Service: All Services
Instituted: 1926 (retroactive to 6 April 1917)
Criteria: Heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight
Devices: Army/Air Force: Bronze, Silver Oak Leaf Cluster; Bronze Letter “V” (Air Force), Navy/Marine Corps: Bronze Letter “V” (for valor), Gold, Silver Star; Coast Guard: Gold, Silver Star
Authorized on July 2, 1926 and implemented by an executive order signed by President Calvin Coolidge on January 28, 1927. It is awarded to United States military personnel for heroism or extraordinary achievement that is clearly distinctive involving operations during aerial flight that are not routine.
Captain Charles A. Lindbergh was the first recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross for his solo flight across the Atlantic. The Wright Brothers were awarded the DFC by an Act of Congress. Amelia Earhart became the only female civilian to be awarded the DFC when it was presented to her by the United States Army Air Corps.