Authorized by Secretary of the Air Force Eugene M. Zuckert in 1962 with an effective date of January 1, 1963, the Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon (SAEMR) replaced the service’s Small Arms Marksmanship Certificate of Achievement and provided more recognition for Air Force personnel who had put in the practice and study to become superior marksmen with the standard-issue small arms.

The SAEMR can be earned by both active-duty Air Force Personnel as well as Reservists (regardless of their duty status) by achieving an “Expert” score while qualifying with either the M-16 rifle (this classification also encompasses M-4 and GAU-5 carbines) or their issue handgun. This is typically done through the Air Force Qualification Course, but there are also orientation courses that are prescribed in other Air Force Instructions that meet the award’s standard; other paths to earning the award include successfully completing a Sister Service’s qualification program or completing the Air Force’s Combat Rifle Program.

For nearly a decade after the SAEMR was authorized, those who earned Expert score for both rifle and handgun qualification received the same ribbon as those who qualified with only one type of weapon. The regulations were changed so that, after 22 June 1972, Air Force personnel who achieved Expert scores in both categories would be authorized to wear a bronze service star on the SAEMR ribbon.

SAEMR awardees receive just one ribbon regardless of how many times they achieve the Expert qualification, and they also are awarded a single bronze star no matter how often they earn Expert scores for both rifle and handgun categories.

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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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105 Apache Drive, Archdale, NC, 27263.