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Navy Cross

When the United States entered the First World War, the country had no other meritorious decoration than the Medal of Honor. It had no decoration to recognize heroic actions that could not apply for the Medal of Honor. To fill this gap, the US Army instituted the Distinguished Service Cross and the Distinguished Service Medal in 1918. The Navy and Marine Corps followed somewhat later.
On February 4th 1919, the Navy Cross was instituted by act of Congress as the third highest Naval decoration after the Navy Medal of Honor and the Navy Distinguished Service Medal.

This made the medal not very popular. Most servicemen regarded it as a minor decoration.
The Navy Cros was made retroactive till April 6th 1917. On August 7th 1942, the Congress upgraded the medal and placed it directly under the Medal of Honor. It then became a combat-only recognition.

The Navy Cross was designed by James Earl Fraser. Through the years it knew some differences. The medal itself has always been the same. It is a three part construction. The cross and the front and the back of the medallion are struck separately and soldered together. The earliest version (1919-1928) wears a ribbon with a very narrow white stripe on the blue cloth. The medal has mostly a dull, greenish bronze colour. The later issues (1928-1941) have a more custom .5" white stripe on the ribbon and are of a more darker, gunmetal bronze.
The cross is designed as a modified cross that measures 1,5 inches wide. The ends of the arms are rounded. On each re-entrant arms of the cross can be found a bunch of laurel leaves with berries to represent achievement. In the centre is depicted a sailing vessel on waves, sailing to the left. The ship is a so called Caravelle, symbolic for sailing ships of the 14th century.
The reverse bears crossed anchors of the pre-1850 period, with attached cables. In the mid can be found the letters USN.
The ribbon is in Navy Blue with a white stripe in the center, to represent the Navy service and the purity of selflessness.

The Navy Cross may be awarded to any person who, while serving with the Navy or Marine Corps, distinguishes himself in action by extraordinary heroism not justifying an award of the Medal of Honor. The action must take place under one of three circumstances: while engaged in action against an enemy of the United States; while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or, while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict in which the United States is not a belligerent party. To earn a Navy Cross the act to be commended must be performed in the presence of great danger or at great personal risk and must be performed in such a manner as to render the individual highly conspicuous among others of equal grade, rate, experience, or position of responsibility. An accumulation of minor acts of heroism does not justify an award of the Navy Cross.

Replicas are almost without exception struck out of one piece instead of the original three piece construction. During the years 1941-1942 a variation was seen that was nicknamed "Black Widow" with a blackened finish of the medal. Most of these awards were awarded posthumously. From the mid of World War Two the more original dull bronze finish was once more adapted.

Abel, Brent Maxwell* May 16th, 1916
December 26th, 2005

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Abele, Mannert Lincoln (USN)* July 11th, 1903
August 16th, 1942

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Grid List
NameDate of birthDate of deathAwards
Abbott, Gordon  
Abbott, William Edwin29-06-192512-12-1944
Abel, Brent Maxwell16-05-191626-12-2005more
Abel, Rondo Grayson (USMC)  
Abele, Mannert Lincoln (USN)11-07-190316-08-1942more
Abercrombie, Laurence Allen "Abe" (USN)11-10-189703-05-1973more
Abercrombie, William Warner24-07-191404-06-1942more
Abernathy, Elmer Paul (USN)14-06-189915-12-1990more
Abernathy, Louis Martin (USN)20-03-192209-06-1996
Achor, Merlin F.  
Acree, Lloyd Edgar31-07-192012-10-1942
Adair, Robert Flyn  
Adams, Frederick Louis  
Adams, John Paul  
Adams, John Porter  
Adams, Marvin Eugene  
Adams, Russell Max  
Adams, Samuel10-04-191205-06-1942
Adams, Thomas Brooks  
Adams, William Lee  
Adcock, Clinton M.  
Adkins, James A.  
Agnew, Dwight Merle  
Ahrens, Edward H.  
Aiken, William L.  
Ailes, John W., III  
Ainsworth, Walden Lee  
Akers, Alfred Howard, Jr.  
Albaugh, Daniel S.00-00-192620-03-1945
Alderman, John Clement31-07-190617-11-1976more
Aldrich, Charles Warren  
Aldrich, Donald N.  
Alexander, James Herbert, Jr.  
Alexander, Ralph Clonts  
Alexander, Samuel Hugh01-05-191400-00-2011
Alford, Bennett W.  
Allard, Robert V.  
Allen, Augustus T., Jr.  
Allen, Edward H.  
Allen, James W.  
Allen, Russell Bowes  
Allen, Thomas J.  
Allen, Walter Henry "Pappy"17-05-191523-04-1951more
Altman, Richard Gustaf28-08-192304-01-2009more
Alvord, John R.  
Ammen, John N., Jr.  
Amundson, Maurice R.  
Amussen, John Russell23-03-192119-05-1945more
Anderberg, Martin L.  
Andersen, Clarence N.  
Andersen, Harvey M.  
Anderson, Alexander Louis  
Anderson, Arthur  
Anderson, Arthur J.  
Anderson, Edward Lee  
Anderson, Elman Adair (USMC)27-05-192303-09-1944more
Anderson, Ralph G.  
Anderson, Ralph R.10-08-192027-06-1999
Anderson, Robert Harold  
Anderson, William Henry, Jr.  
Anderson, William Lovett10-04-190627-11-2004
Anderson, William Wickliff  
Andreasen, Grant G. (USN)01-04-191606-05-1997
Andrews, Charles Herbert14-05-190807-12-1981more
Andrews, Thomas Loftin, Jr.  
Angevine, Clarence E.  
Antonelli, John W.  
Antrim, Richard Nott17-12-190708-03-1969more
Aragon, Abel Bidal 'Billie' (USMC)06-07-192608-07-1961
Arbes, James Douglas  
Archambault, Raoul J.  
Archer, Robert John  
Archibeque, Max Marcellini  
Ard, Charles F.  
Arison, Rae Emmett  
Armistead, Kirk  
Armour, Thomas Edward  
Armstrong, Henry J.  
Armstrong, J.M.  
Armstrong, John B.  
Armstrong, Robert Gordon  
Arnett, George, Jr.  
Arnold, Herman Franklin (USMC)06-03-192014-09-1942
Arnold, Jackson Dominick  
Arnold, John Samuel, II  
Arnold, Ralph Judd  
Arsenault, Frederick Lawrence  
Arsenault, Norman (USMC)22-05-192608-07-1944
Arthur, Robert O.  
Asbill, Edward L.  
Aschenbach, Julius O.  
Ashley, James H., Jr.  
Atkeson, John Conner  
Atkins, Barry Kennedy02-08-191115-11-2005
Atkinson, Fitzgerald, Jr.  
Atwell, Melvin Kenneth  
Atwood, Arthur J.  
Ault, William B.  
Auman, Joseph Martin04-01-192212-11-1942more
Aurand, Evan P.10-06-191707-06-1989
Austin, Bernard Lige15-12-190221-09-1979more
Austin, John Arnold  
Austin, Marshall H.14-06-191119-07-2006
Austin, Walton A.  
Avdeyev, Mikhail Vasilyevich15-09-191322-06-1979
Avery, Howard Malcolm  
Avery, John Elton  
Axtell, George C., Jr. "Big Ax"29-11-1920 
Ayers, Russell G.  
Aylward, Theodore C.  
Azer, John B.  

Sources