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Etched in Bronze: The Air Force clarified the process by which it awards the Bronze Star Medal in the face of criticism over the frequency of the award. "The number of [Bronze Star Medal] recipients in no way diminishes the accomplishments of those individuals who have earned it; rather, it allows commanders to recognize meritorious or heroic service," said Will Brown, Air Force Evaluations and Recognitions Branch chief at the Air Force Personnel Center. The Air Force Secretary is authorized to grant Bronze Stars for either heroic or meritorious achievement or service not involving aerial flight, and in connection with operations against any opposing armed force, or while serving with friendly forces engaged in armed conflict. The "V" for valor device distinguishes individuals who have been engaged in conflict to a lesser degree than what might qualify them for a Silver Star. Candidates can expect a consistent and rigorous review process for the Bronze Star or higher awards, said Col. Scott Arcuri, Air Forces Central's director of manpower, personnel, and services. The approval rate for candidate decorations is between 50 percent and 60 percent, he noted in the April 24 release. (Washington, D.C., report by Amaani Lyle)