PCS decorations must be earned

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Kurt Megela
  • 65th Air Base Wing Inspector General
Awarding of decorations when an individual permanently changes stations is not always a simple decision.

The closing line on an Air Force commendation medal reads, "The distinctive accomplishments of Sergeant or Airman X reflect credit upon him or herself and the United States Air Force."

PCS decorations are awarded for one or more years of hard work, progression toward an educational degree, and involvement in the community and base. Nowhere in Air Force Instruction 36-2803 does it state that just because an individual is changing stations, they are entitled to a decoration.

Air Force Instruction 36-2803, para 2.1 states, "All military personnel on active duty are eligible for consideration for a U.S. military decoration." The key words in that sentence are "eligible for consideration." Note that it doesn't say that individuals are entitled. When you PCS, you are "eligible for consideration," for the possibility of receiving a PCS decoration.

Further statements within the AFI make it about as clear as possible. AFI 36-2803, para 2.2.6, states, "No individual is automatically entitled to an award upon completion of an operational TDY (temorary duty) or departure for an assignment."

The decision to award PCS decorations rests clearly on the supervisor and unit leadership. They must consider whether you excel at your job, are involved in the community and base, and continue your education through CCAF or PME. Not everyone juggles these at the same time.

Demonstrate your willingness to be the best airman you can possibly be and the decorations will certainly follow. The amount of decorations that you will earn in your career is a direct reflection of the effort that you put into your career.

If you believe that showing up for work on time and doing the minimum will earn you a PCS medal, you need a new angle. Try writing your own decoration and see if you struggle to define your accomplishments. It's never too late to sign up for that class or volunteer for community service. Your efforts now will shape your career path in the future. Do your accomplishments over the length of your tour reflect credit upon yourself and the United States Air Force?