This day in history, May 11. 1942, the Air Medal was authorized by President Roosevelt by Executive Order 9158 and established the award for “any person who, while serving in any capacity in the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard of the United States subsequent to September 8, 1939, distinguishes, or has distinguished, himself by meritorious achievement while participating in an aerial flight.”
Executive Order 9242-A, dated 11 September 1942, amended the previous Executive Order to read “in any capacity in or with the Army.”
Awards may be made to recognize single acts of merit or heroism, or for meritorious service. The awarding of the Air Medal is intended to recognize those personnel who are on current crew member or non-crew member flying status which requires them to participate in aerial flight on a regular and frequent basis in the performance of their primary duties. It can also be awarded to certain other individuals whose combat duties require regular and frequent flying in other than a passenger status, or individuals who perform a particularly noteworthy act while performing the function of a crew member but who are not on flying status. These individuals have to make a contribution to the operational land combat mission or to the mission of the aircraft in flight.