This medal was established on February 3, 1988, by Secretary of the Air Force Edward C. Aldridge, Jr.
The Aerial Achievement Medal has been in effect since January 1, 1990.
The Aerial Achievement Medal may be awarded to individuals who, while serving in any capacity with the Air Force, distinguish themselves by sustained meritorious achievement on board an aircraft while participating in aerial flight.
ORDER OF PRECEDENCE
The Aerial Achievement Medal is worn after the Air Medal and before the Joint Service Commendation Medal.
Additional awards of the Aerial Achievement Medal are denoted by oak leaf clusters.
The Aerial Achievement Medal was designed by Technical Sergeant Gerald E. Woo, USAF.
The first recipient of the Aerial Achievement Medal was Captain Toby M. Kay, USAF.
DESCRIPTION AND SYMBOLISM
In the center of a bronze disc one and three-eighths inches in diameter, an eagle facing to its right is shown with its wings displayed. The tips of the eagle's wings extend beyond the edge bringing the medal to an overall width of one and three-quarters inches. Above the eagle, and following the contour of its upper quarter (but just inside its raised edge), are thirteen five-pointed stars (point up). The stars on either end of this array and the one in the center are larger than the remaining ten. Behind the eagle are two intersecting arcs which cross behind the eagle's head. The eagle is clutching a cluster of six lightning bolts in its talons, and the bottom two extend beyond the rim of the medal forming a triangular configuration of which the bottom leg is the lower rim of the medal.
The eagle is the American bald eagle, symbol of the United States, and its wings extending beyond the boundaries of the medal allude to freedom. The thirteen stars allude to the thirteen original colonies and thereby to all of the United States; the arcs represent the flight paths of aircraft, while the lightning bolts represent the Air Force.
A raised plaque appears in the center of the reverse. Above the plaque are the words, FOR MILITARY and below the plaque, MERIT.
The predominant color of the ribbon to the Aerial Achievement Medal is "Bird Blue," which is bordered on either side by an eighth-inch stripe of "Golden Yellow" and edged with "Flag Blue."