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Air Medals and Oak Leaf Clusters

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martyjhawk
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2012/09/19 14:27:52 (permalink)
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Air Medals and Oak Leaf Clusters

I have a question about these awards, but not about the basis of earning them.  Upon first earning it, an actual Air Medal (AM) would be awarded.  For each additional one earned, an Oak Leaf Cluster (OLC) would be awarded.  A bronze OLC signified one additional AM earned, and a silver OLC signified five additional AM earned. 
 
My question is how did it work with the silver OLCs.  Did they have to trade in five of their bronze ones for a silver one, or was the fifth OLC awarded just automatically a silver one? 
 
I believe Jules eared the Air Medal with 9 Oak Leaf Clusters for his 50 missions flown.  This could be displayed as nine bronze OLCs on his medal or one silver and four bronze OLCs.
 
A question on another forum prompted me to ask this question.
 
Thanks,
 
Marty

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    tonystro
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    Re:Air Medals and Oak Leaf Clusters 2012/09/19 14:54:13 (permalink)
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    martyjhawk 

    My question is how did it work with the silver OLCs.  Did they have to trade in five of their bronze ones for a silver one, or was the fifth OLC awarded just automatically a silver one? 
     

    As you say, the Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster represents one award of a particular medal; for the second time, third, fourth, etc. The Silver Oak Leaf Cluster represents five awards of a particular medal, and the four preceding Bronze clusters would be removed.
     
    I believe Jules eared the Air Medal with 9 Oak Leaf Clusters for his 50 missions flown.  This could be displayed as nine bronze OLCs on his medal or one silver and four bronze OLCs.
     

     
    I never achieved more than four awards of a medal, but as I remember it works like this --
    Medal (= one award) + 1 silver OLC (+5 more awards) + 4 bronze OLC (+ 4 more awards), therefore Medal and 9 Clusters = 10 awards of the particular medal.
     
     

    post edited by tonystro - 2012/09/19 22:15:14

    Tony Strotman, MSgt (ret.), USAF
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    bernies
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    Re:Air Medals and Oak Leaf Clusters 2012/09/26 11:17:33 (permalink)
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    A bit later, but my experience with Air Medals was that for actually getting stuff, in my squadron when one was awarded the first Air Medal you received the medal and the award certificate.  The unit then saved up until you had earned five more and then you got a certificate (only) for each five clusters.  When you rotated home you were submitted for whatever odd number of clusters you had received since your last five-cluster certificate and got one certificate for them.  As for the actual clusters, I bought them at the exchange.
    In the late 1960s, there were folks with lots of Air Medals.  The Navy wound up replacing their stars (the Navy equivalent of Army and Air Force clusters) with numerals on the ribbon.  The Air Force put a limit of four clusters of any kind on a ribbon (not the medal) and authorizing wear of a second ribbon to hold other clusters -- but the second ribbon counted.  So someone with ten Air Medals would wear one ribbon with a silver cluster (6 awards) and a second ribbon with three bronze clusters (4 more awards).

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