Air Force officials released criteria for the new “V”, “C” and “R” devices, following the secretary of Defense’s Jan. 7, 2016, authorization. Air Force illustration.
The Air Force recently released the criteria for the “R” device, to be awarded for meritorious achievement during a combat mission that is controlled by someone who is not on the battlefield.
The “R” device will be awarded for remote but “direct, hands-on employment.” Such operations may include remotely piloted aircraft or cyber missions. The device may be affixed to non-combat performance awards, for performance in any domain. However, the individual cannot have been exposed to personal hostile action while engaged in military operations against an enemy, involved in a conflict against an opposing foreign force, or while serving with friendly forces engaged in operations with an opposing armed force in which the US is not an aggressive party, according to an Air Force release.
Airmen in the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance field are another example of those eligible. “These members create direct combat effects that lead to strategic outcomes and deliver lethal force, while physically located outside of the combat area,” Lt. Gen. Gina Grosso, deputy chief of staff for manpower, said in the release.
The award is retroactive to Jan. 7, 2016, when the device was first announced.
The service also introduced the “C” device, which is different from the “V” device in that the former is awarded for service or achievement under combat conditions, whereas the “V” device is specifically for “combat heroism” in a single achievement, the Army clarified in an earlier release. The “C” device distinguishes the award as having been earned in combat compared to awards without the device.
The awards eligible for the device are the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the service-specific Commendation Medal, the Joint Service Achievement Medal, and the service-specific Achievement Medal.