Distinguished Award Salutes Aviation’s Heroes

What better time than Independence Day to think about some of our greatest national heroes, our military veterans.

Ninety years ago tomorrow, the Distinguished Flying Cross was authorized by Congress as a military decoration awarded to any officer or enlisted member of the U.S. Armed Forces who distinguished himself or herself in support of operations by heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight. Thus, it is America’s oldest military aviation award and is the only medal conferred by all five military services, in all wars and campaigns from World War I to the present.

The design of the cross includes a four-blade propeller, superimposed on a 1½” bronze cross pattée. In each angle of the cross are five sun rays, typifying the glory of the deed for which this unique gift was awarded. The back side of the medal is blank so that the recipient’s name and rank can be engraved.

The government kept no detailed records of DFC recipients, so it is not known in total how many medals have been awarded through the years. Among those who have received the honor are Charles Lindbergh, Commander Richard Byrd, John Glenn, Chuck Yeager, Jimmy Stewart, Clark Gable, George H.W. Bush, Amelia Earhart, and Orville and Wilbur Wright. Earhart and the Wright Brothers are among the few non-military persons to ever receive the medal, as an executive order in 1927 decreed the Cross should not be conferred on civilians.

The Distinguished Flying Cross Society was founded in 1994 to bring together those who have received this honor. Currently, there are more than 6,000 members, with 21 chapters nationwide.84340_1000x1000

As you plan your July 4th festivities, please take a few moments to reflect on those who have served our country. May we suggest The Army Air Corps Leather Flight Jacket as the ideal unique gift to honor a special veteran in your life? First issued to the U.S. Army aviators in 1931 and worn by flight crews throughout World War II, the A-2 flight jacket was reissued by the U.S. Air Force in 1987. This jacket, a Hammacher Schlemmer exclusive, is made by Cockpit USA, the current supplier of leather jackets to the Air Force. Presented in our signature gift box, it’s a perfect way to say “thank you”.

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