Distinguished Flying Cross (United States)
|Distinguished Flying Cross in United States|
|Awarded by United States Armed Forces|
|Type||Military medal (Decoration)|
|Awarded for||"Heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight"|
|Established||2 July 1926|
|Next (higher)||Legion of Merit|
|Next (lower)||Army: Soldier's Medal
Navy & Marine Corps: Navy and Marine Corps Medal
Air Force: Airman's Medal
Coast Guard: Coast Guard Medal
The Distinguished Flying Cross is a military decoration awarded to any officer or enlisted member of the United States Armed Forces who distinguishes himself or herself in support of operations by "heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight, subsequent to November 11, 1918."
- 1 History
- 2 World War II
- 3 Vietnam
- 4 Criteria
- 5 Appearance
- 6 DFC National Memorial Act
- 7 In popular culture
- 8 Notable recipients of the DFC
- 9 See also
- 10 References
- 11 External links
The first award of the Distinguished Flying Cross was made by President Calvin Coolidge on May 2, 1927, to ten aviators of the U.S. Army Air Corps who had participated in the U.S. Army Pan American Flight, which took place from December 21, 1926 to May 2, 1927. Two of the airmen died in a mid-air collision trying to land at Buenos Aires on February 26, 1927, and received their awards posthumously. Since the award had only been authorized by Congress the previous year, no medals had yet been struck, and the Pan American airmen initially received only certificates. Among the ten airmen were Major Herbert A. Dargue, Captains Ira C. Eaker and Muir S. Fairchild, and 1st Lt. Ennis C. Whitehead.
Charles Lindbergh received the first presentation of the medal little more than a month later, from Coolidge during the Washington, D.C. homecoming reception on June 11, 1927, from his trans-Atlantic flight. The medal had hurriedly been struck and readied just for that occasion. Interestingly, the 1927 War Department General Order (G.O. 8), authorizing Lindbergh's DFC states that it was awarded by the President, while the General Order (G.O. 6) for the Pan American Flyers' DFC citation notes that the War Department awarded it "by direction of the President."
The first Distinguished Flying Cross to be awarded to a Naval Aviator was received by then Commander Richard E. Byrd, USN for his trans-Atlantic flight from June 29 to July 1, 1927 from New York City to the coast of France. Byrd, along with his pilot, Machinist Floyd Bennett, received the Medal of Honor for their historic flight to the North Pole on May 9, 1926 but they did not receive the DFC for that flight as the DFC had not yet been created.
Numerous military recipients of the medal would later earn greater fame in other occupations—a number of astronauts, actors, and politicians (including former President George H. W. Bush) have been Distinguished Flying Cross recipients.
DFC awards could be retroactive to cover notable achievements back until the beginning of World War I. On February 23, 1929, Congress passed special legislation to allow the award of the DFC to the Wright brothers for their December 17, 1903 flight. Other civilians who have received the award include Wiley Post, Jacqueline Cochran, Roscoe Turner, Amelia Earhart, Glenn H. Curtiss and Eugene Ely. Eventually, it was limited to military personnel by an Executive Order.
Amelia Earhart became the first woman to receive the DFC on July 29, 1932 when it was presented to her by Vice President Charles Curtis in Los Angeles. Earhart received the decoration for her solo flight across the Atlantic Ocean earlier that year.
World War II
During World War II the medal's award criteria varied widely depending on the theater of operations, aerial combat, and the missions accomplished. In the Pacific oftentimes commissioned officers were awarded the DFC, while enlisted men were given the Air Medal. In Europe some crews, often received it for performances throughout a tour of duty; elsewhere different criteria were used.
During wartime, members of the Armed Forces of friendly foreign nations serving with the United States are eligible for the Distinguished Flying Cross. It is also given to those who display heroism while working as instructors or students at flying schools.
During the Vietnam War high ranking Army officers often received the DFC for directing combat operations from aircraft.
The Distinguished Flying Cross was authorized by Section 12 of the Air Corps Act enacted by the United States Congress on July 2, 1926, as amended by Executive Order 7786 on January 8, 1938. This act provided for award “to any person, while serving in any capacity with the Air Corps of the Army of the United States, including the National Guard and the Organized Reserves, or with the United States Navy, since the 6th day of April 1917, has distinguished, or who, after the approval of this Act, distinguishes himself, or herself by heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight.”
The Distinguished Flying Cross was designed by Elizabeth Will and Arthur E. DuBois. The medal is a bronze cross pattee, on whose obverse is superimposed a four-bladed propeller, 1 11/16 inches in width. Five rays extend from the reentrant angles, forming a one-inch square. The reverse is blank; it is suitable for engraving the recipient's name and rank. The cross is suspended from a rectangular bar.
The suspension and service ribbon of the medal is 1 3/8 inches wide and consists of the following stripes: 3/32 inch Ultramarine Blue 67118; 9/64 inch White 67101; 11/32 inch Ultramarine Blue 67118; 3/64 inch White 67101; center stripe 3/32 inch Old Glory Red 67156; 3/64 inch White 67101; 11/32 inch Ultramarine Blue 67118; 9/64 inch White 67101; 3/32 inch Ultramarine Blue 67118.
Additional awards of the Distinguished Flying Cross are shown with bronze or silver Oak Leaf Clusters for the Army and Air Force, and gold and sliver 5⁄16 Inch Stars for the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard.
The Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps may authorize the "V" device for wear on the DFC to denote valor in combat; Navy and Marine Corps, Combat "V". The Army does not authorize the "V" device to be worn on the DFC (even though the Army awards the DFC "for single acts of heroism" or "extraordinary achievement" while participating in aerial flight). The other services can also award the DFC for extraordinary achievement without the "V" device.
DFC National Memorial Act
In July 2014, the United States Senate passed the Distinguished Flying Cross National Memorial Act. The act was sponsored by Senator Barbara Boxer, to designate the Distinguished Flying Cross Memorial at March Field Air Museum adjacent to March Air Reserve Base in Riverside, California as a national memorial to recognize members of United States Armed Forces who have distinguished themselves by heroism in aerial flight. The act was signed into law by President Barack Obama on July 25, 2014.
In popular culture
In the movie Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian the character of Amelia Earhart (played by Amy Adams) mentions that she received "the Flying Cross". The real life Amelia Earhart did, in fact, receive the Distinguished Flying Cross and was the first woman and civilian to do so.
In the popular TV series JAG, the lead character, Commander Harmon Rabb, USN (played by David James Elliott), was a US Navy aviator and a two-time recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross with "V" device.
In the television series The Pretender, Kyle (played by Jeffrey Donovan) had a Distinguished Flying Cross supposedly given to him by his father. Before his death, Kyle gave the medal to his brother Jarod (played by Michael T. Weiss).
Notable recipients of the DFC
Note: the rank indicated is the highest held by the individual.
Medal of Honor recipients
- General of the Army Douglas MacArthur, USA: Chief of Staff of the United States Army (1930-1935), commander of the Southwest Pacific Area (1942-1945) and commander of United Nations forces in Korea (1950-1951). Recipient of 3 Distinguished Service Crosses, 6 Distinguished Service Medals and 7 Silver Stars. Served as a general in World War I, World War II and the Korean War.
- General Jimmy Doolittle, USAF: Leader of the Doolittle Raid.
- General Leon W. Johnson, USAF: Leader in the Ploesti Raid and commander of the Continental Air Command.
- General Christian F. Schilt, USMC: Director of Marine Corps Aviation.
- Vice Admiral James B. Stockdale, USN: President of the United States Naval War College and vice presidential candidate.
- Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd, USN: Organized and led first flights over the north and south poles.
- Major General Patrick Henry Brady, USA: Vietnam War helicopter pilot.
- Brigadier General Frederick Walker Castle, USAAF: Posthumous Medal of Honor recipient.
- Brigadier General Joe Foss, ANG: Second highest scoring Marine Corps ace of World War II and Governor of South Dakota.
- Brigadier General Robert E. Galer, USMC: Commanded VMF-224 on Guadalcanal.
- Brigadier General Charles A. Lindbergh, USAFR: First person to fly solo across the Atlantic Ocean.
- Colonel Archie Van Winkle, USMC: World War II, Korean War and Vietnam War veteran.
- Colonel George Day, USAF: POW during the Vietnam War.
- Colonel Jefferson J. DeBlanc, USMC: Shot down five planes in a single day.
- Colonel Merlyn Hans Dethlefsen, USAF: Vietnam War F-105 pilot.
- Colonel Bernard F. Fisher, USAF: Vietnam War A-1 Skyraider pilot.
- Colonel James P. Fleming, USAF: Vietnam War helicopter pilot.
- Colonel Joe M. Jackson, USAF: Combat veteran of World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.
- Colonel John R. Kane, USAF: Leader in the Ploesti Raid.
- Colonel John Lucian Smith, USMC: Leader of the Cactus Air Force on Guadacanal.
- Colonel James E. Swett, USMC: Shot down 5 planes on his first combat mission and recipient of 8 DFCs.
- Colonel Leo K. Thorsness, USAF: Vietnam War veteran.
- Captain Michael J. Estocin, USN: Missing in action in the Vietnam War.
- Captain David McCampbell, USN: Top US Navy ace of World War II.
- Lieutenant Colonel George A. Davis, USAF: High scoring Korean War ace.
- Lieutenant Colonel Michael J. Novosel, USAFR: Vietnam War helicopter pilot.
- Lieutenant Colonel Gerald O. Young, USAF: Vietnam War helicopter pilot.
- Lieutenant Colonel Jay Zeamer, Jr., USAAF: Last surviving Army Air Forces Medal of Honor recipient.
- Major Richard Bong, USAAF: Highest scoring American ace of World War II.
- Major Horace S. Carswell, Jr., USAAF: World War II bomber pilot.
- Major George Andrew Davis, Jr., USAF: Ace in both World War II and the Korean War. Recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross, three Silver Stars and four DFCs.
- Major Charles J. Loring, Jr., USAF: World War II POW and Korean War F-80 Shooting Star pilot.
- Major Thomas McGuire, USAAF: Second highest scoring American ace in World War II with 38 kills. Recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross, 3 Silver Stars and 6 DFCs.
- Major Stephen W. Pless, USMC: Only Marine aviator to be awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War.
- Major Louis J. Sebille, USAF: Korean War F-51 Mustang pilot and recipient of 2 DFCs.
- Lieutenant Commander Edward "Butch" O'Hare, USN: Shot down 3 Japanese bombers and damaged two others on a single flight. Recipient of the Medal of Honor, Navy Cross and 2 DFCs.
- Captain John S. Walmsley, Jr., USAF: Korean War B-26 pilot.
- Captain Hilliard A. Wilbanks, USAF: Vietnam War O-1 pilot.
- First Lieutenant Robert M. Hanson, USMC: Member of the Black Sheep Squadron with 25 kills.
- First Lieutenant Raymond L. Knight, USAAF: World War II P-47 pilot.
- First Lieutenant Donald D. Pucket, USAAF: Died during Operation Tidal Wave.
- Major General Ross "Rusty" Rowell, USMC: 1927 Nicaragua (first coordinated dive-bombing attacks in aviation history, then a Major); Retired 1 Nov 1946; Died 6 Sept 1947
- Lieutenant General Thomas P. Stafford, USAF: Flew to the Moon on Apollo 10, commander of the Apollo-Soyuz mission. Recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.
- Major General Michael Collins, USAF: Command module pilot for Apollo 11 mission to the Moon and recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal and Presidential Medal of Freedom.
- Major General Joe Engle, USAF: X-15 and Space Shuttle pilot.
- Rear Admiral Alan Shepard, USN: One of the original seven American astronauts, first American in space in Freedom 7, commanded Apollo 14 and recipient of the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.
- Brigadier General James McDivitt, USAF: Commander of Gemini 4 and Apollo 9.
- Colonel Buzz Aldrin, USAF: Lunar Module pilot for Apollo 11, second man to walk on the Moon, and recipient of the Congressional Gold Medal and Presidential Medal of Freedom.
- Colonel Frank Borman, USAF: Commander of Apollo 8 and recipient of the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.
- Colonel Eileen Collins, USAF: First woman to command two space shuttle missions.
- Colonel Gordon Cooper, USAF: One of the original seven American astronauts, pilot of Faith 7 and commander of Gemini 5.
- Colonel Guy Gardner: Space Shuttle pilot and recipient of three DFCs.
- Colonel John Glenn, USMC: One of the original seven American astronauts, first American to orbit the earth in Friendship 7, United States Senator, recipient of the Congressional Space Medal of Honor and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
- Colonel David Scott, USAF: Flew on Gemini 8, Apollo 9 and Apollo 15.
- Captain Eugene Cernan, USN: Pilot of Gemini 9A, lunar module pilot of Apollo 10 and commander of Apollo 17.
- Captain Pete Conrad, USN: Commander of Apollo 12 and Skylab 2 and recipient of the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.
- Captain Robert Crippen, USN: Pilot on first space shuttle mission and recipient of the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.
- Captain Mark Kelly, USN: Pilot on four space shuttle missions, commander for two, including the final mission of Space Shuttle Endeavour, and recipient of 2 DFCs. He and his identical twin brother Scott are the only siblings to have both traveled in space.
- Captain Scott Kelly, USN: Lived for one year on the International Space Station.
- Captain Jim Lovell, USN: Astronaut on two trips to the Moon, recipient of the Congressional Space Medal of Honor and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
- Captain Wally Schirra, USN: One of the original seven American astronauts flew on Sigma 7, Gemini 6A and as commander of Apollo 7.
- Captain John Young, USN: Flew on Apollo 10 and Apollo 16, commander of the first space shuttle mission and recipient of the Congressional Space Medal of Honor. One of only nine humans with six or more spaceflights.
- Lieutenant Colonel Duane Carey, USAF: Space Shuttle pilot. Awarded with Valor Device.
- Lieutenant Colonel Gus Grissom, USAF: One of the original seven American astronauts, second American in space on Liberty Bell 7 and recipient of the Congressional Space Medal of Honor.
- Commander Scott Carpenter, USN: One of the original seven American astronauts, flew on Aurora 7, and aquanaut with SEALAB project.
- Major Deke Slayton, USAF: One of the original seven American astronauts, NASA chief astronaut and docking module pilot for the Apollo-Soyuz mission.
Note: Although astronaut Neil Armstrong's achievements as an aviator and an astronaut more than exceeded the requirements for the DFC, he was ineligible for the DFC as he was a civilian for his entire career with NASA.
- Lieutenant George H.W. Bush, USNR: President of the United States.
- Major General Patrick J. Hurley, USAR: Secretary of War.
- Rear Admiral Jeremiah Denton, USN: Prisoner of war during the Vietnam War and United States Senator.
- Colonel Bruce Sundlun, USAFR: Business executive and Governor of Rhode Island.
- Colonel Lloyd Bentsen, USAFR: United States Senator, Secretary of the Treasury and vice presidential candidate.
- Colonel Alexander Butterfield, USAF: Figure in the Watergate Scandal.
- Captain John S. McCain, III, USN: United States Senator and presidential candidate.
- Captain Jim Wright, USAAF: Speaker of the United States House of Representatives.
- Captain Bruce Alger, USAAF: Controversial Republican Congressman from Texas.
- Captain Peter H. Dominick, USAAF: United States Senator.
- Captain William Hathaway, USAAF: Prisoner of war during World War II and United States Senator.
- Captain Joseph McCarthy, USMC: United States Senator.
- First Lieutenant George McGovern, USAAF: United States Senator, presidential candidate and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
- First Lieutenant Ted Stevens, USAAF: United States Senator.
- First Lieutenant Richard Harding Poff, USAAF: U.S. Representative.
- First Lieutenant John Ehrlichman, USAAF: Aide to President Richard Nixon and key figure in the Watergate scandal.
- Glenn Curtiss: Aircraft designer. Posthumously awarded in 1933.
- Amelia Earhart: Legendary aviatrix. First woman and first civilian to receive the DFC by an act of Congress in 1932.
- Eugene Burton Ely: First person to make a ship board landing in an aircraft. Posthumously awarded in 1933.
- Harold Gatty: Navigator with Wiley Post on record breaking around the world flight.
- Wiley Post: Completed record breaking around the world flight and was the first person to fly solo around the world.
- Roscoe Turner: Flamboyant air racing champion. Presented in 1952. (Last award of the DFC to a civilian.)
- Orville Wright: Aviation pioneer. Awarded by Act of Congress on December 18, 1928.
- Wilbur Wright: Aviation pioneer. Posthumously awarded by Act of Congress on December 18, 1928.
- Marshal of the Air Force Arjan Singh DFC
- Wing Commander James Blackburn DSO, DFC, RAF: Distinguished British pilot during World War II.
- Wing Commander W.H. Burbury, DFC, AFC, RAF: Distinguished British pilot during World War II.
- Wing Commander A. Warburton, DSO & Bar, DFC & Two Bars, RAF: Distinguished British reconnaissance pilot during World War II.
- Colonel Francesco De Pinedo, Italian Air Force: Completed the Four Continents Flight in a flying boat in 1927.
- Lieutenant Colonel Dieudonné Costes, French Army: Completed around the world flight.
- Lieutenant Commander Joseph Le Brix, French Navy: Completed around the world flight.
- Major James Fitzmaurice, Irish Free State Air Force: Flew on first non-stop westward crossing of the Atlantic Ocean on the Bremen.
- Major Hsi-Chon Hua, Chinese Air Force: Awarded DFC for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight on 3 August 1959, while serving as aircraft commander in the 4080th Strategic Reconnaissance Wing, Light.
- Captain Hermann Köhl, German Army: Flew on first non-stop westward crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.
- Pilot Officer Heaton D. Hampton DFC, RNZAF World War II
- Baron Ehrenfried Günther Freiherr von Hünefeld, German aristocrat: Flew on first non-stop westward crossing of the Atlantic Ocean.
- Major General James Stewart, USAFR: World War II B-24 pilot and Group Operations Officer. Academy Award–winning actor and recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
- Brigadier General Chuck Yeager, USAF: Test pilot and first human to break the sound barrier. Recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom and Congressional Silver Medal.
- Major Clark Gable, USAAF: Star of Gone with the Wind who flew on five bombing missions during World War II.
- Captain Don Herbert, USAAF: World War II B-24 pilot and recipient of the Air Medal with three oak leaf clusters. Creator and host of the Watch Mr. Wizard and Mr. Wizard's World television programs.
- Captain Gene Roddenberry, USAAF: Creator of the Star Trek television series and franchise.
- Captain Dan Rowan, USAAF: P-40 Warhawk pilot and star of Laugh In.
- Captain Cal Worthington, USAAF: Legendary car salesman.
- First Lieutenant Jack Valente, USAAF: Longtime president of the Motion Picture Association of America.
- Corporal Sabu Dastagir, USAAF: Indian-American actor who served as a B-24 tail gunner during World War II.
United States Air Force, Army Air Forces and Army Air Corps
- General of the Air Force Henry H. Arnold, USAF: Commander of the US Army Air Forces during World War II.
- General George S. Brown, USAF: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
- General Ira C. Eaker, USAF: Commander of the 8th Air Force during World War II.
- General Daniel James, Jr., USAF: First African-American US Air Force four star general.
- General David C. Jones, USAF: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
- General George C. Kenney, USAF: First commander of Strategic Air Command.
- General Curtis Lemay, USAF: Air Force Chief of Staff and vice presidential candidate.
- General Seth J. McKee, USAF: NORAD commander and D-Day veteran.
- General John C. Meyer, USAF: Commander of Strategic Air Command. Recipient of 3 Distinguished Service Crosses, 2 Silver Stars and 7 DFCs with 26 aerial victories.
- General Richard B. Myers, USAF: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
- General Joseph W. Ralston, USAF: Supreme Allied Commander for NATO.
- General Carl Spaatz, USAF: First Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force.
- General Nathan F. Twining, USAF: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
- Lieutenant General Frank Maxwell Andrews, USAAF: Died in accident in 1943.
- Lieutenant General Royal N. Baker, USAF: Flew combat missions in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
- Lieutenant General Lewis H. Brereton, USAF: Commander of the Ninth Air Force during World War II.
- Lieutenant General George H. Brett, USAF: Commander of the Caribbean Defense Command in World War II.
- Lieutenant General Claire Lee Chennault, USAF: Commander of the Flying Tigers.
- Lieutenant General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., USAF: First African-American US Air Force general.
- Lieutenant General John P. Flynn, USAF: Recipient of the Air Force Cross, POW in Vietnam and recipient of 7 DFCs.
- Lieutenant General George E. Stratemeyer, USAF: Commander of Far East Air Forces during the Korean War.
- Major General Orvil A. Anderson, USAF: Participant in altitude record setting Air Corps Stratospheric Balloon Flights in Explorer I and Explorer II in 1934 and 1935.
- Major General David M. Jones, USAF: Doolittle Raider and recipient of two DFCs.
- Major General Uzal Girard Ent, USAAF: Leader of the Ploesti Raid.
- Major General Caleb V. Haynes, USAF: Bomber commander of the China Air Task Force.
- Major General Frank O'Driscoll Hunter, USAAF: Recipient of five Distinguished Service Crosses.
- Major General Robert Olds, USAAF: Father of ace Robin Olds.
- Major General Robert A. Rushworth, USAF: X-15 pilot.
- Major General Clarence A. Shoop, USAAF: WWII Observation pilot
- Major General Mele "Mel" Vojvodich, USAF: Pilot for the CIA in Vietnam.
- Brigadier General Gerald Goodfellow, USAF: B1-Lancer Offensive Systems Officer, Mackay Trophy recipient, awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for action during Operation Allied Force.
- Brigadier General Robin Olds, USAF: Combat pilot in World War II and Vietnam War and recipient of the Air Force Cross and six DFCs.
- Brigadier General Richard Stephen Ritchie, USAF: Only US Air Force ace of the Vietnam War with 5 kills.
- Brigadier General Elliott Roosevelt, USAAF: Son of President Franklin Roosevelt.
- Brigadier General Robert Lee Scott Jr., USAF: Fighter pilot who earned two Silver Stars and three DFCs.
- Brigadier General Dale E. Stovall, USAF: Vietnam War CSAR pilot who rescued Roger Locher, deepest rescue inside North Vietnam.
- Brigadier General Paul Tibbets, USAF: Pilot of the Enola Gay.
- Colonel Bernt Balchen, USAF: Legendary pilot of first plane to fly over the South Pole.
- Colonel Kim Campbell, USAF: For successfully completing her mission supporting ground troops over Baghdad in April 2003 and successfully landing her A-10 back at base despite sustaining severe damage to her aircraft.
- Colonel Jacqueline Cochran, USAFR: Multiple record setting aviatrix, first woman to break the sound barrier and commander of the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASPs) during World War II.
- Colonel Gabby Gabreski, USAF: Highest scoring American ace in the European Theater with 34 kills. Recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross and 13 DFCs.
- Colonel Jose L. Holguin, USAF: Awarded Silver Star, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Prisoner of War, and Army Commendation medals.
- Colonel James K. Johnson, USAF: Korean war ace with 11 kills. Recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star and three DFCs.
- Colonel Charles H. MacDonald, USAF: Recipient of 2 Distinguished Service Crosses, 2 Silver Stars and 6 DFCs with 27 kills.
- Colonel Ashley Chadbourne McKinley, USAF: Photographer on first flight over the South Pole.
- Colonel David C. Schilling, USAF: Recipient of 2 Distinguished Service Crosses, 3 Silver Stars and 11 DFCs with 22 and 1/2 kills.
- Colonel Lowell Smith, USAAF: Conducted first aerial refueling and commanded first aerial circumnavigation of the globe.
- Colonel Robert E. Thacker, USAF: Pilot of record breaking flight from Honolulu to New York and recipient of two Silver Stars and three DFCs.
- Lieutenant Colonel Lee Archer, USAF: First African-American fighter ace.
- Lieutenant Colonel Leaford Bearskin, USAF: Veteran of World War II and Korea and also Chief of the Wyandotte Nation.
- Lieutenant Colonel Robert S. Johnson, USAFR: Recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star and 9 DFCs with 28 kills.
- Lieutenant Colonel Arthur W. Murray, USAF: Early jet test pilot.
- Lieutenant Colonel Dick Rutan, USAF: Piloted first unrefueled non-stop around the world flight. Recipient of the Silver Star and 5 DFCs.
- Lieutenant Colonel Albert William Stevens, USAAF: Participant in both the Explorer I and Explorer II stratospheric balloon flights.
- Lieutenant Colonel Boyd Wagner, USAAC: First Army Air Corps ace of World War II and recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross.
- Lieutenant Colonel Ray Shuey Wetmore, USAAF: 21 aerial victories during World War II. Received 2 Distinguished Service Crosses, 2 Silver Stars and 6 DFCs.
- Major Jack L. Carlson, USAAF, B-17 Navigator & Intelligence, DFC for evacuation of General Douglas MacArthur's staff from Philippines in March 1942. Received oak leaf cluster for Quezon evacuation. "Kangaroo" 435th Squadron, 19th Bomb Group. Presidential Unit Citation with 2 oak leaf clusters, Air Medal and Silver Star for raid on Rabaul.
- Major Duane Cocking, USAF: Phuoc Vinh, Vietnam, C7A (Caribou) Pilot.
- Major John Trevor Godfrey, USAAF: Shot down 18 German aircraft.
- Captain Kenneth H. Dahlberg, USAAF: Business executive and figure in the Watergate scandal, recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross and 2 DFCs.
- Captain Hawthorne C. Gray, USAAC: Died during altitude record breaking balloon ascent in 1927.
- Captain Frank L. Higgs, CNAC (also was inspiration for the character of "Dude Hennick" in the Terry and the Pirates comic series by Milton Caniff).
- Captain Matthew G. Hoenes, USAAF: Distinguished A-26 pilot in the "Blackbirds" squadron, attacked enemy targets under heavy fire.
- Captain Joseph Kittinger, USAF: 7 DFCs, 2 Silver Stars, 3 Bronze Stars, served 3 tours in Vietnam and holder of the highest free fall parachute jump record for 52 years.
- Captain Ken Kavanaugh, USAAF: Professional football player.
- Captain Thomas Mantell, KYANG: Died in pursuit of a UFO.
- Captain Francis Gary Powers, USAF: Captured by Soviets when his U-2 spy plane was shot down in 1960. Posthumously awarded the Silver Star in 2012.
- Captain Louis Zamperini, USAAF: POW during World War II. Inspiration for the movie Unbroken.
- Captain Cletus Rogers, USAAF: SR-71 pilot.
- First Lieutenant Jonathan D. Ulrich, USAF: F4 "Phantom" Pilot, Vietnam
- First Lieutenant John Ehrlichman, USAAF: B-17 navigator, presidential aide and figure in the Watergate scandal.
- First Lieutenant Bob Hoover, USAAF: POW and record breaking pilot.
- First Lieutenant Samuel "Sam" R. Neeley USAAF: DFC KIA Squadron: 344th BS 98th Bomb Group Service #O-728710 Awards: Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, Air Medal with 2 Oak Leaf Clusters. Died during the Ploesti raid "Operation Tidal Wave" flying at tree-top level with the 98th Bomb Group to destroy Romanian oil refineries.
- First Lieutenant John P. Richter, Army Air Service: First Aerial refueling.
- First Lieutenant Nathan Scolnick, USAAF: Lead Navigator/Bombardier B-25, Flying Tigers, 14th Air Force, 1942–1942. Flew 82 missions.
- 2nd Lieutenant Dean Cullom Smith, USAACR: Pilot for Admiral Byrd's 1928 to 1930 Antarctic Expedition.
- Chief Master Sergeant Duane D. Hackney, USAF: Recipient of the Air Force Cross, Silver Star, four DFCs, Airman's Medal and two Purple Hearts.
- Senior Master Sergeant Samuel Leroy Frybarger, USAF: Vietnam veteran.
- Master Sergeant Gregory Scott Gibbs, USAF: HH60 Pave Hawk aerial gunner.
- Technical Sergeant Ben Kuroki, USAAF: Japanese-American veteran of 58 combat missions.
- Staff Sergeant Joseph C. Chebetar, USAAF: Waist gunner on the B-17 named "Blond Bomber" who saved his plane's captain's life after the craft had been hit and assisted his exit from the aircraft before it crashed. Also awarded Air Medal with 3 oak leaf clusters. Flew on 32 missions.
- Sergeant Laurie L. Vienneau, USAAF: Recipient of four DFCs.
United States Marine Corps
- General Earl E. Anderson, USMC: Assistant Commandant of the Marine Corps.
- General Keith B. McCutcheon, USMC
- Lieutenant General Frank E. Petersen, USMC: First African-American Marine Corps general.
- Lieutenant General William G. Thrash, USMC
- Major General Marion Eugene Carl, USMC: First Marine Corps ace. Recipient of two Navy Crosses and five DFCs.
- Colonel Kenneth L. Reusser, USMC: Recipient of two Navy Crosses and two DFCs. Had 253 combat missions in World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
- Lieutenant Colonel John F. Bolt, USMC: Only Marine jet fighter ace.
- Major John J Mondry, USMC: Helicopter pilot, recipient of 5 DFCs in Vietnam.
- Captain Donald N. Aldrich, USMCR: Navy Cross recipient with 20 kills.
- Captain Cecil A. Alexander, Jr., USMCR: Modern architect. Recipient of two DFCs during World War II.
- Captain Charles S. Whitehouse, USMCR: Diplomat, CIA officer and recipient of seven DFCs.
- Major Roy E. Oliver, USMC: pilot, for extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial fight, in action against enemy forces in Korea.
- Admiral Stan Arthur, USN: Vice Chief of Naval Operations and recipient of 11 DFCs.
- Admiral Thomas B. Hayward, USN: Chief of Naval Operations.
- Admiral James L. Holloway III, USN: Chief of Naval Operations.
- Admiral Thomas H. Moorer, USN: Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
- Admiral Huntington Hardisty, USN: Commander in Chief of United States Pacific Command.
- Vice Admiral Walter E. Carter Jr., USN: President of the United States Naval War College and Superintendent of the United States Naval Academy.
- Vice Admiral John T. Hayward, USN: President of the United States Naval War College.
- Vice Admiral Diego E. Hernández, USN: Vice Commander of NORAD.
- Vice Admiral Edward H. Martin, USN: POW for over five years.
- Rear Admiral Wade McClusky, USN: Hero of the Battle of Midway.
- Captain Cecil E. Harris, USN: Second highest scoring Navy ace with 24 kills. Recipient of the Navy Cross, 2 Silver Stars and 3 DFCs.
- Commander Stephen Coonts, USNR: Vietnam War veteran, lawyer and author.
- Captain Samuel Lee Sayers, USNR: Vietnam War veteran. Recipient of three DFCs and one Purple Heart
- Commander Eugene A. Valencia, Jr., USNR: 23 aerial victories in World War II, awarded the Navy Cross and 5 DFCs.
- Lieutenant Commander George Otto Noville, USNR: Flew on second non-stop trans-Atlantic flight with Richard E. Byrd.
- Lieutenant Harold June, USN: Co-pilot of first flight over the South Pole.
- Lieutenant Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., USNR: Brother of President John F. Kennedy and posthumous recipient of the Navy Cross.
- Ensign Jesse L. Brown, USNR: First African-American naval aviator. Died during the Korean War.
United States Coast Guard
- Vice Admiral John Currier, USCG: Winner of the Harmon Trophy.
- Captain Richard L. Burke, USCG: Distinguished rescue pilot and recipient of two DFCs.
- Captain George F. Thometz, Jr., USCG: Helicopter pilot who rescued 66 people from a flood.
- Lieutenant John A. Pritchard, Jr., USCG: Died attempting to rescue stranded aviators in Greenland in November 1942.
- Lieutenant Jack C. Rittichier, USCG: Recipient of the Silver Star and two DFCs.
- Radioman First Class Benjamin A. Bottoms, USCG: Radio operator in an aircraft rescuing stranded aviators in Greenland in November 1942.
- Petty Officer 2nd Class Randy Haba, USCG: Rescue swimmer.
- Petty Officer 2nd Class Stephen T. Ludwig, USCG: Rescue swimmer.
- Petty Officer 3rd Class Daniel Todd, USCG: Rescue swimmer.
- Petty Officer 3rd Class Evan Staph, USCG: Rescue swimmer. Crew member on CG-6033—AIR STA Cape Cod, father and son rescued on February 15, 2015, 150 miles south of Nantucket.
- Lieutenant Timothy W. Eason, USCG: Aircraft commander on Coast Guard HH-65B helicopter CG-6513 during the M/V SELENDANG AYU rescue near Unalaska Island on December 8, 2004.
United States Army
- General Alexander Haig, USA: NATO Supreme Allied Commander for Europe and Secretary of State.
- General Wayne A. Downing, USA: Commander of United States Special Operations Command.
- General John W. Foss, USA: Combat veteran of Vietnam and Commander United States Army Training and Doctrine Command
- General Frederick M. Franks, Jr., USA: Commander of VII Corps during Operation Desert Storm.
- General John Galvin, USA: NATO Supreme Allied Commander for Europe.
- General Frederick Kroesen, USA: Combat veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam and commander of 7th United States Army.
- General Gary E. Luck, USA: Commander, United States Forces Korea.
- General Edward C. Meyer, USA: Chief of Staff of the United States Army.
- General Dennis J. Reimer, USA: Chief of Staff of the United States Army.
- General Roscoe Robinson, Jr., USA: First African-American US Army four star general.
- General Bernard W. Rogers, USA: Chief of Staff of the United States Army and Supreme Allied Commander for NATO.
- General Norman Schwarzkopf, USA: Commander of Operation Desert Storm and honorary Knight Commander of the Bath. Recipient of the Presidential Medal of Freedom, 8 Distinguished Service Medals and 3 Silver Stars.
- General Donn A. Starry, USA: Commander of the United States Army Training and Doctrine Command.
- General Sam S. Walker, USA: Son of General Walton Walker and Superintendent of the Virginia Military Institute.
- General Walton Walker, USA: Commander of the 8th Army in Korea and recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross, three Silver Stars and two DFCs.
- General Melvin Zais, USA: Commander of the 101st Airborne Division in Vietnam.
- Lieutenant General Edward Almond, USA: Commanded X Corps during the Korean War.
- Lieutenant General David E. Grange, USA: Combat veteran of World War II, Korea and Vietnam and commander of the Sixth United States Army.
- Lieutenant General James F. Hollingsworth, USA: Combat veteran of World War II and Vietnam. Recipient of 3 Distinguished Service Crosses, 4 Distinguished Service Medals, 4 Silver Stars, 3 Legions of Merit, the Soldiers Medal and 3 DFCs.
- Lieutenant General Thomas Tackaberry, USA: Combat veteran of Korea and Vietnam and commander of the XVIII Airborne Corps. Recipient of 3 Distinguished Service Crosses and 5 Silver Stars.
- Major General George Patton IV, USA: Son of General George S. Patton.
- Colonel David Hackworth, USA: Highly decorated Army officer, commentator and author. Recipient of 2 Distinguished Service Crosses, 10 Silver Stars, 8 Bronze Star Medals and 8 Purple Hearts.
- Colonel Harold "Marsh" Ramey, US Army: Vietnam War helicopter master aviator. Recipient of Distinguished Flying Cross, Bronze Star with Oak Leaf Cluster, 29 Air Medals for Vietnam, Army Aviation Association Order of St. Michael Medal, nominated to the Army Aviation Hall of Fame.
- Lieutenant Colonel Bo Gritz, USA: Highly decorated Special Forces officer in Vietnam who received five Silver Stars.
- Lieutenant Colonel John Paul Vann, USA: Military advisor in Vietnam and recipient of the Distinguished Service Cross and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
- Lieutenant Colonel Dave Wallace, USA: 3 DFCs in Vietnam; Republican member of the Arkansas House of Representatives since 2015.
- Lieutenant Colonel Rod Willis, USA: Received 4 DFCs as a scout pilot in Vietnam.
- Major Lauri Törni, USA: Veteran of the Finnish Army, Waffen SS during World War II and U.S. Army Special Forces in Vietnam.
- Captain Edward C. Wittkamper, USAR: Received DFC as Scout Helicopter pilot in Vietnam.
- Captain Jesse D. Scott, Jr., USAR: Vietnam veteran.
- Captain Ronald E. Sheller, USAR: Vietnam veteran. 3 DFCs, 2 Purple Hearts, 1 Air Medal for Valor.
- First Lieutenant Roger D. Winslow, USAR: Vietnam veteran.
- First Lieutenant Edward C. Wittkamper, USAR: Vietnam veteran.
- Chief Warrant Officer Richard McCoy, Jr., USA: Vietnam veteran and aircraft hijacker.
- Chief Warrant Officer William A. Manzanares Jr., USA: Highly decorated Vietnam veteran.
- Command Sergeant Major Silas L. Copeland, USA: Sergeant Major of the Army.
- "Executive Order 4601". U.S. National Archives and Records Administration. Retrieved 26 September 2012. External link in
- "Department of Defense Manual 1348.33-V3" (PDF). US Department of Defense. 23 November 2010. pp. 17–18, 50. Retrieved 26 September 2012.
- "Distinguished Flying Cross". The Institute of Heraldry: Office of the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the ARMY. Retrieved 2013-12-21.
- http://www.afhra.af.mil/shared/media/document/AFD-130506-007.pdf[permanent dead link]
- Mooney, Charles C. and Layman, Martha E. (1944). "Organization of Military Aeronautics, 1907-1935 (Congressional and War Department Action)" (PDF). Air Force Historical Study No. 25. AFHRA (USAF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2010-12-27. Retrieved 14 Dec 2010., Appendix 5, p. 127.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2014-11-01. Retrieved 2014-11-01.
- "Senator Boxer: President Obama Signs the Distinguished Flying Cross National Memorial Act". senate.gov. Archived from the original on 23 November 2015. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
- Awarded by Act of Congress March 1, 1933.
- Awarded by Act of Congress July 2, 1932.
- Awarded by Act of Congress July 11, 1932. Died in a plane crash with Will Rogers.
- Awarded by Act of Congress in 1949 and presented in 1952.
- Awarded by Act of Congress December 18, 1928.
- "Valor awards for James Francis Hollingsworth". militarytimes.com. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
- "Col H Marsh Ramey (1936–2009)". Find a Grave. Retrieved 10 June 2016.
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