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United States Air Force Combat Action Medal
Air Force Combat Action Medal set.jpg
USAF Combat Action Medal
Awarded by United States Air Force
Type Individual Award
Eligibility 11 Sept 01-to be determined
Awarded for Actively engaged in ground or air combat with the enemy
Status Still Issued
Established 2007
Elizabeth Jacobson
Next (higher) Air Force Achievement Medal
Equivalent Navy/USMC: Combat Action Ribbon
Next (lower) Presidential Unit Citation
Related USN/USMC Combat Action Ribbon
Army Combat Action Badge
Obverse and reverse of the Air Force Combat Action Medal
obverse, ribbon, and reverse

The Air Force Combat Action Medal (AFCAM) is a relatively new medal issued by the United States Air Force. It was first awarded on June 12, 2007 for actions from September 11, 2001 to a date to be determined and may be awarded posthumously.



For an Airman to wear the AFCAM, a narrative explanation on an AF Form 3994 of the Airman's involvement in combat activities must be submitted by a person with first-hand knowledge of the incident to the first O-6 (colonel) in his operational chain of command. The application will be processed through the chain of command and eventually be approved or disapproved by the Commander of Air Force forces (COMAFFOR).[1]

The AFCAM will be the highest-level Air Force individual award to not earn points under the Weighted Airman Promotion System. It is worn directly after the Air Force Achievement Medal and before the Presidential Unit Citation.


In conjunction with the Army Institute of Heraldry, the medal was designed by Susan Gamble, a professional artist and Master Designer for the U.S. Mint. Her husband, Mike Gamble, is an Air Force colonel, and she was quoted by the Washington Post as saying, "It was just a real pleasure to give this back to the Air Force that's been part of my life." She based the medal on an insignia painted on an aircraft piloted in World War I by General Billy Mitchell, generally known as the father of the Air Force.[2]

A laurel wreath surrounds an eagle emblem executed in a simple, linear Art Deco style. The eagle faces right, over the right talon clutching arrows, to reflect that this is a combat medal. The left talon clutches an olive branch. The ribbon's diagonal stripe at first could not be manufactured in the United States; but military medals cannot be manufactured outside the U.S. This design problem was resolved when a mill in Pennsylvania, Bally Ribbon Mills, bought a new loom specifically to weave the diagonal stripe. A Rhode Island firm, Ira Green Inc. in Providence, made the metal parts.[2]

The medal is the only award of the United States military to have a diagonally patterned ribbon, much like various British awards (such as the Distinguished Flying Cross).


The first recipients of the medal awarded on June 12, 2007, were:[2][3]

  1. Maj. Steven A. Raspet of Fountain Valley, California
  2. Capt. Allison K. Black of North Point, New York
  3. Senior Master Sgt. Ramon Colon-Lopez of Bridgeport, Connecticut
  4. Master Sgt. Charlie Peterson of Detroit, Michigan
  5. Master Sgt. Byron P. Allen of Birmingham, Alabama
  6. Staff Sgt. Daniel L. Paxton of Abingdon, Virginia


  1. ^ Air Force releases combat action medal criteria, Air Force Print News, 4/9/2007
  2. ^ a b c For Today's Air Force, a New Symbol of Valor by John Kelly, June 13, 2007. Washington Post, p. B03. Accessed June 13, 2007.
  3. ^ Airmen receive first AF Combat Action Medals, Secretary of the Air Force Office of Public Affairs, 6/12/2007




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