Distinguished Service Cross Medal

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, the DSC, is the second highest award for valor bestowed on a solider. President Woodrow Wilson established the award on January 2, 1918. The DSC 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.
Object Name
associated date
1917 - 1918
Pershing, John J.
Physical Description
cloth (suspension ribbon material)
metal (pin fastener material)
bronze (pendant material)
overall: 3 3/4 in x 2 in x 1/2 in; 9.525 cm x 5.08 cm x 1.27 cm
associated place
United States
ID Number
catalog number
accession number
related event
World War I
The Emergence of Modern America
See more items in
Armed Forces History: Armed Forces History, Military
The Price of Freedom: Americans at War
Exhibition Location
National Museum of American History
Data Source
National Museum of American History, Kenneth E. Behring Center

Visitor Comments

12/5/2012 11:24:04 AM
C Swiggart
Why don't you put an excerpt from Pershing's citation? It is highly unusual that a general officer would receive a combat decoration such as this. I find it more likely that Gen. Pershing awarded that particular decoration to a combat infantryman.
9/4/2013 4:12:51 PM
Jennifer J
This object came to the Museum as a bequest from Francis Warren Pershing, the widow of Gen. John J. Pershing. The US Military Decorations and Medals included in this bequest are as follows: US Indian Campaign Medal US Philippine Campaign Medal US Cuban Occupation Medal US Spanish Campaign Medal US Army of Occupation of Germany Medal US Mexican Service Medal US Distinguished Service Cross US Victory Medal, with 14 battle clasps US Silver Star Medal US Distinguished Service Medal and a host of foreign medals as well. He was the recipient of this medal.
Add a comment about this object

**Please read before submitting the form**

Have a comment or question about this object to share with the community? Please use the form below. Selected comments will appear on this page and may receive a museum response (but we can't promise). Please note that we generally cannot answer questions about the history, rarity, or value of your personal artifacts.

Have a question about anything else, or would you prefer a personal response? Please visit our FAQ or contact page.

Personal information will not be shared or result in unsolicited e-mail. See our privacy policy.

Enter the characters shown in the image.