Air Force Cross Medal
This decoration was established by Congress, Public Law 88-593, on July 6, 1960, amended Section 8742 of Title 10, U.S. Code to change the designation of "Distinguished Service Cross" to "Air Force Cross" in case of awards made under Air Force Authority. This cross, therefore, is the Air Force version of the Distinguished Service Cross. It is awarded for extraordinary heroism, not justifying the award of a Medal of Honor, to any person, who while serving with the U.S. Air Force while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force, or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in conflict against an opposing Armed Force in which the United States in not a belligerent party.
The decoration was designed by Eleanor Cox, an employee of the Air Force and was sculpted by Thomas Hudson Jones of the Institute of Heraldry. It is a bronze cross with an oxidized satin finish. Centered on the obverse of the cross is a gold-plated American bald eagle, wings displayed against a cloud formation, (as used on the seal of the Air Force). This design is encircled by a laurel wreath in green enamel, edged in gold. The reverse of the cross is blank and suitable for engraving.
The ribbon has a very wide center stripe of Brittany blue with narrow stripes of white and red at the edges. Almost identical to the Distinguished Service Cross, except for the lighter blue center stripe, indicating the close connection of these awards.
The first award of the Air Force Cross was a posthumous presentation to Maj. Rudolf Anderson Jr., For extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy from 15 October 1962 to 27 October 1962. The action took place during the Cuban Missile Crisis. The Cross was presented by President Kennedy to the widow of the major at the White House. Authorized Device: Oak Leaf Cluster
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