Like It Never Left

Air Force officials announced Wednesday that the service has reactivated the Air Force Good Conduct Medal, as of Feb. 11, and will award it retroactively to airmen who qualify going back to the decoration’s suspension in 2005. “We’re going to make it so that there was never a gap,” Lt. Gen. Richard Newton, head of manpower and personnel on the Air Staff, told reporters. The reinstituted medal will be presented to all airmen who accumulate three years of good conduct. Air Staff officials began working in January 2008 on the restoration of the decoration—the second oldest medal in the Air Force’s history—in concert with the service’s top enlisted man, CMSAF Rodney McKinley. McKinley said at the briefing that the decision to cancel the medal back in 2005 came from the belief that all airmen are expected to exhibit good behavior at all times, making an award for good conduct a bit redundant. But the move had “unintended consequences,” he said, as it raised the ire of many retirees and was perceived as a slight to the enlisted corps. “It’s been a goal of mine to bring this back,” said McKinley.