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Object Record

Distinguished Service Cross Medal
Armed Forces History, Division of History of Technology, National Museum of American History

Distinguished Service Cross Medal

Catalog #: 46878    Accession #: 182935
Credit: Division of Military History and Diplomacy, National Museum of American History


Lieutenant Aymar E. Embry (Designer)

Lieutenant Embry’s first design of the Distinguished Service Cross was cast and manufactured by the United States Mint at Philadelphia. After examining the first medals struck, the Mint decided upon several minor changes. Since they were in a hurry to get the medals to General Pershing, one hundred of the medals were struck. These medals were furnished with the provision that when the second design was struck, the first hundred would be replaced.

Dimensions / Weight

Dimensions: 3.75" H x 2" W x 0.5" D

Physical Description

Bronze cross suspended from a red, white and blue ribbon. An eagle rests in the center of the cross. Below the eagle, a scroll bears the inscription "FOR VALOR". On reverse, the center of the cross is circled by a wreath with a space for the name of the recipient.

Specific History

This Distinguished Service Cross was awarded to General John J. Pershing.

General History

The Distinguished Service Cross, also known as the DSC, is the second highest award for valor bestowed to a solider. President Woodrow Wilson established the award on 2 January, 1918. The Distinguished Service Cross is awarded to a person who, while serving in any capacity with the Army, distinguished himself or herself by extraordinary heroism not justifying the award of a Medal of Honor; while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States; while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing or foreign force; or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing Armed Force in which the United States is not a belligerent party. The act or acts of heroism must have been so notable and have involved risk of life so extraordinary as to set the individual apart from his or her comrades.


Country: United States
War: World War I
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