The Full Wiki

Navy Cross: Map


Wikipedia article:

Map showing all locations mentioned on Wikipedia article:

The Navy Cross is the highest medal that can be awarded by the United States Department of the Navy and the second highest award given for valor. It is normally 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 ( ) 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 sole American 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 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. Since its creation, it has been awarded more than 6,300 times.

It was designed by James Earle Fraser.

The first actual recipient of the Navy Cross is unknown because initial awards were made from a lengthy list published after World War I. The most recent recipient is Corporal Richard Weinmaster, awarded on 22 August 2009 for actions in Afghanistanmarker on July 8, 2008. Weinmaster, of 2nd Battalion, 7th Marines, was severely wounded in Sanginmarker, Helmand Province while shielding fellow Marines from the blast of a grenade.


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 or herself in action by extraordinary heroism not justifying an award of the Medal of Honor. The action must take place under one of three circumstances:

  1. While engaged in action against an enemy of the United States
  2. While engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force
  3. 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. 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.


Originally the Navy Cross 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 precedence, making the Navy Cross senior to the Distinguished Service Medal. Since that time the Navy Cross has been worn after the Medal of Honor and before all other decorations.

Additional awards of the Navy Cross are denoted by gold award stars, five-sixteenths of an inch in diameter, affixed to the ribbon.

Description and symbolism

Reverse of the Navy Cross
The award has been found similar in appearance to the British Distinguished Service Cross. The earliest awards (1919-1928) featured a more narrow strip of white, while the so-called "Black Widow" medals awarded from 1941-1942 were notable for the dark color due to over-anodized finish.

The Navy Cross 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.

In the center of a bronze cross pattée one and a half inches wide, crossed anchors from the pre-1850 period, with cables attached. The letters USN appear amid the anchors.

The ribbon is navy blue with a center stripe of white. The blue alludes to naval service and the white represents the purity of selflessness.

Notable recipients

United States Navy

United States Marine Corps

United States Coast Guard

Non-citizen recipients

The Secretary of the Navy has only occasional opportunities to confirm that the Navy Cross has been awarded to a non-American recipient. Slightly more than 100 such honors have been extended to men who were not citizens of the United States.

See also


  1. University of New Mexico NROTC Sun Line Vol.IV No.1 November 1965
  2. Dictionary of New Zealand Biography: Bridson bio notes
  3. Australian Dictionary of Biography: Farncomb bio notes
  4. Heroes of the Soviet Union (in Russian language, same data in English)
  5. Royal New Zealand Navy: Phipps bio notes
  6. Snelling, Stephen. (2002). The Naval VCs, p. 142.


External links

Embed code:

Got something to say? Make a comment.
Your name
Your email address