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Are individual awards getting watered down (ie a NAM for a Det)?

Griz882

Well-Known Member
pilot
In WWII in some theaters and by some services DFC's were awarded like Strike/Flight Air Medals for a aviators who flew whatever the required number of missions.
Interesting. My dad flew over 100 combat missions in the PTO during WWII and came home with a campaign medal!
 

SynixMan

Staff Life
pilot
Contributor
The Coasties were pretty liberal about handing them out at least a few years ago. A Whidbey SAR guy I was deployed with went on a rant about how they did some of the same SAR missions as some Coasties down south and got no medals but the Coasties got DFC's. He wasn't bitter about not getting anything , he thought what they did wasn't all that special, he was derisive of how the Coasties got theirs.
My old CO was a -60 Jayhawk guy out of Astoria and had a DFC. The citiation and associated tale made it sound extrmely well earned.
 

Griz882

Well-Known Member
pilot
I was able to dig up the WWII regulations for the DFC and AM.

Air Medal:
a. Destruction of one (1) combat naval vessel, or three (3) combat aircraft in flight, or:
b. Participation in twenty-five (25) operational flight missions during which exposure to enemy fire is probable and expected, or:
c. Participation in one hundred (100) hours of operational flight under conditions specified in 2 above.

DFC:
a: Destruction of five (5) combat aircraft in flight, or:
b: Participation in fifty (50) operational flight missions under conditions specified in a-2 above, or:
c: Participation in two hundred (200) hours of operational flight under conditions specified in a-2 above.

Reading deeper into the reg it is clear that rule "c" in both cases was there for guys like Troop Carrier Wings and Patrol Squadrons. In an interesting twist the Air Medal was awarded to Civil Air Patrol crews who met the hours. The rule was classified because the War Department didn't want people to know that CAP aircraft were often armed.
 

AllYourBass

Unusual Vibration Salesperson
pilot
I was able to dig up the WWII regulations for the DFC and AM.

Air Medal:
a. Destruction of one (1) combat naval vessel, or three (3) combat aircraft in flight, or:
b. Participation in twenty-five (25) operational flight missions during which exposure to enemy fire is probable and expected, or:
c. Participation in one hundred (100) hours of operational flight under conditions specified in 2 above.
I do enjoy the idea (thanks to my own lifetime of extended airborne peacetime) that Ensign Johnny America could shoot down just a couple aircraft, only to return and be given the "Did you get the memo?" speech by that era's Admin/PSD...

 

Griz882

Well-Known Member
pilot
I do enjoy the idea (thanks to my own lifetime of extended airborne peacetime) that Ensign Johnny America could shoot down just a couple aircraft, only to return and be given the "Did you get the memo?" speech by that era's Admin/PSD...

The best part is that the military stopped printing award certificates in 1944 and medals were eventually mailed to your address of record!
 

Farva01

BKR
pilot
I would like to do a serious deep dive of the number of DFC’s awarded to Navy/Marine Corps aircrew versus Air Force aircrew. The numbers seem extremely skewed.
I can only think of five off the top of my head: VF-102 FAC(A) aircrew during OEF, E-2 mishap, C-2 mishap and SU-22 shoot down.
 

Griz882

Well-Known Member
pilot
I would like to do a serious deep dive of the number of DFC’s awarded to Navy/Marine Corps aircrew versus Air Force aircrew. The numbers seem extremely skewed.
I can only think of five off the top of my head: VF-102 FAC(A) aircrew during OEF, E-2 mishap, C-2 mishap and SU-22 shoot down.
A CH-46 driver from HMH-26 got one for some serious flying in Iraq...2003.
 

AULANI

Well-Known Member
The guys who ditched the P-3 off Masirah, Oman got DFCs. That was caused by a thrown prop blade too. But it caused so much damage it was a no engines, no hydraulics dead stick glide to the water. The DFCs were well deserved.
What about the VQ guy who landed on Hainan Island... did he get a DFC?
 

Flash

SEVAL/ECMO
None
Super Moderator
Contributor
I was able to dig up the WWII regulations for the DFC and AM.

Air Medal:
a. Destruction of one (1) combat naval vessel, or three (3) combat aircraft in flight, or:
b. Participation in twenty-five (25) operational flight missions during which exposure to enemy fire is probable and expected, or:
c. Participation in one hundred (100) hours of operational flight under conditions specified in 2 above.

DFC:
a: Destruction of five (5) combat aircraft in flight, or:
b: Participation in fifty (50) operational flight missions under conditions specified in a-2 above, or:
c: Participation in two hundred (200) hours of operational flight under conditions specified in a-2 above.

Reading deeper into the reg it is clear that rule "c" in both cases was there for guys like Troop Carrier Wings and Patrol Squadrons. In an interesting twist the Air Medal was awarded to Civil Air Patrol crews who met the hours. The rule was classified because the War Department didn't want people to know that CAP aircraft were often armed.
That was one set of regs, not necessarily the ones across the board. Different services, theaters and commands had their own regs for the medals, especially notable was General MacArthur's Southwest Pacific Area Command that handed out Army awards quite liberally, some just on the whim of what MacArthur wanted to award, to all services sometimes even duplicating Navy and Marine decorations in some cases.

This book is an excellent reference for the history of medals and awards for the Navy, Marines and Coasties and it goes over the changing criteria of medals over the years.
 

DanMa1156

Land of the rising sun. Literally. There's no DST!
pilot
Contributor
VF-102 FAC(A) aircrew during OEF
Can you tell me the story here? Any link? Admittedly just got off a long shift on the boat and haven't searched. This is the only one of the ones you've listed I am not familiar with.
 

azguy

Well-Known Member
None
Googled it... Tony Holmes wrote "F-14 Tomcat Units of Operation Enduring Freedom." You can read pg 59-61 for free in Google reader. TLDR: an F-14 FAC aircrew assigned overwatch of a 3-man SOF team called in a sh-load of strikes in defense of the team.
 

Griz882

Well-Known Member
pilot
That was one set of regs, not necessarily the ones across the board. Different services, theaters and commands had their own regs for the medals, especially notable was General MacArthur's Southwest Pacific Area Command that handed out Army awards quite liberally, some just on the whim of what MacArthur wanted to award, to all services sometimes even duplicating Navy and Marine decorations in some cases.

This book is an excellent reference for the history of medals and awards for the Navy, Marines and Coasties and it goes over the changing criteria of medals over the years.
The list I provided was the War Department criteria. You are correct that theater commands then took that and established other criteria. In the ETO the AAF created a “ladder” system where one kill was an Air Medal, two got you an oak leaf cluster in lieu of, and so on until you climbed to a DFC. I saw this during GWOT for both combat and merit awards right up to the push to actually have a living MOH recipient.
 
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