In 1962, following the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Air Force began a concentrated effort to create its own array of awards and Air Force members could no longer receive decorations of the United States Army as a matter of course. By the end of the Vietnam War, most of the modern day Air Force decorations had been established and Air Force members were also entitled to receive and wear all inter-service awards and decorations (see also the interservice Air Medal—which ranks above Aerial Achievement Medal).
By the start of the 21st century, the Air Force had created several new ribbons as well as an Air Force specific campaign medal known as the Air and Space Campaign Medal.
In February 2006, the United States Air Force ceased issuing new awards of the Good Conduct Medal, however, the medal was reinstated in February 2009. The AFGCM has also been back-awarded to those who were in service during the three-year break in new awards. By retro-actively awarding those who deserved the medal, it is as if the medal had never been taken away.
In accordance with the United States Air Force Personnel Center library of official medals and service ribbons authorized to be worn by USAF personnel the United States Air Force Meritorious Service Medal comes after the Air Medal and the Aerial Achievement Medal and before the Defense Meritorious Service Medal and the Purple Heart. There are several medals after the Purple Heart. This page should be corrected.
Air Force Valor Award: similar to the Airman's Medal. Gold-colored medal design bearing the Air Force thunderbolt on an equilateral triangle surmounted by the Air Force eagle perched on a scroll inscribed "Valor" within an olive wreath. Ribbon is light blue with four yellow stripes, two dark blue stripes, and one red stripe in the center.
Air Force Outstanding Civilian Career Service Award: similar to the military Legion of Merit. Bronze medal bearing the Air Force coat of arms with a wreath of laurel leaves. Ribbon is white trimmed in maroon with three maroon stripes in the center.
Air Force Meritorious Civilian Service Award: similar to the military Meritorious Service Medal. Sterling silver medal and lapel emblem bearing the Air Force coat of arms with a wreath of laurel leaves. Emblem with ruby indicates receipt of more than one Meritorious Civilian Service Award.
Air Force Command Award for Valor: similar to the military Meritorious Service Medal when awarded for heroism. Sterling silver medal of the same design as the Air Force Valor Award. Ribbon is light-blue silk with four yellow stripes and one red stripe in the center.
Air Force Scroll of Appreciation (or Air Force Scroll of Honor): For meritorious achievement or service that are completely voluntary and performed as a public service or patriotic in nature.
Air Force Exceptional Service Award: A gold-colored medal bearing the Air Force coat of arms with a wreath of laurel leaves. Ribbon is dark-blue silk with three dotted golden-orange lines in the center.