The Air Force Expeditionary Service Ribbon (AFESR) is awarded in two degrees: the Basic Ribbon indicates completion of a contingency Air Expeditionary Force (AEF) deployment, while the addition of a Gold Border represents participation in combat operations during an AEF deployment. Secretary of the Air Force James G. Roches approved the AFESR on June 18, 2003 as a way of recognizing active duty, Reserve, and Air National Guard personnel who have completed a contingency deployment after October 1, 1999. To qualify as a deployment, the personnel must have spent either 45 consecutive days or 90 cumulative days in deployed status.

Permanent party personnel who’ve been assigned to air expeditionary units are also eligible for the AFESR; permanent party members assigned to Air Expeditionary Task Force (AETF) units can qualify to receive the AFESR in addition to the Air Force Overseas Ribbon by fulfilling the 45-consecutive-day requirement. However, only one AFESR is authorized for each deployment, regardless of how many days in excess of the 45 consecutive/90 non-consecutive minimums the deployment lasted.

Ten months after the establishment of the AFESR, the addition of a gold border to the ribbon indicating combat participation was approved. Permanent party personnel are eligible for the gold border, as are personnel who engaged in carrying out or supporting combat operations in a designated combat zone. Combat Zones are geographical areas designated by the Command-in-Chief through Executive Orders or qualified hazardous duty where the personnel are receiving Imminent Danger or Hostile Fire Pay (IDP/HFP).

Personnel must first meet all the Basic AFESR eligibility requirements in order to be considered for the Gold Border. To be awarded the Gold Border, members must have been assigned to an Air Expeditionary Forces Plan Identification or on Contingency/Exercise/Deployment orders, as well as have been receiving IDP/HFP. For Aircrew member engaged in combat action, they must be assigned on aeronautical orders in direct support of a combat zone.

Several circumstances can lead to the waiver of the time-eligibility requirements for the Gold Border. These include engaging in actual combat against the enemy; being injured, wounded, or killed and requiring evacuation from the combat zone; being a regularly assigned aircrew member flying combat or combat-support sorties in a combat zone; and employing a weapon from outside the designated combat zone but in a combat operation.

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As a certified manufacturer of uniforms and insignia, The Salute Uniforms considers it a privilege to provide the members of our nation’s military services with superior-quality apparel and accoutrements. We guarantee that every product we offer is made in the USA and meets or surpasses Mil-Spec standards. Browse our online catalog and discover how our tradition of excellence and commitment to innovation makes us your best source for military uniforms, insignias, medals, and accessories.


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Salute Industries Inc, proud maker of The Salute Uniforms.
105 Apache Drive, Archdale, NC, 27263.