The Distinguished Flying Cross is a military decoration awarded to any officer or enlisted member of the United States Armed Forces who distinguishes himself or herself in support of operations by heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight.
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Distinguished Flying Cross Medal (Coast Guard, Navy, Marine Co
The first award of the Distinguished Flying Cross was made by President Calvin Coolidge on May 2, 1927, to ten aviators of the Air Corps who had participated in the U.S. Army Pan American Flight, which took place from December 21, 1926 to May 2, 1927. Two of the airmen died in a mid-air collision trying to land atBuenos Aires on February 26, 1927, and received their awards posthumously.
Since the award had only been authorized by Congress the previous year, no medals had yet been made, and the Pan American airmen initially received only certificates. Among the ten airmen were Major Herbert A. Dargue, Captains Ira C. Eaker and Muir S. Fairchild, and 1st Lt. Ennis C. Whitehead.
Charles Lindbergh received the first presentation of the medal little more than a month later, from Coolidge during the Washington, D.C. homecoming reception on June 11, 1927, from his trans-Atlantic flight. The medal had been quickly made just for that ocassion.
Numerous military recipients of the medal would later earn greater fame in other occupations—several astronauts, actors, and politicians (including former President George H. W. Bush) are Distinguished Flying Cross holders.