My favorite Captain has a good post up about one of my pet peeves (USAF Division), the proliferation of awards and decorations, i.e., ribbons or "fruit salad." According to Air Force Magazine's 2005 USAF Almanac, the Air Force currently awards 63 ribbons. Sixty-flipping-three! Want to see all of them, plus descriptions of the awards? Be prepared to browse for a while, coz there's ten pages, 15 to a page, except for the first and last pages. The AF link also contains ribbons previously awarded during WW II and Korea, so the ribbon count exceeds the AF Almanac's 63. Here's what ribbon inflation means:
Outstanding Airman of the Year Ribbon, awarded to airman nominated by the MAJCOMs, FOAs, and DRUs to HQ AFPC/DPPPRS for competition in the 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year (12 OAY) Program. Device: Oak leaf Cluster, and Service Star.It's not enough to win a "special trophy or award" or be nominated (not WIN, nominated!) as an Outstanding Airman of the Year, you get a ribbon, too! Been assigned overseas? Short or long tour? There's a ribbon for either. You add a ribbon to your collection just by virtue of being in place outside the US. (Full disclosure: The AF Overseas Ribbon existed before I retired; it's one of my nine.) Or how about this?
Air Force Recognition Ribbon, awarded to named individual Air Force recipients of special trophies and awards except the 12 Outstanding Airmen of the Year nominees. Bronze oak-leaf clusters will be worn on the ribbon bar to indicate subsequent awards.
Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal, who subsequent to 31 December 1992, perform outstanding volunteer community service of a sustained, direct and consequential nature.That used to be a line-item in a performance report, not a flipping medal.
Lest I sound like a grumpy old man, here's the point. Award inflation cheapens the whole concept of awards. All USAF personnel, from airmen to general officers, look like bananna republic generals these days. Something's very wrong when an Airman First Class with two years of service has more ribbons than this guy.