USAF OFFICER AIRCREW BADGE
The design of today’s United States Air Force Officer Aircrew badge is identical to the one issued in World War II by its predecessor, the U.S. Army Air Forces, as well as the Aircrew badge awarded to enlisted Airmen today. Created to acknowledge the training involved to serve as an aircrew member aboard a military aircraft, the badge was awarded to officers performing duties such as reconnaissance, communications, intelligence-gathering, meteorological observations, and so forth.
With the creation of Aeronautical ratings for roles such as Air Battle Manager and Combat Systems Operator, however, the number of non-rated aircrew positions dramatically decreased. Today, the primary qualifications for non-rated aircrew members to be awarded the Officer aircrew badge are that they are qualified for USAF aviation service, assigned an active or inactive Flying Status Code, and are not a rated asset in the Air Reserve Components. (Of course, they must also be an officer.) A non-rated aircrew member is defined as someone is qualified for aviation service, assigned to an approved aircrew prefixed position, listed in the crew composition complement of an aircraft (per AFI 65-503), and whose duties are necessary on a full-time basis for the aircraft to perform its primary mission.
There are some exceptions to these rules, however. Aircrew members can be awarded the badge if they were medically disqualified from further performance of their duties because of wound suffered in action while in a designated combat zone; if they were medically disqualified as a due to injuries received in an aircraft mishap while carrying out their primary aircrew member duty; if they took part in at least ten combat mission as a primary aircrew member in a designated combat zone; or if they were assigned to perform aircrew member duties and completed at least one operational mission in space, which is defined as fifty miles above the earth’s surface.
The basic Officer Aircrew badge is awarded to officers who have accrued 36 paid months of operational flying while currently assigned to an aircrew-prefixed Duty Air Force Specialty Code (B, C, F, X, K, or Q). Senior level requires 1300 hours of flight time or 72 paid months of operational flying duty, and the numbers increase to 2300 hours and 144 paid months respectively for the Master-level badge.