The Distinguished Service Cross

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.

The ribbon is 1 3/8 inches wide and consists of the following stripes: 1/8 inch Old Glory Red 67156; 1/16 inch White 67101; 1 inch Imperial Blue 67175; 1 1/16 inch White; and 1/8 inch Old Glory Red.

 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 Unites 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.

Components - 

The following are authorized components of the Distinguished Service Cross:


  • Decoration (regular size): MIL-D-3943/4. NSN 8455-00-269-5745 for decoration set. NSN 8455-00-246-3827 for individual replacement medal.

  • Decoration (miniature size): MIL-D-3943/4. NSN 8455-00-996-50007.

  • Ribbon: MIL-R-11589/50. NSN 8455-00-252-9919.

  • Lapel Button (metal replica of ribbon bar): MIL-L-11484/1. NSN 8455-00-253-0808.


Bronze Oak Leaf
Silver Oak Leaf


The Distinguished Service Cross was established by President Woodrow Wilson on January 2, 1918. General Pershing, Commander-in-Chief of the Expeditionary Forces in France, had recommended that recognition other than the Medal of Honor, be authorized for the Armed Forces of the United States for service rendered, in like manner, to that awarded by the European Armies. The request for establishment of the medal was forwarded from the Secretary of War to the President in a letter dated December 28, 1917. The Act of Congress establishing this award (193-65th Congress) dated July 9, 1918 is contained in Title 10 United States Code (USC) 3742. The establishment of the Distinguished Service Cross was promulgated in War Department General Order No. 6, dated January 12, 1918.

    b. The first design of the Distinguished Service Cross was cast and manufactured by the United States Mint at Philadelphia. The die was cast from the approved design prepared by Lieutenant Aymar E. Embry, Engineers Officer Reserve Corps. Upon examination of the first medals struck at the Mint, it was considered advisable to make certain minor changes to add to the beauty and the attractiveness of the medal. Due to the importance of the time element involved in furnishing the decorations to General Pershing, one hundred of the medals were struck from the original design and numbered 1 to 100. These medals were furnished with the provision that these crosses be replaced when the supply of the second design was accomplished which would also be numbered 1 to 100.

    c. Title 10, USC 3991, provides for a 10% increase in retired pay for enlisted personnel who have retired with more than 20 years of service if they have been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.

    d. Order of precedence and wear of decorations is contained in Army Regulation (AR) 670-1. Policy for awards, approving authority, supply, and issue of decorations is contained in AR 600-8-22.


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