Air Force Cross of Aeronautical Merit, Officer
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The Air Force Cross of Aeronautical Merit (Cruz de la Fuerza Aérea al Mérito Aeronáutico), a.k.a. Order of Aeronautical Merit Antonio Ricaurte, was established by decree on March 20, 1948, and was regulated on January 31, 1983.
It was founded to reward foreign civilian and military personnel, members of the Colombian Air Force, as well as members of the Colombian Armed Forces and National Police, in recognition of valor and military virtue, as well as distinguished and notable service to the Colombian Air Force.
The Order's grades are Grand Cross, Grand Officer, Commander, Officer, Knight, and Companion. It is not clear if the grade denotes the rank of the recipient.
The Oder has no motto.
The Order was founded in honor of Antonio Ricaurte (1786-1814) who sacrificed himself in the Battle of San Mateo. When the royalist army invaded San Mateo, they took hold of most of the estate, including the main house, which was used as the principal ammunition depot. Ricaurte realized that the main house could not remain in the hands of the royalists, then he ordered his men to leave and lit a barrel of gunpowder inside, thus killing himself and a large number of the royalist troops who were readily occupying the precincts. Thus, Bolívar seized the opportunity and launched an attack to regain control of the main house and later the whole of the estate.
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