Service Cross - Army, Navy, Air Force

The Army Distinguished Service Cross

US Army Distinguished Service Cross

The Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) was established by order of President Woodrow Wilson and was born as part of the new Pyramid Of Honor that was established during the 1917 review of Medal of Honor awards.  Prior to establishment of the DSC by virtue of War Department General Orders Number 6 of January 12, 1918, and by Act of Congress on July 9, 1918 the Medal of Honor was the only American award for valor in combat available to American servicemen.

The Distinguished Service Cross has been in effect since April 6, 1917; however, under certain circumstances the Distinguished Service Cross may be awarded for services rendered prior to April 6, 1917.  It is the highest U.S. Army award that can be awarded to civilians in service to the military or to foreign nationals.  Even in these cases, the criteria for award are the same.

Awarded to U.S. and Foreign military personnel and civilians who have displayed extraordinary heroism in one of the following situations:

  1. While engaged in action against an enemy of the United States,
  2. While engaged in military operations involving conflict with a foreign force, or
  3. While serving with a friendly nation engaged in armed conflict against a force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.

The Navy Cross

Navy CrossAuthorized February 4, 1919, the Navy Cross was the Navy's 3rd highest award for combat heroism and other distinguished services. On August 7, 1942 Congress made the Navy Cross a COMBAT ONLY decoration with precedence over the Distinguished Service Medal, making it the Navy's 2nd highest award ranking below only the Medal of Honor. It shares this position with the Army's Distinguished Service Cross and the Air Force Cross.

Awarded to US and Foreign military personnel and civilians who have displayed extraordinary heroism in one of the following situations:

  1. While engaged in action against an enemy of the United States,
  2. While engaged in military operations involving conflict with a foreign force, or
  3. While serving with a friendly nation engaged in armed conflict against a force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.

The Air Force Cross

Air Force CrossThe Air Force Cross is the Air Force's second highest award for valor. Only the Medal of Honor ranks higher in order of precedence. It shares this position with the Army's Distinguished Service Cross and the Navy Cross.

The Air Force Cross was established in 1960 by the US Congress. The first AFC was awarded for a flight over Cuba during the Missile Crisis. Prior to the authorization of the award airmen from previous wars were awarded the Army's Distinguished Service Cross. The Air Force Cross is awarded to US and Foreign military personnel and civilians who have displayed extraordinary heroism in one of the following situations:

  1. While engaged in action against an enemy of the United States,
  2. While engaged in military operations involving conflict with a foreign force, or
  3. While serving with a friendly nation engaged in armed conflict against a force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.

Service Cross Recipients

Home of Heroes continues to update our website content for online visitors. Here is a resource that can help you find a United States military Service Cross Recipient. This information is provided in a PDF document which enables you to search the content by several search terms - name, branch of service, war/conflict.