The Air Force Medal (AFM) was a military decoration, awarded to personnel of the Royal Air Force and other British Armed Forces, and formerly to personnel of other Commonwealth countries, below commissioned rank, for "an act or acts of valour, courage or devotion to duty whilst flying, though not in active operations against the enemy". The award was discontinued in 1993 when all ranks became eligible for the Air Force Cross (AFC) as part of the reform of the British honours system.
|Air Force Medal|
Reverse of medal
|Awarded by UK and Commonwealth|
|Eligibility||British, Commonwealth, and allied forces non-commissioned officers and men|
|Awarded for||...acts of courage or devotion to duty whilst flying, though not in active operations against the enemy.|
|Status||Discontinued in 1993.|
|Established||3 June 1918|
|Order of Wear|
|Next (higher)||Distinguished Flying Medal|
|Next (lower)||Constabulary Medal (de jure)|
Queen's Gallantry Medal (de facto)
The medal was established on 3 June 1918. It was the other ranks' equivalent to the Air Force Cross (AFC), which was awarded to commissioned officers and Warrant Officers, although the latter could also be awarded the AFM. It ranked below the AFC in order of precedence, between the Distinguished Flying Medal and the Queen's Gallantry Medal.
A bar, worn on the ribbon, could be awarded to recognise a second award of the Air Force Medal.
The first two awards appeared in the London Gazette on 3 June 1918, to:
The first awards of a bar to the Air Force Medal were announced on 26 December 1919, to two sergeants in the Australian Flying Corps, for providing support to a pioneering flight from London to Australia:
In 1979 eligibility for a number of British awards, including the AFM, was extended to permit posthumous awards. Until that time, only the Victoria Cross and a mention in dispatches could be awarded posthumously.
In 1993, the AFM was discontinued, as part of the review of the British honours system, which recommended removing distinctions of rank in respect of awards for bravery. Since then, the Air Force Cross, previously only open to Commissioned and Warrant Officers, has been awarded to personnel of all ranks.
The AFM had also been awarded by Commonwealth countries but by 1990's most, including Canada, Australia and New Zealand, had established their own honours systems and no longer recommended British honours.
Between 1918 and 1993 approximately 942 medals and ten second award bar were awarded.
|1953–1993||300 ||5 |
Awards include several to the Royal Navy and the Army Air Corps. Fifteen honorary awards were made to aircrew from foreign countries, one in 1919 and 14 for service during the Second World War. Civilians were eligible for the AFM from 1919 to 1932, three awards being made.
|Air Force Medal ribbon bars|
|AFM||AFM and Bar|
The 1921 Birthday Honours were appointments by King George V to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by citizens of the British Empire. The appointments were made to celebrate the official birthday of the King, and were published on 3 and 4 June 1921.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour, and arranged by honour, with classes (Knight, Knight Grand Cross, etc.) and then divisions (Military, Civil, etc.) as appropriate.1947 New Year Honours (New Zealand)
The 1947 New Year Honours in New Zealand were appointments by King George VI on the advice of the New Zealand government to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by New Zealanders, and to celebrate the passing of 1946 and the beginning of 1947. They were announced on 1 January 1947.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour.1951 New Year Honours (New Zealand)
The 1951 New Year Honours in New Zealand were appointments by King George VI on the advice of the New Zealand government to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by New Zealanders. The awards celebrated the passing of 1950 and the beginning of 1951, and were announced on 1 January 1951.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour.1955 New Year Honours (New Zealand)
The 1955 New Year Honours in New Zealand were appointments by Elizabeth II on the advice of the New Zealand government to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by New Zealanders. The awards celebrated the passing of 1954 and the beginning of 1955, and were announced on 1 January 1955.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour.1961 New Year Honours (New Zealand)
The 1961 New Year Honours in New Zealand were appointments by Elizabeth II on the advice of the New Zealand government to various orders and honours to reward and highlight good works by New Zealanders. The awards celebrated the passing of 1960 and the beginning of 1961, and were announced on 31 December 1960.The recipients of honours are displayed here as they were styled before their new honour.Gerald O. Young
Gerald Orren Young (May 19, 1930 – June 6, 1990) was a United States Air Force officer and a recipient of the U.S. military's highest decoration—the Medal of Honor—for his actions in the Vietnam War.Hector Gray
Hector Bertram Gray (6 June 1911 – 18 December 1943) was an officer of the Royal Air Force, and a member of the British Army Aid Group, who was posthumously awarded the George Cross for "most conspicuous gallantry" in resisting torture after the Japanese occupation of Hong Kong in 1941.Hilliard A. Wilbanks
Hilliard Almond Wilbanks (July 26, 1933 – February 24, 1967) was a career officer and pilot in the United States Air Force during the Vietnam War. He posthumously received the Medal of Honor for sacrificing his life on February 24, 1967, while supporting a unit of the Army of the Republic of Vietnam (ARVN) at Di Linh, near Da Lat, South Vietnam.Howard Baugh
Howard Lee Baugh (January 20, 1920 – August 23, 2008) was a decorated
veteran of World War II and member of the Tuskegee Airmen.Baugh was born and raised in Petersburg, Virginia, where he graduated from Virginia State College in 1941.Baugh enlisted in the U.S. Army as an aviation cadet of the U.S. Army Air Corps in March 1942. He was accepted into a newly-formed group, later known as the Tuskegee Airmen, an all-black unit at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. He was commissioned a 2nd Lt. in November 1942. In the group, 996 were pilots, and 450 of them were sent into combat. He flew 136 combat missions for the 332nd Fighter Group, 99th Flying Training Squadron in Sicily, Italy during World War. The group was nicknamed the "Red Tails" or "Red Tail Squadron" for the red-feather markings painted on the tails of their aircraft.After World War II, Baugh continued to serve in the military as a flight instructor, commander, and director of logistics. He rose to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and retired from the U.S. Air Force in 1967.Military honors accorded Baugh include:
The Distinguished Flying Cross
The Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters
The Air Force Medal
The Air Force Outstanding Unit Award
Burial in Arlington National Cemetery.Civilian recognition includes:
The Howard Baugh Chapter of Tuskegee Airmen, Inc. (2003)
The French Legion of Honor (2004, awarded by the French Defense Minister)
Virginia Aviation Hall of Fame Members (2006).
The Congressional Gold Medal awarded to the Tuskegee Airmen (2007, presented by President George W. Bush).A life-size statue of Baugh, sculpted by Antonio Tobias Mendez, was unveiled in November 2018 at the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia in Richmond, Virginia (at the former First Battalion Virginia Volunteers Armory). It is the first monument in Virginia, and the eighth monument in the U.S., honoring a member of the Tuskegee Airmen. Plans for the monument include permanently locating it to Petersburg.
Baugh was the widower of the former Constance Layne. He was survived by, among others, his sons—David P. Baugh of Richmond, Virginia, Howard Layne Baugh of Baltimore, and Richard Baugh of Fort Lauderdale, Florida—and two daughters-in-law, four grandchildren, and two great grandchildren.Ike Owens
Isaac "Ike" Andrew Owens AFM (7 November 1918 – 15 October 1998) was a Welsh rugby union, and professional rugby league footballer who played in the 1940s and 1950s. He played club level rugby union (RU) for Blaengarw RFC (in Blaengarw, Bridgend), and Maesteg RFC, and armed forces rugby union for the Royal Air Force, as a number eight, and representative level rugby league (RL) for Great Britain and Wales, and at club level for Leeds, Castleford, and Huddersfield, as a loose forward.James P. Fleming
James Phillip Fleming (born March 12, 1943) was a United States Air Force pilot in the Vietnam War. Born in Sedalia, Missouri, he was awarded the Medal of Honor for rescuing a six-man MACV-SOG Recon Team, stranded between heavily defended enemy positions, near Đức Cơ, Vietnam.Joe M. Jackson
Joe Madison Jackson (March 14, 1923 – January 12, 2019) served as a career officer in the United States Air Force and received the Medal of Honor for heroism above and beyond the call of duty during the Vietnam War. On 12 May 1968, he volunteered for a dangerous impromptu rescue of three remaining Air Force members trapped at an overrun Army Special Forces camp. While the camp was still under heavy enemy fire from North Vietnamese and Viet Cong troops, he skillfully piloted his C-123 cargo plane and rescued the three men.John Levitow
John Lee Levitow (November 1, 1945 – November 8, 2000) was a United States Air Force (USAF) Loadmaster who received the Medal of Honor for exceptional heroism during wartime. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his acts of heroism while serving on board a Douglas AC-47 Spooky gunship of the 3d Special Operations Squadron USAF on February 24, 1969. He became the lowest ranked serviceman in the Air Force to receive the Medal of Honor, the United States military's highest honor.Lance Sijan
Lance Peter Sijan (April 13, 1942 – January 22, 1968) was a United States Air Force officer and fighter pilot. On March 4, 1976, he posthumously received the Medal of Honor, the United States' highest military award, for his selflessness and courage in the face of lethal danger.Marian Pisarek
Marian Pisarek (3 January 1912 – 29 April 1942), was a Polish fighter pilot, a flying ace of World War II, with 11 planes confirmed shot down and an additional three probable.Recipients of the Air Force Medal
This is a list of recipients of the Air Force Medal of Australia.Richard Etchberger
Richard Loy Etchberger (March 5, 1933 – March 11, 1968) was a senior non-commissioned officer in the United States Air Force who posthumously received the United States military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions during the Battle of Lima Site 85 in the Vietnam War. The medal was formally presented to his three sons by President Barack Obama during a ceremony at the White House on September 21, 2010.Richard Summers (RAF officer)
Wing Commander Richard Gordon Battensby "Dick" Summers, (18 October 1921 – 7 May 2017) was a Royal Air Force officer who served as an observer during the Battle of Britain, and was one of the last surviving men known as "The Few".Steven L. Bennett
Steven Logan Bennett (April 22, 1946 – June 29, 1972) of Palestine, Texas was a United States Air Force pilot who posthumously received the Medal of Honor for heroism during the Vietnam War on August 8, 1974.
|Orders of chivalry|
Sorted in order of wear per era or 1994 constituent force
until 6 April 1952