The Air and Space Overseas Service Ribbon (ASOR) was approved in 1980 by order of General Lew Allen, Air Force Chief of Staff. The award is issued in two grades, being that of “short tour” and “long tour.” On 16 November 2020, the Air Force Overseas Service Ribbon was renamed to the Air and Space Overseas Service Ribbon by the Secretary of the Air Force.
The Air and Space Overseas Short Tour Service Ribbon is awarded for less than two years of duty or as directed by Department of the Air Force policies. Normally, the Short Tour Service Ribbon is awarded for a permanent duty assignment of at least 300 days within an 18-month time span; such assignments are generally served unaccompanied by family members, though a short tour assignment need not be unaccompanied. Historically, most Short Tour Service Ribbons were awarded for service in South Korea, by far the most common short tour assignment in the USAF. From June 2003 until April 2011, Airmen serving in hostile environments for 181 days or more qualified for the Short Tour Service Ribbon under a temporary exception to rules outlined in AFI 36–2110. However, this exemption was rescinded by General Norton A. Schwartz in April 2011 and Airmen will no longer qualify for the award if they arrive in a hostile environment on or after 1 July 2011.