The United States Congress established the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal on July 6, 1960 to recognize U.S. Air Force personnel who perform service of an exceptional nature on behalf of the government in the execution of a significant operation. It is typically reserved for senior Air Force officers.
The medal features a gold sunburst shape with 13 rays, which are inset with 13 white stars. At the center of the sunburst is a blue stone.The ribbon is divided into thirds; the center third is white, and it is flanked by thinner dark blue vertical stripes on either side that are in turn flanked by thinner yellow vertical stripes. The medal is joined to the ribbon by a bar decorated by wings.
Subsequent awards may be denoted by oak leaf clusters.