The Air Force Good Conduct Medal derives from the authority establishing the Army Good Conduct Medal; the Air Force version was authorized by Secretary of the Air Force Eugene M. Zuckert on June 1, 1963.
The Air Force Good Conduct Medal has been awarded for qualifying service from May 31, 1963 to the present.
When the 97th Air Force Uniform Board met on October 20, 2005, it recommended that the Air Force Good Conduct Medal be discontinued. Their reasoning was that since "good conduct" was the expected standard, there was no reason to reward it with a medal. When the recommendation was forwarded to the Chief of Staff of the Air Force, he gave his approval. Previously awarded Air Force Good Conduct Medals could continue to be worn as long as it was a matter of official record.
After this action was taken, it proved to be very unpopular. In January of 2008 the Air Force held an "Awards Summit," a periodic action in which policies and procedures pertaining to awards and decorations are discussed and reviewed. It was the collective opinion of the participants that the Good Conduct Medal should be restored, and that recommendation was made to the Secretary of the Air Force. In November of 2008 the Secretary of the Air Force approved the recommendation, and on February 11, 2009 the Air Force formally announced its reinstatement. The reinstatement also made the award retroactive to cover the period during which it had been eliminated.
The Air Force Good Conduct Medal was awarded to active duty enlisted members of the Air Force for exemplary conduct during a specified period of military service (normally three years in peacetime).
ORDER OF PRECEDENCE
The Air Force Good Conduct Medal is worn after the Combat Readiness Medal and before the Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service Medal.
Additional awards of the Air Force Good Conduct Medal are indicated by oak leaf clusters.
The Air Force Good Conduct Medal was designed by Joseph Kiselewski as the Army Good Conduct Medal. The Air Force Good Conduct Medal differs from the Army Good Conduct Medal only in the design of its ribbon.
DESCRIPTION AND SYMBOLISM
In the center of a bronze medallion one and a quarter inches in diameter, an eagle is shown with its wings displayed while alight on a closed book and Roman sword, encircled by the words EFFICIENCY HONOR FIDELITY.
The eagle is the American bald eagle and represents the United States. The closed book and Roman sword allude to military strength through training and knowledge. The inscription describes the virtues which this medal seeks to reward.
In the center of a bronze medallion one and a quarter inches in diameter, there is a five-pointed star and scroll between the words FOR GOOD CONDUCT, surrounded by a wreath formed by a laurel branch on the left and an oak branch on the right.
The five-pointed star is taken from the Union of the Nation's flag and represents each State and all of them collectively and is also the symbol of military service. The scroll is provided for inscription of the recipient's name. The laurel branch is symbolic of achievement and the oak branch represents both strength and courage.
The ribbon to the Air Force Good Conduct Medal consists of a field of light blue with red, white and blue pinstripes just inside each edge of the ribbon. The red, white and blue pinstripes are the National colors, while the light blue background represents the sky, the operational medium of the Air Force.