The United States Mint this week advanced its upcoming series of Armed Forces Silver Medals by unveiling candidate designs for the first two military branches up for honors — the Air Force and the Coast Guard.
Both medals will launch in 2020, featuring large 2-inch formats and containing 2.5 ounces of .999 fine silver.
The medal program is a first for the U.S. Mint as it will celebrate each military branch as a whole and for the entirety of its mission. Past military medals honor specific events like anniversaries or battles, and are not minted in silver.
This article shows Air Force medal candidate designs reviewed by the Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee (CCAC) on Tuesday, Oct. 16. (Look here for the Coast Guard medal designs.) CoinNews will hold off on writing about their recommendations until after members of the Commission of Fine Arts (CFA) have reviewed the same designs.
U.S. Mint design descriptions and images of the 2020 Air Force medal candidates follow:
Although it can trace its roots back to 1907, the Air Force officially became an independent branch of the service in 1947. From these roots, the Air Force has grown into the iconic service we know today– not only through fighter jets, but also drone operations, satellites, rocketry, and much more. The Air Force considers itself a forward-looking organization, always asking "what’s next?" They use the past only in the context of how it will help them shape the future. They also abide by their three core values:
- Integrity first
- Service before self
- Excellence in all we do
Obverse Candidate Design Images and Descriptions
AF-O-01 and AF-O-01A depict fighter jet pilots, flying at high speed alongside other jets. Design 01 depicts F-22 fighter jets and a stylized landscape below. Included Inscriptions are "U.S. AIR FORCE," "CRITICAL TO THE PAST," and "ESSENTIAL TO THE FUTURE."
Design 01A features a female pilot surveying the skies. Two F-35 fighter jets along with a rocket are seen in the background.
AF-O-02 depicts a head-on view of an F-35 fighter jet, rapidly rising skyward. With the Earth below and 13 stars overhead, the design symbolizes the Air Force as a forward-looking organization, building upon its past to help shape the future and the challenges that lie ahead. The inscription "CRITICAL TO THE PAST, ESSENTIAL TO THE FUTURE" follows the curve of the Earth.
AF-O-03 features four F-35 jets in a precision fingertip formation as they fly over Mt. Rushmore. The Air Force logo is superimposed on the rock face. Inscriptions are "UNITED STATES AIR FORCE," "CRITICAL TO THE PAST," and "ESSENTIAL TO THE FUTURE."
AF-O-04 depicts an Airman remotely piloting a drone, demonstrating the superiority of the Air Force in the areas of technology, intelligence, surveillance, and cyber and unmanned combat. A satellite is also seen in the background. Included inscriptions are "U.S. AIR FORCE," "CRITICAL TO THE PAST" and "ESSENTIAL TO THE FUTURE."
AF-O-05 and AF-O-05A features a B-2 bomber taking off with the runway converging at the horizon as the vast and clear open sky above symbolizes air superiority. Inscriptions are "CRITICAL TO THE PAST," "ESSENTIAL TO THE FUTURE," and "UNITED STATES AIR FORCE."
Design 05A includes the Air Force logo.
AF-O-07 and AF-O-08 depict a falcon as a swift and agile master of the skies. It represents the speed and maneuverability of the Air Force in its defense of the country, and its readiness to fight when needed. The falcon is paired with a lightning bolt, representing the fast and powerful strike of the Air Force.
Obverse 07 includes the inscription "U.S. AIR FORCE" beneath the lightning bolt.
Obverse 08 includes an F-35 jet. The inscription reads "UNITED STATES AIR FORCE."
AF-O-10 focuses on symbols of forward-looking technology alongside current Air Force staples – a drone, satellite, a pilot, and an F-35 jet. The inscription "U.S. AIR FORCE," is included in the design.
AF-O-11, AF-O-11A, and AF-O-12 feature F-35 jets, with graphic contrails illustrating their speed and maneuverability. Included inscriptions are "UNITED STATES AIR FORCE," "CRITICAL TO THE PAST," and "ESSENTIAL TO THE FUTURE."
Obverse 11 and Obverse 12 include a field of stars, representing space technology and defense. This element combined with the graphic contrails creates a stylized version of the stars and stripes in the American flag.
Reverse Candidate Design Images and Descriptions
AF-R-01 depicts a head-on view of an F-35 jet. In the background, the Air Force insignia is emblazoned across the center. Contrails of three additional jets flying in formation recall the spires of the Air Force Memorial and the core values of the Air Force. The inscription "1947" represents the year the Air Force was established as an independent service.
AF-R-02 features three F-35 jets flying in formation, evoking the spires of the U.S. Air Force Memorial and representing their three core values. An American flag waves behind the outstretched wings of a bald eagle that clutches a lightning bolt in its talons. The inscription "1947" is also included.
AF-R-03 depicts four F-35 jets in fingertip flight formation over a curved horizon emanating from the inscribed date "1947." The design represents the evolution of the U.S. Air Force from its inception to present day with the curve of the Earth symbolizing the expanding of operations into the frontiers of space. The additional inscription is "U.S. AIR FORCE."
AF-R-04 depicts members of the U.S. Air Force Honor Guard in ceremonial assembly at the Air Force Memorial. The memorial’s three spires evoke the image of aircraft contrails. The inscriptions "SERVICE BEFORE SELF," "INTEGRITY FIRST," "EXCELLENCE IN ALL WE DO," and "EST. 1947" are around the outer border. The Air Force insignia is also included on the lower right side.
AF-R-05 features a Battlefield Airman in the center of the design, while a second Airman is piloting an unmanned drone from a remote location. A satellite that aids in his communication with the drone is seen in the background. The inscription "1947" represents the year the Air Force was established as an independent service.
AF-R-06 features the outstretched wings of an Eagle framing the core values and the logo of the U.S. Air Force. The inscriptions "INTEGRITY FIRST," "SERVICE BEFORE SELF," EXCELLENCE IN ALL WE DO," and "EST. 1947" round out the design.
AF-R-08 AND AF-R-09 utilize the Air Force log as a focal point. Included inscriptions are "EXCELLENCE IN ALL WE DO," "SERVICE BEFORE SELF," "INTEGRITY FIRST," "CRITICAL TO THE PAST," and "ESSENTIAL TO THE FUTURE."
Reverse 08 pairs the logo with a falcon, while Reverse 09 offers a larger version of the logo.
AF-R-10 features an unusual perspective of the Air Force Memorial spires. The stripes in the upper right are evocative of aircraft contrails and anchor the Air Force logo. Included inscriptions are "INTEGRITY FIRST," "SERVICE BEFORE SELF," and "EXCELLENCE IN ALL WE DO."
AF-R-11 depicts the Air Force Thunderbirds flying with skill and precision in the fingertip flight formation over the Statue of Liberty. The inscriptions "CRITICAL TO THE PAST, ESSENTIAL TO THE FUTURE" are arced around the bottom border.
AF-R-12 depicts the Air Force Memorial as seen from the sculpture’s base looking skyward to its three spires. The design emphasizes the significance of the three core values of the Air Force. The inscriptions "INTEGRITY FIRST," "SERVICE BEFORE SELF," "EXCELLENCE IN ALL WE DO," "UNITED STATES AIR FORCE," and the date "1947" encircle the design.
AF-R-15 depicts the U.S. Air Force logo. The inscription "UNITED STATES AIR FORCE" is seen above the logo.
Limits and Possible Bronze Versions
The U.S. Mint has indicated that the series of Armed Forces Silver Medals will not be subject to individual or program mintage limits, and that their designs may later appear on traditional 3-inch and 1.5-inch bronze medals.