USAF ENLISTED AIRCREW BADGE
The Enlisted Aircrew Member occupational badge is worn by Airmen representing eight Air Force Specialty Codes (AFSCs) in the Aircrew Operations Career Field. In several instances, the duties of the specialty are self-explanatory, such as 1A0X1 In-Flight Refueling, 1A2X1 Aircraft Loadmaster, 1A8X1 Airborne Cryptologic Language Analyst, 1A6X1 Flight Attendant, and 1A8X2 Airborne ISR (Intelligence/Surveillance/Reconnaissance) Operator.
The operation, control, and regulation of numerous aircraft systems (communication, navigation, hydraulic/pneudraulic, environmental, auxiliary, power, electrical, pressurization, and ventilation) falls under the purview of 1A1X1 Flight Engineers. They also aid pilots regarding engine startups and shutdowns, provide guidance on visual ground clearance, and keep an eye on systems monitoring overheating, depressurization, or other system failures. Airborne Mission Systems Operators (1A3X1) are responsible for the maintenance, repair, and operation of several specialized airborne platforms such as computers, electronic protection, and electro-optical sensors.
Special Missions Aviation specialists (1A9X1) carry out critical inspection and maintenance routines on aircraft slated for Special Operations missions. They oversee cargo and passenger loading and offloading, paying special attention that all items are restrained securely, then calculating weight and balance to ensure both are within margins of safety. These specialists also handle armament and weapons, including operation of airborne weapons as needed during the mission.
Candidates for careers in any of the Aircrew Operations Career Field will need to successfully complete not only Basic Training, but also the Aircrew Fundamentals Course and the Initial Qualification Training (IQT) for the given specialty. The amount of time spent in that intial training varies widely, from just a few weeks for specialites such as In-Flight Refueling or Flight Attendant to over a year for a field such as Airborne Cryptologic Language Analyst, and some jobs come with highly stringent security clearance checkes.
The Enlisted Aircrew Member badge is awarded at Basic, Senior, and Master Levels. Unlike occupational badges that are awarded upon completion of technical school, the basic Enlisted Aircrew badge requires Airmen to log 36 months of paid operational flying duty before it can be awarded. Senior-level badges mandate 1300 hours of flight time or either 1300 hours or 72 months of paid operational flying duty, numbers that increase to 2300 hours or 3000 hours/144 paid months for the Master badge.