U.S. Space Force Maj. Dylan Caudill, a member of the Office of the Chief of Space Operations, presents the new service dress uniform to guardians at Buckley Space Force Base, Colo., Oct 20, 2021. The service dress prototype features a midnight blue, double-breasted overcoat with a matching tie, grey undershirt and charcoal pants, taking inspiration from 19th-century military uniforms. (Airman 1st Class Wyatt Stabler/Space Force)
Five awards have been updated to include the Space Force. (Airman 1st Class Wyatt Stabler/Space Force)

A handful of military awards and decorations got an update Monday, including expanding eligibility to the Space Force and cleaning up some gendered language, in an executive order signed by President Joe Biden.

Guardians can now earn the following awards:

  • Air Medal, for “meritorious achievement while participating in an aerial flight.”
  • Good Conduct Medal, for three years of service without disciplinary action.
  • Bronze Star, for meritorious service or heroic action in a combat zone.
  • Presidential Unit Citation, for units that display extraordinary heroism in a combat zone.
  • Defense Distinguished Service Medal, for “exceptionally meritorious service in a duty of great responsibility.”

The move is another step in legitimizing the sixth and youngest military service, which former President Donald Trump established in December 2019.


Elsewhere in Monday’s order, Biden adjusted some of the verbiage from those medals and in a 2018 executive order that lays out which authorities are authorized to award which decorations.

All instances of “any person” were updated to “those individuals,” and replacing an mentions of “himself” or “herself” with “themselves.”

Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.

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