Awarded to members of the Armed Forces of the United States who have distinguished themselves by meritorious achievement and service. The degree of merit must be distinctive, though it need not be unique. Acts of courage which do not involve the voluntary risk of life required for the Soldier's Medal (or the Airman's Medal now authorized for the Air Force) may be considered for the AFCM.
The medal is a bronze hexagon, with one point up, centered upon which is the seal of the Air Force, an eagle with wings spread, facing left, perched upon a baton. There are clouds in the background. Below the seal is a shield bearing a pair of flyer's wings and a vertical baton with an eagle's claw at either end; behind the shield are eight lightning bolts.
An example of the citation that usually accompanies the award of the Air Force Commendation follows, "Captain Evans A. Kerrigan distinguished himself by meritorious service as Instructor Navigator and Standardization/Evaluation Instructor, KC-135, 509th Air Refueling Squadron, 509th Bombardment Wing, SAC, Pease Air Force Base, New Hampshire, February 19, 1984 to May 16, 1988. During this period, Captain Kerrigan's superior performance and outstanding dedication led to significant improvements in the unit's combat readiness, contributing immeasurably to the performance of its worldwide missions. The distinctive accomplishments of Captain Kerrigan reflect credit upon himself and the United States Air Force."
A bronze oak leaf cluster is awarded for each additional award of the AFCM. Award of the "V" device for a contingency deployment operation will be dependent upon the area of responsibility (AOR) being declared a hostile environment by the JCS, or hostile acts identified by the unified commander or higher authority. Award of the "V" device is authorized only for events or situations which occured on or after 11 Jan 96.
This medal was authorized by the Secretary of the Air Force on March 28, 1958 while serving in any capacity with the Air Force after March 24, 1958.