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Air Force Distinguished Service Medal


Obverse: The obverse design has a sunburst of 13 gold rays separated by 13 white enameled stars, with a semi-precious blue stone in the center. The sunburst is suspended from the ribbon by a wide slotted bar which consists of stylized wings, symbolic of the Air Force. The blue stone in the center represents the vault of the heavens; the 13 stars represent the original colonies and manís chain of achievements. The sunburst represents the glory that accompanies great achievements, and the rays depict manís quest for light and knowledge.

Reverse: The reverse of the medal is plain and suitable for engraving.

The ribbon has a wide 1/2-inch center stripe of white flanked on either side by a thin stripe of old gold, a wide stripe of ultramarine blue and a narrow stripe of old gold at the edges.

See AFI36-2803 (Air Force Military Awards and Decorations Program).

The Air Force Distinguished Service Medal was established by Act of Congress on July 6, 1960 and was designed by Frank Alston of the Institute of Heraldry. The medal is awarded to members of the United States Air Force who distinguish themselves by exceptionally meritorious service to the Government in a duty of great responsibility. The medal is typically awarded to senior Air Force generals or the Chief Master Sergeant of the Air Force. The first recipient of the Air Force Distinguished Service Medal was Major General Osmond J. Ritland, USAF, who received his medal at his retirement on November 30, 1965.

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