Medals and Ribbons

Distinguished Service Cross (United States)

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Distinguished Service Cross
Medals Medals
Current Distinguished Service Cross
Awarded by United States Army
Type Military medal
(Decoration)
Eligibility Distinguishes himself by extraordinary heroism not justifying the Medal of Honor; while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States.
Awarded for Extraordinary heroism not justifying the Medal of Honor; and the act or acts of heroism must have been so notable and have involved risk of life so extraordinary as to set the individual apart from his or her comrades.
Status Currently awarded
Statistics
First awarded 2 January 1918
Total awarded c. 13,400
Precedence
Next (higher) Medal of Honor
Equivalent Navy-Marine Corps: Navy Cross
Air Force: Air Force Cross
Coast Guard: Coast Guard Cross
Next (lower) Distinguished Service Medals: Defense, Army, Navy, Air Force, Coast Guard
Medals

Medals    Medals
Distinguished Service Cross Ribbon (above)
Obverse of the original cross & Reverse of current cross (below)

The Distinguished Service Cross is the second highest military award that can be given to a member of the United States Army (and previously, the United States Army Air Forces), for extreme gallantry and risk of life in actual combat with an armed enemy force. Actions that merit the Distinguished Service Cross must be of such a high degree that they are above those required for all other U.S. combat decorations but do not meet the criteria for the Medal of Honor. The Distinguished Service Cross is equivalent to the Navy Cross (Navy and Marine Corps), the Air Force Cross (Air Force), and the Coast Guard Cross (Coast Guard).

The Distinguished Service Cross was first awarded during World War I. In addition, a number of awards were made for actions before World War I. In many cases, these were to soldiers who had received a Certificate of Merit for gallantry which, at the time, was the only other honor for gallantry the Army could award, or recommend a Medal of Honor. Others were belated recognition of actions in the Philippines, on the Mexican Border and during the Boxer Rebellion.

The Distinguished Service Cross is distinct from the Distinguished Service Medal, which is awarded to persons in recognition of exceptionally meritorious service to the government of the United States in a duty of great responsibility.

Description

A cross of bronze, 2 inches in height and 1 13/16 inches in width with an eagle on the center and a scroll below the eagle bearing the inscription "FOR VALOR". On the reverse side, the center of the cross is circled by a wreath with a space for engraving the name of the recipient.

Service ribbon

The service ribbon is 1 3/8 inches wide and consists of the following stripes:

Criteria

The Distinguished Service Cross is awarded to a person who, while serving in any capacity with the Army, distinguishes himself or herself by extraordinary heroism not justifying the award of a Medal of Honor; while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States; while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing/foreign force; or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing Armed Force in which the United States is not a belligerent party. The act or acts of heroism must have been so notable and have involved risk of life so extraordinary as to set the individual apart from his or her comrades.