AIR RESERVE FORCES MERITORIOUS SERVICE

Precisely how much time elapsed between the establishment of the Air Reserve Forces Meritorious Service (ARFMSM) ribbon and its expansion to a full-fledged medal is unclear. The decoration was created by the Secretary of the Air Force in April, 1964 and titled Air Force Reserve Ribbon; according to the Air Force Personnel Center (AFPC), the decoration was amended to medal status on May 1, 1973.

But numerous reputable sources say that both the name change and redesignation as a medal occurred under the tenure of Secretary of the Air Forced Robert Seamans, Jr. on November 2, 1971. What likely transpired is that Seamans established the medal in 1971, but the red tape involved in medal creation meant it was not fully authorized and ready to be issued until the 1973 date mentioned by the AFPC. This is borne out by the fact that the original requirement of four years of continuous service was changed to three years for Airmen beginning their Reserve or Air National Guard service after June 30, 1972.

The three-year requirement is partially waived for Airmen who end their enlisted Reserve status as either a commissioned or warrant officer and have accumulated at least one year of continuous service. While those called up for active duty do not continue to accrue creditable service time toward the ARFMSM as they fulfill their duty, it does constitute a break in service, which would require them to begin accumulating the three-years of continuous service from scratch. Service in the Reserve branches of Sister Services does not count toward the minimum service period, nor does time spent in service as a commissioned officer.

Any additional awards of the ARFMSM beyond the initial decoration are denoted by oak leaf clusters.
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