The Air Force Combat Action Medal (AFCAM) is a relatively new medal created for the United States Air Force in March 2007 to recognize Air Force members for active participation in ground or air combat.
The AFCAM was first awarded on June 12, 2007 to six Air Force members
who were engaged in air or ground combat off base in a combat zone
during Operation Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan, October 7, 2001-December 28, 2015) or Operation Iraqi Freedom (Iraq, March 19, 2003-September 1, 2010). The medal is retroactive from September 11, 2001 to a date to be determined and may be awarded posthumously.For
an airman to wear the AFCAM, members must provide proper documentation
to their commander which includes a narrative explanation of the
airman's involvement in combat activities to the first O-6 (Colonel) in their operational chain of command on an AF Form 3994. The application will be processed through the chain of command and
eventually be approved or disapproved by the Commander of Air Force
Nomination of the award of the AFCAM will be restricted to members of
the U.S. Armed Forces who on or after 11 September 2001 were under any
of the following conditions:
- Deliberately go into the enemy's domain (outside the wire) to
conduct official duties, either on the ground or in the air, and have
come under enemy fire by lethal weapons while performing those duties,
and are at risk of grave danger.
- While defending the base (inside/on the wire), and must have come
under enemy fire and engage the enemy with direct and lethal fire, and
are at risk of grave danger.
- Are personnel in ground operations who actively engage the enemy
with direct and lethal fires also may qualify even if no direct fire is
taken, as long as there was risk of grave danger and meets other
Retroactive awards prior to 11 September 2001 are not authorized.
The AFCAM has no patch or badge equivalent for wear on the Airman Battle Uniform and other functional uniforms that are worn for daily duties and deployments. It is worn after the Air Force Achievement Medal and before the Air Force Presidential Unit Citation.
The AFCAM may be awarded to members from the other Armed Forces and
foreign military members serving in a U.S. Air Force unit, provided they
meet the criteria for the award.
According to USAF Memo, 25 June 2015, Air Force Instruction 36-2803, 18 December 2013 (Change 1, 22 June 2015): AFCAM, Authorized
Device: A gold star will be worn to recognize subsequent operations
when approved by the Chief of Staff of the Air Force (188.8.131.52., pages
148-49). However, in AFI36-2903, gold stars are not included in the AF list of authorized ribbon devices (11.4, page 224); service/campaign stars ( 3⁄16"
bronze/silver star) are the only star devices authorized for wear.
Also, no ribbon device is authorized for wear in AFI36-2803 to denote
subsequent awards of the AFCAM, which normally would be oak leaf clusters. The Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard authorizes a 5⁄16" gold star to denote subsequent awards of specific decorations and a 3⁄16" bronze service star is worn on the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal to denote a subsequent operation.
Note: This may be the beginning of a first time wearing of a gold
star device by a member of the Air Force on any one of their awards:
General Tod Wolters, U.S.A.F., publicly wears a 3⁄16" gold star on an AFCAM service ribbon
on his uniform since at least September 2013 (the gold star for the
AFCAM is not listed on his August 2015 AF biography awards list). Wolters has fought in Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom.Choose which version(s) you wish to order on the grid below.