If you have recently enlisted in the United States Air Force, you may be curious as to what the easiest Air Force ribbons to get are. And ya know what? You are one lucky son of a gun if this happens to be the first page you clicked onto; ‘cause you know what they say about curiosity. It killed the cat. And while you may not be a cat, nor would clicking onto another article have indisputably killed you, it may have killed a little part inside of you. Now, if you’ve already happened to take a gander elsewhere you probably know what I’m talking about, but I’m just going to clear the air force (MAN, I’m corny!) those of you who are sitting there in front of a screen of some sort thinking this is all just a bunch of sixes and sevens. I hate to be the one to break it to you, but as eager as you may be about earning as many Air Force ribbons and medals as possible—some folks just don’t see it that way. As one offended, obvious USAF member stated, “this is the easiest ribbon for you to get hands down…”. Only when you click the provided link, a big ribbon with the words “fuck you” written across it is all that pops up. One Army veteran summed up many other’s upheaval by saying, “If that’s all you care about is easy and looking pretty for the ladies/gents, then stay out of the military”, but another USAF member wasn’t as nice when he went on to say, “As a member of the USAF and a person who has earned EVERY ribbon I wear with my blood, sweat and tears, I find your question insulting and a disgrace. Go back to your room and play with your teddy bear. Let the real men serve.” Ouch, right? And I even left out the part where he makes an assumption regarding the size of your genitalia!
Don’t worry. I’m not going to call you out and label you a pussy like those other dudes. Perhaps they’ve already earned their Air Force Longevity Service Award and—in the minimal four years it takes to earn this ribbon—have forgotten all about the strapping young men who, too were enthusiastic about “being all they can be”, but still a little anxious to “aim high. Fly, fight and win”! Or, perhaps they’ve actively taken part in combat some way or another, received their Air Force Combat Action Medal and suddenly, that Air Force Volunteer Medal doesn’t seem so bad ass anymore… Or, maybe—just maybe—they have you pegged and you really are a douche who thinks they can bullshit their way through basic military training, earn a few awards and decorations (afi) along the way, then hope your decorated Air Force uniform can get you bumping uglies with the ladies, gain the respect of your parents or whyever the hell someone would join any branch of service for reasons other than to protect and serve their country. In which case, may I suggest a puppy? ‘Cause with that mindset, you’re probably not even cut out for any of the 5 Easiest Air Force Jobs to Get. And frankly, if you can’t handle me pointing that out to you, then you’re not gonna be able to handle a drill sergeant in your face—constantly belittling you and yelling obscenities about your mother, who—by the way—I heard was featured on 10 Biggest Deepest Holes in the World. See what I did there? If you’re not serious about serving your country and have now made it your lifelong duty to make me pay for that statement, then you’re either gonna hafta man up or stay out of the military!
If, however, you’re in it for the right reasons, first of all, I apologize for any jokes made at your mother’s expense; and second, don’t take the harsh words said by former members of the military to heart. There’s no shame in setting easily attainable and realistic goals for yourself and making it a point to earn all five of the easiest Air Force ribbons to obtain is a great start!
But first, let me touch base on what exactly went into determining the 5 easiest Air Force ribbons to get. Aside from the easiest ribbons to obtain, you may even be wondering just how many Air Force ribbons are there to earn. If we take a look at the official Air Force medals chart we can see that it includes 89 different medals and ribbons(most medals have a corresponding ribbon to go with them). They are conveniently listed by rank, starting with the Medal of Honor; which is considered to be the hardest ribbon to earn in any branch of military service. So, you would think that the easiest ribbons to obtain would be the ones towards the bottom of the list. However, that is not how it works. According to the chart, the lowest ranking award is the Republic of Korea Korean Service Medal. Now, in order to receive this medal you, basically, would have had to serve in Korea during the Korean War. There are a few other minor stipulations, however solely basing your probability of obtaining this particular award on the simple fact that you weren’t even alive during the years of 1950 to 1953, it’s safe to conclude that you are more likely to earn the Medal of Honor than you would be to go back in time and serve in the Korean War. That being said, if you haven’t already earned this award it’s also safe to say that you never will. The same goes for the 18 other foreign military awards located on the bottom of the chart.
So, we’ve established that just because a ribbon or medal has a low ranking doesn’t necessarily mean that it will be easier to earn. Hell, it may not even be possible to earn it! Looking past the foreign military awards altogether, we’re definitely going to come along some of the easier ribbons to obtain right off the bat. I won’t spoil the surprise; rather, I will share with you that while most of these medals and ribbons are indeed easier to acquire, many of them simply take a lot of time to get. The Air Force Recruiter Ribbon is a great example. First, you have to graduate Air Force Recruiting School, then you have to successfully complete three years of recruiting duty. Plus, then you run into the problem of other Air Force members seeing your ribbon and assuming you took the easy way out while they shed their blood, sweat, and tears on the field, again. But that’s beside the point! The fact of the matter here is that you can earn every last one of the 5 easiest Air Force ribbons to get and THEN some before you would even be eligible for that recruiter ribbon. And I’ll let ya in on another little perk: some of these awards even rank higher than the Air Force Recruiter Ribbon does.
In the end, I’ve checked requirements for all 89 medals, and picked those that anyone could earn and in the shortest amount of time. Let’s check them out!
5. Air Force Recognition Ribbon
As the highest ranking ribbon on our list of easiest Air Force ribbons to get, you would think that it would be relatively difficult to obtain. But it’s really not! This simple light blue ribbon with a central red stripe and thinner red and white stripes along the edges was authorized in 1980 by the United States Air Force Chief of Staff to recognize those who have earned “non-portable” awards. If you take a look at which Air Force-level special trophies and awards qualifies one to receive the recognition ribbon, you will start to see that there are so many of these awards that it’s kind of an “everyone gets a prize” type of situation.
4. Antarctica Service Medal
While the Air Force has the most ribbons out of any branch of military service, many of them are not universal between branches. This, however, is not the case with the Antarctica Service Medal, next in line on our list of easiest Air Force ribbons to get. Authorized by an Act of Congress in 1961, this medal can be awarded to ANYONE who the U.S. Military feels deserving of it! But as a member of the Air Force, one would need to serve either 30 days of active duty anywhere south of latitude 60 degrees south, or just 15 days of active duty at a station on the actual continent, itself. And unlike other medals where your time is exempt unless served consecutively, your time in Antarctica counts even nonconsecutively. You can even be awarded this medal after 15 flight missions into or out of the Antarctic.
3. Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon
In 1962 the Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon was authorized by the Secretary of the Air Force. In order to receive this ribbon among the other easiest Air Force ribbons to get, all you have to do is qualify as an expert in small-arms marksmanship either with your issued rifle (the M-16) or handgun. I get that you may not be an awesome shot at the moment, but dammit even earning the easiest Air Force ribbons takes some effort! If I could consistently hit a small target with a rifle from over 50 yards away as a 9-year-old girl (and show-up most all of my boyfriends growing up… toot, toot!), you can practice until you’re confident with your shooting skills!
2. USAF NCO PME Graduate Ribbon
Up until now, these ribbons have been in the order as they would appear on the chart. However, all you have to do in order to get the USAF NCO PME Graduate Ribbon is graduate from a certified Non-Commissioned Officer Professional Military Education school. No wonder it’s on the list of easiest Air Force ribbons to get. These schools include the Airman Leadership School, NCO Leadership School, NCO Academy and SNCO Academy. While some of these different courses may take longer to complete, the ALS program is a course that only takes 192 hours to complete. And with the skills you will learn, it’ll give you a better chance at earning even more ribbons. Definitely a win-win!
1. Air Force Training Ribbon
The 5 easiest Air Force Ribbons to get just wouldn’t be complete without the Air Force Training Ribbon. It’s definitely a no-brainer, considering you will receive this ribbon once you’ve completed the initial accession training. Now, that’s not to say you won’t earn other awards and decorations along the way, but so long as you don’t quit before your training is even up, you are guaranteed to earn yourself this ribbon! It may be the lowest ranking ribbon (above foreign military awards, of course), but, hey!—it’s a start!
So, what do you think, which among above mentioned easiest Air Force ribbons to get is easiest to get?