My ribbons



Decorations, Medals, Ribbons awarded or authorized: Here are all the ribbons I
earned during my 20 years of service in the United States Air Force (1984 - 2004).

My ribbons

An explanation is probably in order. I'll explain each of the ribbons from top to bottom, left to right (Order of
precedence). You'll also find an explanation for the devices attached to the ribbons. No, they're not peanuts!

  • Ribbons/Awards
  • Defense Meritorious Service Medal
    • Awarded for non-combat meritorious achievement or service that is incontestably exceptional and of magnitude that clearly places the individual above his peers. Awarded to personnel assigned to joint units or activities.
  • Joint Service Commendation Medal - With one bronze oak leaf cluster
    • This decoration is awarded to any member of the Armed Forces who distinguishes himself by meritorious achievement or service while serving in any joint unit or activity (Not awarded concurrently with service specific awards for same achievement).
  • AF Commendation Medal - With three bronze oak leaf clusters
    • Awarded to members of the Air Force who have distinguished themselves by meritorious achievement and service. The degree of merit must be distinctive, though it need not be unique.
  • Global War on Terrorism Service Medal
    • Awarded to individuals who participated in, or served in support of the Global War on Terrorism-specified operations (The operations that I supported (directly), were: Operation ENDURING FREEDOM (OEF) and Operation IRAQI FREEDOM (OIF)). Eligibility start date for the medal is 11 Sept 2001. The ending date has not been set yet (as of 14 May 2007). It took me more than six months to get this medal awarded to me. The military didn't award it while I was in the military. I had to petition for it after I got out. Here's a letter of authorization.
  • Joint Meritorious Unit Award - With frame and one oak leaf cluster
    • This award is awarded in the name of the Secretary of Defense to joint activities for meritorious achievement or service, superior to that which is normally expected, for actions in the following situations; combat with an armed enemy of the United States, a declared national emergency, or under extraordinary circumstances that involve national interests.
  • AF Outstanding Unit Award - With Valor citation, one silver oak leaf cluster and one bronze oak leaf cluster
    • The Air Force Outstanding Unit Award is awarded by the Secretary of the Air Force to numbered units which have distinguished themselves by exceptionally meritorious service or outstanding achievement that clearly sets the unit above and apart from similar units, the services include; performance of exceptionally meritorious service, accomplishment of a specific outstanding achievement of national or international significance, combat operations against an armed enemy of the United States, or military operations involving conflict with or exposure to hostile actions by an opposing foreign force.
  • Air Force Good Conduct Medal - With silver oak leaf cluster
    • Awarded to Air Force enlisted personnel for exemplary conduct during a three-year period of active military service, (or for a one-year period of service during a time of war). Persons awarded this medal must have had character and efficiency ratings of excellent or higher throughout the qualifying period, including time spent in attendance at service schools, and there must have been no convictions of court martial during this period.
  • National Defense Service Medal - With bronze star
    • This medal is awarded for honorable active military service as a member of the Armed Forces of the United States, between 2 Aug 90 to 30 Nov 95 (Gulf War I), and the period of time which marks Operation Enduring Freedom (On or after 11 Sep 2001).
  • Air Force Overseas Ribbon - Long Tour - With two bronze oak leaf clusters
    • Before January 6, 1986, the ribbon was awarded to Air Force and Air Force Reserve members credited with completion of an overseas tour (one or more tours). Air Force members serving as of January 6, 1986, or later are entitled to reflect all Air Force overseas tours credited during their career.
  • Air Force Longevity Service Award - With four oak leaf clusters
    • Awarded to all service members of the U.S. Air Force who complete four years of honorable active or reserve military service with any branch of the United States Armed Forces.
  • NCO Professional Military Education Ribbon - With one oak leaf cluster
    • This award, is awarded to graduates of certified NCO PME schools. Graduation from each successive level of PME entitles the member to an oak leaf cluster.
  • Air Force Training Ribbon
    • This ribbon is awarded to U.S. Air Force service members on completion of initial accession training after Aug. 14, 1974.
  • Devices
  • Bronze Oak leaf cluster
    • A bronze oak leaf cluster is awarded for each additional award of a medal/ribbon. A maximum of four Bronze Oak leaf clusters are worn on any one ribbon (on an Air Force uniform).
  • Silver Oak leaf cluster
    • A silver oak leaf cluster is substituted for/and represents five successive awards of any award/ribbon.
  • Golden frame
    • A golden frame surrounds the Joint Meritorious Unit Award. The frame consists of a 1/16 inch wide metal frame with laurel leaves.
  • "V" Valor device
    • A bronze "V" device is worn on the ribbon to denote award for combat or direct combat support actions.
  • Bronze Star
    • Service members who earned the medal (National Defense Service Medal) during the first qualifying period and who again became entitled to the medal wear a bronze star on the ribbon to denote the second award of the medal.

I earned these ribbons while serving on active duty as an enlisted member in the USAF. Some of those who've served earned more (deservedly), and some who served earned less. I worked hard, did my best, and was rewarded with these awards. They're small pieces of metal and fabric, but they represent a lot of hard work, dedication and selfless service. If you'd like to know more about me (Robert L. Vaessen) and my military service (It was no different than that of millions of Airmen just like me), you should check out my bio page.


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Robert L. Vaessen e-mail: robert robsworld org
Last Updated:
This page has been accessed times since 05 Jan 2005.