Armed conflict. A prolonged period of sustained combat involving members of the U.S. Armed Forces against a foreign belligerent. The term connotes more than a military engagement of limited duration or for limited objectives, and involves a significant use of military and civilian forces.
Examples of armed conflict are World Wars I and II, and the Korean and Vietnam Conflicts.
Examples of military actions that are not armed conflicts are as follows:
The incursion into Lebanon in 1958, and the peacekeeping force there in 1983 and 1984.
The incursions into the Dominican Republic in 1965 and into Libya in 1986.
The intervention into Grenada in 1983.
Civilian or contractual group. An organization similarly situated to the Women's Air Forces Service Pilots (a group of Federal civilian employees attached to the U.S. Army Air Force in World War II). Those organization members rendered service to the U.S. Armed Forces during a period of armed conflict in a capacity that was then considered civilian employment with the Armed Forces, or the result of a contract with the U.S. Government, to provide direct support to the Armed Forces.
Recognized group. A group whose service the Secretary of the Air Force administratively has determined to have been “active duty for the purposes of all laws administered by the Department of Veterans Affairs”; i.e., VA benefits under 38 U.S.C. 101.
Similarly situated. A civilian or contractual group is similarly situated to the Women's Air Forces Service Pilots when it existed as an identifiable group at the time the service was being rendered to the U.S. Armed Forces during a period of armed conflict. Persons who individually provided support through civilian employment or contract, but who were not members of an identifiable group at the time the services were rendered, are not “similarly situated” to the Women's Air Forces Service Pilots of World War II.