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Artifact Friday: The Distinguished Flying Cross

The Distinguished Flying Cross was established by Congressional law number 446

(69th Congress) July 2, 1926. The next year, President Coolidge established specific regulations for the medal being awarded to an individual.

It is awarded specifically to members of America’s armed forces who have heroically distinguished themselves in aerial feats that are not a routine part of combat.

This award is a bronze cross pattée shaped medal. It has a four-bladed propeller from which light rays protrude from the propeller angles.

On the opposite side, there is space for engraving the name of the recipient and the date on which it was awarded.

The ribbon the medal is attached to is ultramarine blue, white, and red representing the colors of the American flag.

When the medal is awarded, it also has a citation that declares the feat for which the award was bestowed. 

The Distinguished Flying Cross was developed to accommodate the aerial heroism that was depicted in World War One, although the award was only bestowed on one World War One aviator which was due to the efforts of his descendants.

The first Distinguished Flying Cross citations (because the awards were still in production) were awarded to five Army Air Corps pilots for their 22,000-mile flight; and, the first Distinguished Flying Cross medal was bestowed upon Captain Charles Lindbergh for his flight across the Atlantic.

Some aviation civilians were also awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross including Amelia Earhart, Wiley Post, and even the Wright Brothers; however, awarding it to aviation civilians is a commonly discouraged practice.

Many Arkansans have also received the Distinguished Flying Cross. These include General John Paul McConnell, Major Pierce McKennon, Lieutenant Colonel Woodrow Crockett, and Major General Frank Bailey.

It is the fourth-highest award of the United States military for heroism and the highest award for extraordinary aerial achievement.








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