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Air Force Defines Criteria for New Combat Medal: An airmen whose "single act of extraordinary achievement"—either inside or outside of a combat zone—directly and significantly impacts critical combat operations may be eligible for the new Distinguished Warfare Medal, announced Air Force personnel officials. "The action must include hands-on employment of a weapons system, including remotely controlled assets, or any other activity, in any domain, that had a direct and immediate on-site effect on an engagement or operation against a target," states the service's Feb. 22 release. The airman's act must "clearly set the individual apart from comrades or others in similar situations," states the release. Although involvement in a combat operation is required, the Air Force will under no circumstances award the DWM for acts of valor as other decorations recognize, states the release. The Air Force Secretary has the final approval authority for an airman receiving the medal, which the Pentagon announced earlier this month. Eligibility for the medal is retroactive to Sept. 11, 2001, so former or retired airmen may also be eligible, states the release. (Washington, D.C., report by SMSgt. David Byron)