|Type||Service cross medal|
|Awarded for||Extraordinary heroism in combat|
|Presented by||United States Department of the Navy|
|Eligibility||United States Navy sailors and United States marines|
|Established||Act of Congress (Public Law 65-253), approved on February 4, 1919.|
|Total||c. 5,400 (as of December 2017)|
|Next (higher)||Medal of Honor|
|Next (lower)||Department of Defense: Defense Distinguished Service Medal|
Department of Homeland Security: Homeland Security Distinguished Service Medal
The Navy Cross is the United States Naval Service's second-highest military decoration awarded for sailors and marines who distinguish themselves for extraordinary heroism in combat with an armed enemy force. The medal is equivalent to the Army's Distinguished Service Cross, the Air and Space Forces' Air Force Cross, and the Coast Guard Cross.
The Navy Cross is bestowed by the Secretary of the Navy and may also be awarded to members of the other armed services, and to foreign military personnel while serving with the U.S. Naval Service. The Navy Cross was established by Act of Congress (Public Law 65-253) and approved on February 4, 1919.
The Navy Cross was instituted in part due to the entrance of the United States into World War I. Many European nations had the custom of decorating heroes from other nations, but the Medal of Honor was the sole U.S. award for valor at the time. The Army instituted the Distinguished Service Cross and Distinguished Service Medal in 1918, while the Navy followed suit in 1919, retroactive to 6 April 1917. Originally, the Navy Cross was lower in precedence than the Medal of Honor and the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, because it was awarded for both combat heroism and for "other distinguished service". Congress revised this on 7 August 1942, making the Navy Cross a combat-only decoration that follows the Medal of Honor in order of precedence. Since the medal was established, it has been awarded more than 6,300 times. It was designed by James Earle Fraser. Since the 11 September 2001 attacks the Navy Cross has been awarded 47 times, with two of them having the name of the recipient held in secret. One of those secret awardings was due to Marine Gunnery Sergeant Tate Jolly's actions during the 2012 Benghazi attack.
The Navy Cross may be awarded to any member of the U.S. Armed Forces while serving with the Navy, Marine Corps, or Coast Guard (when a part of the Department of the Navy) who distinguishes themselves in action by extraordinary heroism not justifying an award of the Medal of Honor. The action must take place under one of three circumstances:
- In combat action while engaged against an enemy of the United States; or,
- In combat action while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or,
- In combat action while serving with friendly foreign forces, who are engaged in armed conflict in which the United States is not a belligerent party.
The act(s) to be commended must be performed in the presence of great danger, or at great personal risk, and must be performed in such a manner as to render the individual's action(s) highly conspicuous among others of equal grade, rate, experience, or position of responsibility. An accumulation of minor acts of heroism does not justify an award of the Navy Cross.
As originally authorized, the Navy Cross could be awarded for distinguished non-combat acts, but legislation of 7 August 1942 limited the award to acts of combat heroism. Past Navy Cross awards for merit, such as to 9th Chief of Naval Operations Fleet Admiral Ernest King, were unaffected by the change in criteria.
The Navy Cross originally was the Navy's third-highest decoration, after the Medal of Honor and the Navy Distinguished Service Medal. On 7 August 1942, Congress revised the order of precedence, placing the Navy Cross above the Distinguished Service Medal in precedence. Since that time, the Navy Cross has been worn after the Medal of Honor and before all other awards.
Additional awards of the Navy Cross are denoted by gold or silver 5⁄16 inch stars affixed to the suspension and service ribbon of the medal. A gold star would be issued for each of the second through fifth awards, to be replaced by a silver star which would indicate a sixth award. To date no one has received more than five awards.
Description and symbolism
Obverse: The medal is a modified cross pattée one and a half inches wide. The ends of its arms are rounded whereas a conventional cross patée has arms that are straight on the end. There are four laurel leaves with berries in each of the re-entrant arms of the cross. In the center of the cross, a sailing vessel is depicted on waves, sailing to the viewer's left. The vessel is a symbolic caravel of the type used between 1480 and 1500. Fraser selected the caravel because it was a symbol often used by the Naval Academy and because it represented both naval service and the tradition of the sea. The laurel leaves with berries refer to achievement.
Reverse: In the center of the medal, a bronze cross pattée, one and a half inches wide, are crossed anchors from the pre-1850 period, with cables attached. The letters USN are evident amid the anchors.
The earliest version of the Navy Cross (1919–1928) featured a more narrow strip of white, while the so-called "Black Widow" medals awarded from 1941 to 1942 were notable for the dark color due to over-anodized finish. The medal is similar in appearance to the British Distinguished Service Cross.
- Service Ribbon
The service ribbon is navy blue with a center stripe of white identical to the suspension ribbon of the medal. The blue alludes to naval service; the white represents the purity of selflessness.
- Samuel Adams (naval officer) (three awards)
- James Thomas Alexander, 35th Naval Governor of Guam
- Adelbert Althouse, 27th and 29th Naval Governor of Guam
- Jackson D. Arnold
- Barry K. Atkins
- William B. Ault
- Bernard L. Austin, (two awards)
- John Arnold Austin, namesake of USS Austin (DE-15)
- Matthew Axelson
- Edward L. Beach Jr.
- Richard Halsey Best
- Claude C. Bloch
- John Bradley
- William F. Bringle
- Robert P. Briscoe
- William H. Brockman Jr.
- Phil H. Bucklew (two awards)
- John D. Bulkeley (also a Medal of Honor (MOH) and 2 Army Distinguished Service Crosses (DSC)s)
- Arleigh A. Burke
- Creed Burlingame (3 awards)
- Richard E. Byrd (also an MOH)
- Robert Carney
- Charles P. Cecil (two awards), namesake of USS Charles P. Cecil (DD-835)
- Gordon Pai'ea Chung-Hoon
- Bernard A. Clarey (three awards)
- George Thomas Coker
- James J. Connell
- Richard L. Conolly
- Walter W. Coolbaugh, namesake of USS Coolbaugh (DE-217)
- Ralph W. Cousins
- William P. Cronan, 19th Naval Governor of Guam
- William Michael Crose, 7th Governor of American Samoa
- Randy "Duke" Cunningham
- Winfield Scott Cunningham
- Maurice E. Curts
- Slade Cutter (four awards)
- Roy M. Davenport (five awards)
- Albert David (two awards and an MOH)
- Arthur C. Davis, (three awards)
- Samuel David Dealey (four awards, an Army DSC and an MOH)
- James Charles Dempsey, (two awards)
- Dieter Dengler
- Clarence E. Dickinson, (three awards)
- Danny Dietz
- Glynn R. "Donc" Donaho (four awards)
- Mark L. Donald
- William P. Driscoll
- Thomas M. Dykers, (two awards)
- Laurance T. DuBose, (three awards)
- Thomas Eadie (two awards and an MOH)
- Henry E. Eccles
- Richard S. Edwards
- Joseph F. Enright
- Harry D. Felt
- William Charles Fitzgerald namesake of USS Fitzgerald (DDG-62)
- Eugene B. Fluckey (four awards and an MOH)
- Luis Fonsecai
- James Shepherd Freeman
- Neldon Theo French namesake of USS French (DE-367)
- Ignatius J. Galantin
- William Gilmer, 22nd and 24th Naval Governor of Guam
- George William Grider, U.S. Representitve to the 89th Congress
- Robert Halperin
- William Halsey, Jr. one of four WWII Fleet Admirals and namesake of USS Halsey (CG-23) and USS Halsey (DDG-97)
- Robert W. Hayler (three awards), namesake of USS Hayler (DD-997)
- Arthur Ray Hawkins (three awards)
- Henry Kent Hewitt (two awards)
- Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee, (first female recipient), namesake of USS Higbee (DD-806)
- William A. Hodgman, 23rd Naval Governor of Guam
- Gilbert C. Hoover, (three awards)
- John Howard Hoover
- Frederick J. Horne
- John Howard
- Royal E. Ingersoll
- Jonas H. Ingram (also an MOH)
- Richard H. Jackson
- Edward C. Kalbfus
- Draper Kauffman (two awards)
- Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr. (member of the Kennedy family and brother of the 35th U.S. President
- Ernest J. King, 9th Chief of Naval Operations, one of four WWII Fleet admirals and namesake of USS King (DDG-41)
- Thomas B. Klakring (three awards)
- Norman Jack "Dusty" Kleiss
- Hugo W. Koehler
- Edmond Konrad (two awards)
- George Landenberger, 23rd Governor of American Samoa
- John H. Lang
- Harris Laning
- William D. Leahy one of four WWII Fleet Admirals and namesake of USS Leahy (DLG-16)
- Gatewood Lincoln, 22nd Governor of American Samoa
- Elliott Loughlin (two awards)
- Marcus Luttrell
- Harold John Mack
- John S. McCain Sr.
- David McCampbell (also an MOH)
- Benjamin McCandlish, 36th Naval Governor of Guam
- Pete McCloskey
- John McCloy (also two MOH)
- C. Wade McClusky
- Donald L. McFaul
- Charles H. McMorris, namesake of USS McMorris (DE-1036)
- Luke McNamee, 10th and 12th Naval Governor of Guam, and 21st Director of the Office of Naval Intelligence
- Doris "Dorie" Miller (first African American recipient), namesake of USS Doris Miller (CVN-81)
- Marc Mitscher (three awards)
- John Anderson Moore (three awards)
- Dudley W. "Mush" Morton, (four awards)
- Jesse W. Naul Jr. (also two Distinguished Flying Crosses (DFC)s)
- Louis McCoy Nulton
- Edward "Butch" O'Hare (also an MOH)
- Richard H. "Dick" O'Kane, (three awards and an MOH)
- Chick Parsons (two awards)
- Edwin Taylor Pollock
- John Martin Poyer, 12th Governor of American Samoa
- Lawson P. Ramage (two awards and an MOH)
- DeWitt Clinton Ramsey
- Joseph M. Reeves
- George S. Rentz, namesake of USS Rentz (FFG-46)
- Frederick Lois Riefkohl
- Samuel B. Roberts
- Samuel Robison
- Dean Rockwell
- Maurice H. Rindskopf
- Tony F. Schneider, (two awards)
- Frank Herman Schofield
- David F. Sellers
- Benedict J. Semmes, Jr.
- Forrest P. Sherman
- Rodger W. Simpson (two awards)
- Harold Page Smith
- Charles P. Snyder
- Raymond A. Spruance
- David S. Stear
- Giles C. Stedman
- George L. Street, III (also an MOH)
- Felix Stump (two awards)
- John Thach (two awards)
- Robert J. Thomas
- John H. Towers
- Charles R. Train
- Richmond K. Turner
- Frank B. Upham
- Stanley W. Vejtasa, (three awards) also a USN fighter ace
- Corydon M. Wassell
- Ivan Wettengel, 25th Naval Governor of Guam
- James E. Williams, (also an MOH and two Silver Stars)
- Adam Williams (awarded as Adam William Berg)
- Royce Williams
- Harry E. Yarnell
United States Marine Corps
- Robert H. Barrow (also an Army Distinguished Service Cross (DSC))
- John Basilone (also a Medal of Honor (MOH)), namesake of USS John Basilone (DDG-122)
- Victor Bleasdale (two awards and an Army DSC)
- John F. Bolt
- Gregory "Pappy" Boyington (also an MOH)
- Martin Brandtner (two awards)
- James Carson Breckinridge
- Marion Eugene Carl (two awards)
- Evans Carlson (three awards)
- Clifton B. Cates (also two Army DSCs)
- Brian Chontosh
- George R. Christmas
- Julius Cogswell, (also an Army DSC)
- Alfred A. Cunningham
- William H. Dabney
- Joseph W. Dailey
- Daniel Daly (also two MOHs and an Army DSC)
- Ray Davis (also an MOH)
- James Devereux
- William A. Eddy
- Merritt A. Edson (two awards and an MOH)
- John W. Frederick, Jr., (Vietnam War POW)
- Raymond Frybarger, Jr., namesake of USS Frybarger
- Guy Gabaldon
- Patrick “Bob” Gallagher
- Roy Geiger (two awards)
- Herman H. Hanneken (two awards and an MOH)
- Robert M. Hanson (also an MOH)
- Myron Harrington, Jr.
- Leo D. Hermle (also an Army DSC)
- Thomas Holcomb
- Edward Buist Hope, (also an Army DSC)
- Henry L. Hulbert (also an MOH and an Army DSC)
- George Victor Jmaeff
- Bradley Kasal
- Treddy Ketcham
- Victor H. Krulak
- Henry Louis Larsen (two awards)
- Kurt Chew-Een Lee
- Justin LeHew
- William K. MacNulty
- Victor Maghakian
- William Edward Campbell March
- Karl Marlantes
- John McNulty (U.S. Marine Corps) (also an Army DSC)
- Raymond Murray (two awards and an Army DSC)
- Peter J. Ortiz (two awards)
- Rafael Peralta
- Edwin A. Pollock
- Lewis "Chesty" Puller, (five awards and an Army DSC)
- Paul A. Putnam
- John H. Quick (also an MOH and an Army DSC)
- Kenneth L. Reusser (two awards)
- John Ripley
- Harold C. Roberts (three awards)
- Ford O. Rogers
- James Roosevelt
- William H. Rupertus
- John H. Russell, Jr.
- Al Schmid
- Harry Schmidt
- Harold G. Schrier
- Lemuel C. Shepherd, Jr. (also an Army DSC)
- Robert Taplett
- Alexander Vandegrift (also an MOH)
- Lew Walt (two awards)
- Jim Webb
- John H. Yancey (two awards)
- George Yarborough, namesake of USS Yarborough (DD-314)
- Jeremiah Workman
United States Army
United States Coast Guard
- Nikolai Basistiy, Soviet Union (Soviet Navy, 1943)
- Gordon Bridson, New Zealand (Royal New Zealand Navy, 1943)
- Ernesto Burzagli, Italy (Royal Italian Navy, 1919)
- Harold Farncomb, Australia (Royal Australian Navy, 1945)
- Donald Gilbert Kennedy, New Zealand (British Solomon Islands Protectorate Defence Force, 1945)
- Israel Fisanovich, Soviet Union (Soviet Navy, 1944)
- Émile Henry Muselier, France (Free French Naval Forces, 1919)
- Peter Phipps, New Zealand (Royal New Zealand Navy, 1943)
- Ronald Niel Stuart, first Royal Navy officer to receive both the American Navy Cross and the British Victoria Cross (Royal Navy, 1927)
- Tran Van Bay, South Vietnam (Army of the Republic of Vietnam, 1967)
- Nguyen Van Kiet, South Vietnam (Republic of Vietnam Navy, 1972)
- Mikhail Vasilyevich Greshilov, Soviet Union (Soviet Navyn, 1944)
- Military awards and decorations
- List of recipients of the Navy Cross in the Vietnam War
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- ^ Brook, Tom Vanden (5 December 2016). "Navy secretary recommends two Medals of Honor". NavyTimes. Retrieved 30 December 2016.
- ^ Scarborough, Rowen (25 January 2014). "Delta Force commando who saved 'numerous lives' in Benghazi seige honored". Washington Times. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
Brook, Tom Vanden (16 May 2016). "Navy SEALs' secret medals reveal heroism over last 15 years". NavyTimes. Retrieved 1 January 2017.
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- ^ "80-G-20016 Lieutenant Commander William H. Brockman, Jr., USN". public2.nhhcaws.local.
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- ^ "Chief Nurse Lenah H. Sutcliffe Higbee, U.S. Navy".
- ^ "Benjamin Vaughan McCandlish". Military Times. Gannett Government Media. 2011. Archived from the original on August 26, 2012. Retrieved May 18, 2011.
- ^ "Clarence McClusky - Recipient -". valor.militarytimes.com.
- ^ "Valor awards for Donald L. McFaul | Military Times Hall of Valor". Militarytimes.com. 2010-07-04. Archived from the original on 2012-06-17. Retrieved 2012-10-31.
- ^ "Admiral M'Namee Dead in Newport: Former Head of Mackay Radio, Adviser at 1919 Paris Peace Parley, in Navy 42 Years". The New York Times. New York City. The New York Times Company. 31 December 1952. p. 15. Retrieved 12 August 2013.
- ^ "Jesse Naul Jr., decorated for extraordinary heroism in World War II combat, dies at 92". dallasnews.com. 15 April 2013. Archived from the original on 4 October 2018. Retrieved 3 March 2023.
- ^ University of New Mexico NROTC Sun Line Vol.IV No.1 November 1965
- ^ "Shadow box". Navy.togetherweserved.com. Retrieved 28 September 2018.
- ^ "Navy Cross Recipients World War II; U.S Department of Defense Military Awards for Valor - Top 3" (PDF). valor.defense.gov.
- ^ "Valor awards for Robert J. Thomas | Military Times Hall of Valor". Militarytimes.com. 2010-07-04. Archived from the original on 2012-07-31. Retrieved 2012-10-31.
- ^ "Wins Medal While Serving in Adriatic Sea". The Honolulu Advertiser. 1938-04-11. p. 15. Retrieved 2022-08-21 – via Newspapers.com.
- ^ Cogswell, Julius. "Military Times Valor Awards for Julius Cogswell". Military Times Valor Awards. Military Times. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
- ^ "Gallagher Patrick 'Bob'".
- ^ Harrington, Myron. "Valor Awards for Myron Harrington". Military Times Wall of Honor. Military Times. Retrieved 5 April 2017.
- ^ Hope, Edward. "Valor Awards for Edward B. Hope". Military Times Wall of Valor. Military Times. Retrieved 7 April 2017.
- ^ "M. V. G. Greshilove (sic)". Military Times. Archived from the original on 2014-07-14. Retrieved 2014-06-08.
- "Navy Cross". Service Medals and Campaign Credits of the United States. United States Navy. Retrieved July 10, 2007.
- Dear, Murray (April 2015). "A Weekend's Leave in Auckland". Naval History. Annapolis, Maryland: U.S. Naval Institute. 29 (2): 46–47.
- Larzelere, Alex (2003). The Coast Guard in World War I: An Untold Story. Naval Institute Press, Annapolis, Maryland. ISBN 978-1-55750-476-0.
- Military awards and decorations of the United States
- Recipients of the Navy Cross (United States)
- Awards and decorations of the United States Coast Guard
- Awards and decorations of the United States Marine Corps
- Awards and decorations of the United States Navy
- Awards established in 1919
- Courage awards
- Works by James Earle Fraser (sculptor)