The Air Force Aerial Achievement Medal was created in 1988 with the intent to honor Air Force personnel who are not eligible to receive the Air Medal. Recipients of the award, which may be granted to military members by wing commanders or civilians by the Secretary of the Air Force, are those who have demonstrated a continuously high level of achievement in aerial flight that exceeds the normal expectations. The award extends to personnel who operate unmanned aircraft as well.
In order to be eligible for the Aerial Achievement Medal, missions and positions must receive approval from MAJCOMs.
No fewer than 20 flights lasting two or more hours--in one flight per theater per diem--must be completed to satisfy the criteria for the award. In some instances, the medal may be awarded after only 14 flights, but in these circumstances an initial Oak Leaf Cluster may not be awarded before the completion of 26 flights.
The medal is bronze and features a right-facing eagle with wings extended. The eagle is grasping six bolts of lightning and appears superimposed in front of two arcing flight paths. Thirteen stars--one larger on each end and in the middle--reach across the upper portion of the medal. The medallion is circular in shape, with a tail shape extending out slightly from the bottom. The tips of the eagle’s wings extend slightly beyond the rim of the medal on the sides. The ribbon is Blue and is bordered on both sides by an inner stripe of golden yellow and an outer stripe in flag blue.