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  • Writer's pictureJacksonville Museum

This Week in Military History - The Distinguished Flying Cross was established in 1926

The Distinguished Flying Cross was established in the Air Corps Act (Act of Congress, Public Law No. 446, 69th Congress). This act provided for the award “to any person, while serving in any capacity with the Air Corps of the Army of the United States, including the National Guard and the Organized Reserves, or with the United States Navy, since the 6th day of April 1917, has distinguished, or who, after the approval of this Act, distinguishes himself by heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight.”

The Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) is our nation’s highest award for extraordinary aerial achievement. As a valor decoration, it ranks fourth in order of precedence. President Calvin Coolidge presented the first Distinguished Flying Cross citations to the Pan American Good Will Flight pilots on 2 May 1927. President Coolidge also presented the first Distinguished Flying Cross medal on 11 June 1927 to Captain Charles A. Lindbergh of the Army Air Corps Reserve for his 33 ½ hours and 3600 statute miles solo flight.

The Distinguished Flying Cross Society (DFCS) was founded in 1994 as a 501(c) (19) nonprofit war veterans’ organization. It is made up of men and women who were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. The Society has over 7,000 members and was founded on the fraternity and fellowship among military fliers. All the DFCS recipient members are listed in perpetuity on our “Honor Roll.” Lindbergh, the ‘Lone Eagle’, is also on the Honor Roll as a legacy member of the DFCS. 

The Ira Eaker Chapter of the DSC Society maintains its roles and records at the JMMH.

The Distinguished Flying Cross has a rich history and significance within the military honors system. It symbolizes exceptional bravery and outstanding achievements in aerial operations, highlighting the courage and skill of individuals serving in the Air Corps and Navy. The establishment of the DFC in 1926 marked a pivotal moment in recognizing the contributions of aviators in the defense of the United States.

Over the years, the DFC has been awarded to remarkable individuals who have demonstrated extraordinary courage and skill in aviation. The stories of these recipients, including the legendary Charles A. Lindbergh, serve as a testament to the daring spirit and dedication of military fliers.

The formation of the Distinguished Flying Cross Society in 1994 created a community to honor and support those who have received this prestigious award. The DFCS's commitment to preserving the legacy of DFC recipients and fostering camaraderie among military aviators underscores the Distinguished Flying Cross's enduring impact.

The Ira Eaker Chapter of the DSC Society plays a crucial role in maintaining the history and heritage of the DFC recipients, ensuring that their contributions are remembered and celebrated. Its dedication to upholding the values of courage and excellence exemplifies the enduring legacy of the Distinguished Flying Cross.


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