Aviation Medals, decorations and honours

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Jul 4, 2021
I'm trying to research what were the different Medals, decorations and honours given specifically to aviators both serving with the allies and axis powers during the First World War and Second World War's. What the different variations? were and why were they awarded?
The US had the Air Medal. It was established by executive order in 1942. Originally this was the criteria to be awarded one:

The original award criteria set by an Army Policy Letter dated September 25, 1942, were for one award of the Air Medal:

  • per each naval vessel or three enemy aircraft in flight confirmed destroyed. An entire aircrew would be credited for the destruction of a ship, but only the pilot or gunner responsible would be credited for destroying an enemy aircraft.
  • per 25 operational flights during which exposure to enemy fire is expected.
  • per 100 operational flights during which exposure to enemy fire is not expected.

The criteria has changed many times over the years since. I was awarded two of them in 2004. One for 6 months of combat flying in Iraq, and one for a specific combat action against enemy insurgents.

Yeah, but this might be a fun thread to compile it all together.

Right, I'm not disparaging the question, only pointing out my inability to answer it. I know a little about USAF medals, UK medals, and stuff like the Rote Adler from Imperial Germany, but very little otherwise. We do, however, have such an eclectic membership from around the world that learning will happen.

ETA: Looking it up, I see that the RA is not an aviation-specific medal. I'd only read of it in that regard, but it's apparently one which can be awarded to both civilians and military of any branch. Again, showing how limited my knowledge is. :)

Third Reich
Also remember the Distinguished Flying Cross, which can be awarded for non-combat activities. In addition, there's the Airman's Medal which is rewarded for heroism, and does not have to relate to flying. Also, the Air Force Cross is awarded for combat situations, but not always flying.
I thought the request was for aviator specific medals.

Virtually all heroism/achievement medals CAN BE awarded for aviators, but also to any service members.
But U.S. Aviators WERE awarded the Silver Star Medal for meritorious action, so why shouldn't that be included?

Otherwise, we can also rule out the "Pour Le Merite" (Blue Max), the "Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuses" (Knight's Cross), Victoria Cross and so on.

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