honor).


The Medal of Honor is worn before all other decorations and medals. It is the highest honor that can be conferred on a member of the Armed Forces.


Additional awards of the Air Force Medal of Honor are denoted by oak leaf clusters.


The Air Force Medal of Honor was designed and sculpted by Lewis J. King, Jr. of the Army's Institute of Heraldry.


The first person to receive the Air Force Medal of Honor was Major Bernard F. Fisher, whose medal was presented to him on January 19, 1967, for heroism above and beyond the call of duty during the Vietnam War.



Within a wreath of laurel in green enamel, a gold-finished bronze five-pointed star, one point down, tipped with trefoils and each point containing a crown of laurel and oak on a background of green enamel. Centered upon the star is a ring of 34 stars surrounding a representation the head of the Statue of Liberty. The star is suspended by rings from a bar inscribed with the word VALOR above the adaptation of the thunderbolt from the Air Force coat of arms. This medal is adapted from the original Medal of Honor and was modified to provide a design unique for the Air Force.


The reverse of the Air Force Medal of Honor is plain (for engraving the recipient's name).


The ribbon is a light blue moire silk neckband one and three sixteenths inches wide and twenty four inches long, behind a square pad in the center made of the ribbon with the corners turned in. Thirteen white stars are woven into the pad.


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