The Air Force Commendation Medal (AFCM) may be awarded to any member of the United States Air Force, on active duty or inactive reserve, who distinguishes himself or herself by heroism, meritorious achievement or meritorious service. This medal is typically awarded to junior NCOs that meet the criteria for this medal.
The Air Force Commendation Medal is awarded for outstanding achievement (generally an action or accomplishment) or meritorious service (generally a period of exemplary service) or acts of courage which don't meet the requirements for the award of the Airmans Medal or Bronze Star Medal and sustained meritorious performance by crew members.
Award of the "V" device for Valor for a deployment or operation is dependent upon the AOR being declared a hostile environment by the JCS, or hostile acts identified by the unified commander or higher authority. Award of the "V" device is based solely on the acts or services of individuals who are exposed to personal hazards due to direct hostile action during a contingency deployment operation. For a single event, Air Force Component Commanders may authorize the "V" device when a single event, i.e., terrorist act, isolated combat-type incident, etc., warrants the "V" device distinction. The "V" device will not be awarded for normal peacetime acts or services.