Friday, May 2, 2014

The Distinguished Flying Cross Society

A piece from guest blogger Col J. Bruce Huffman, U.S. Army Reserve (Ret.), Master Army Aviator

The Distinguished Flying Cross Society 
The Distinguished Flying Cross (DFC) is our nation’s highest award for aerial achievement. As a valor decoration, it ranks fourth in order of precedence, and is awarded to recipients for heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight. The DFC has been awarded to pilots and air crew in all five of our services (United States Army, United States Navy, United States Marine Corps, United States Air Force and the United States Coast Guard). Recipients represent a diversity of backgrounds, ethnicity, rank and gender whose aerial achievements were chronicled from the chaos of combat, to epic rescues, out to the very edges of space.

The Distinguished Flying Cross medal was established by an Act of Congress on July 2, 1926 to recognize the heroism of World War I pilots. However, the first Distinguished Flying Cross citations were presented to civilian Pan American Flight crews on 2 May, 1927 by President Calvin Coolidge, for their five ship, 22,000 mile flight. President Coolidge presented the first Distinguished Flying Cross medal, on 11 June, 1927, to then Captain Charles A. Lindbergh of the Army Air Corps Reserve, for his solo flight of 33 ½ hours and 3600 statute miles; beginning from Long Island, NY and landing in Paris, France. Lindbergh, the ‘Lone Eagle’, is a legacy member of The Distinguished Flying Cross Society.

The Distinguished Flying Cross Society itself (DFCS) was founded in 1994, as a 501(c) (19) nonprofit organization, headquartered in San Diego, CA, and is made up of those men and women who were awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and their relatives. The Society currently has more than 6,000 members and was founded on the fraternity and fellowship among military fliers. It seeks to preserve the rich heritage and historical narratives of those who are recipients of the DFC and to educate the general public, especially the youth of America, on the values of courage, patriotism and character; those very characteristics upon which America was founded. By doing so it elevates the awareness of the award itself and demonstrates to the public that a very small cross section of ordinary Americans can and have accomplished extraordinary things under extremely difficult conditions while in flight.

The DFCS recently published “On Heroic Wings: Stories of the Distinguished Flying Cross”, with the Foreword written by President George H. W. Bush and the Introduction written by Captain Jim Lovell; both recipients and members. The book is based on oral history accounts, Distinguished Flying Cross citations and other associated primary source documentation. Visual images gathered from personal collections and archives illuminate the comprehensive content of this volume. While the acquisition of the factual data was essential, capturing the personal feelings and perspectives of American aviation heroes added to the richness of the publication.

The DFCS is also moving forward to produce a syndicated film documentary on the Distinguished Flying Cross that will honor the legacy of the award as well that of its recipients. The Character Development Program (CDP), produced by the Medal of Honor Foundation as an educational outreach, has recently been recognized by the DFCS as an extremely worthy cause and efforts are underway to lend the support of our membership toward that effort. An active scholarship program exists for the descendents of DFCS members.

The Distinguished Flying Cross Society recognizes the strong historical connection between its origins and those of the United States Air Force and its predecessor, the U. S. Army Air Corps. The DFCS looks toward the ranks of the Air Force Association and those members who are recipients of the Distinguished Flying Cross to join with them in the preservation of their personal histories and to assist us to further our educational goals. We are making a special appeal to the current generation of heroes who have served since the first Gulf War as well as all others who may have been awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. As Kenny Chesney said in his 2007 hit ‘Don’t Blink’, “Trust me friend a hundred years goes faster than you think; so “don't blink”, act today!

If you are a DFC recipient and would like to see the historical narrative of your award preserved to serve as an inspiration for future generations, go to the DFCS website at ( for information and requirements for joining our ranks. Families of a deceased DFC recipient are also encouraged to enroll their loved one posthumously and become an Associate member. For additional information, call our Toll-free number at 1- 866-332-6332.

J. Bruce Huffman
Col. USAR (Ret.)
Master Army Aviator

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