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Encyclopedia Dubuque


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NAVY CROSS.The Navy Cross is the highest medal that can be awarded by the Department of the Navy and the second highest award, behind the MEDAL OF HONOR given for valor. It is generally only awarded to members of the United States Navy, Marine Corps and Coast Guard but could be awarded to all branches of United States military as well as members of foreign militaries. It was established by Act of Congress (Pub.L. 65-253) and approved on February 4, 1919. The Navy Cross is equivalent to the Distinguished Service Cross (Army) and the Air Force Cross.

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 only American award for valor at the time. The Army instituted the Distinguished Service Cross and Distinguished Service Medal in 1918, while the Navy followed in 1919, retroactive to 6 April, 1917. Originally, the Navy Cross was lower in precedence than 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 award and second only to the Medal of Honor.

It was designed by James Earle Fraser.

The Navy Cross may be awarded to any member of the armed forces while serving with the Marine Corps, Navy, or Coast Guard (in time of war only) who distinguishes himself in action by extraordinary heroism not justifying an award of the Medal of Honor. The action must take place under one of three circumstances:

   while engaged in action against an enemy of the United States
   while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force
   while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict in which the
   United States is not a belligerent party.

To earn a Navy Cross, the act 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 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.

Those awarded the Navy Cross include:


Bradley KASAL

Joseph Metcalf HISSEM

Orville Melvin COOK

David Glen BENDORF