Order of Aeronautical Merit, III Class Breast Star (white distinction)
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The Order of Aeronautical Merit (Orden al Mérito Aeronáutico) was established by Francisco Franco on November 30, 1945. It was awarded to members of the Spanish Air Force in recognition of distinguished services and extraordinary acts of merit. Also, it was awarded to civilians who had contributed to the development of the Spanish Air Force.
The original grades were Grand Cross, III Class Breast Star, II Class Breast Star, I Class Cross, and Silver Cross. The III Class Breast Star was added in 1961.
Initially, the Order was awarded with white enamels in recognition of general service to the country. The white enamels with red bars awards were awarded to pensioned, and it is not clear if the red enamel awards for merit in wartime were officially established.
The cross exhibits a clasp on the 12 o'clock arm that features the date and name of the campaign. If the Order is awarded more than once, the clasps of each event are added on the cross's arms.
The Order was amended by Juan Carlos I in 1995, and it was created the red, yellow and blue distinctions.
Some awards feature an inscription that stands to "MA" (Mérito Aeronáutico/Aeronautical Merit.)
The Order is classified into Types. Type I includes the Order between 1945 and 1995, while Type II includes the Order after 1995 amended.
In Type I, the III Class Breast Star features a gold-colored (gilt) plaque, a silver rectangle bar under the crown on the top cross arm, and four alternating silver-colored lions and castles between the arms of the cross.
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