Michigan's DFC: Medal Created in 1926

  • Published
  • By TSgt. Dan Heaton
  • 127th Wing Public Affairs
(Part of a series of stories on heroic flights that took place in the state of Michigan)

Created as part of the Air Corps Act of 1926, the Distinguished Flying Cross is awarded for "heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight."

Though not officially so limited, the medal has primarily been awarded as the result of combat action and for a time during World War II, it was used to mark the completion of a certain number of missions or recording a certain number of air-to-air victories

While a later presidential executive order limited the medal's award to military personnel, a number of civilians have been awarded the medal, including the Wright Brothers and Amelia Earhart. Charles Lindbergh received the first Distinguished Flying Cross medal to be awarded for his trans-Atlantic flight in 1927. A group of 10 military Airmen who completed a multi-day, multi-stop flight from the U.S. to Argentina in 1927 in what was known as the Pan-American Flight, received the award of the DFC about a month before Lindbergh, but at that time the medal itself did not yet exist, so those flyers only received certificates.

Flights by Russell Luff Meredith in 1923 and Robert D. Moor in 1931 are believed to be the only two times the Distinguished Flying Cross has been awarded for flights that took place exclusively in the state of Michigan.

In the military order of precedence, the Distinguished Flying Cross ranks below the Legion of Merit and above the new Distinguished Warfare Medal, which was created in February 2013.