Service: Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard
Criteria: Extraordinary heroism in action against an enemy of the U.S. while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force or while serving with friendly foreign forces
Devices: Gold, Silver Star
Notes: Originally issued with a 1½" wide ribbon
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For extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an opposing armed force. The Navy Cross is worn after the Medal of Honor and before all other decorations.
The Navy Cross was established by an Act of Congress and approved on February 4, 1919. Initially the Navy Cross was awarded for extraordinary heroism or distinguished service in either combat or peacetime. The criteria was upgraded in August 1942 to limit the award to those individuals demonstrating extraordinary heroism in connection with military operations against an armed enemy.