DoD Knowledge Base: FAQs

Air Force Combat Action Medal
Published: 04/13/2007 | Updated:  07/29/2014

What is the new combat medal awarded to U.S. Air Force personnel?

Air Force officials at the Air Force Personnel Center released criteria for award of the combat action medal, an award for Airmen who have been involved in direct fighting situations where they risked their lives in an enemy engagement.

Former Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. T. Michael Moseley authorized the medal's creation March 15, 2007.

Any Airman who believes they may be eligible can submit an award package for consideration. Airmen are eligible for the combat action medal if their primary role includes performing duties in a combat zone, either on the ground or from the air, in an unsecured area away from an established installation. While performing their duties, they must have come under fire or fired upon an enemy to qualify.

Aircrew members must be flying in direct support of a combat zone and in combat. They also must be performing official duties and not manifested as a passenger. While performing close air support, taking fire from an enemy is not a prerequisite as long as the Airman is at great risk.

The AFCAM is worn between the Air Force Achievement Medal and the Air Force Presidential Unit Citation. Fact Sheet on Air Force Combat Action Medal