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The Legion of Valor was organized on April 23, 1890, in Washington, DC, by a group of Civil War and Indian War Campaign veterans who were recipients of the Medal of Honor. At its inception, the name was "The Medal of Honor Legion". The membership was augmented following the Spanish Campaign of 1898 and following the Philippines Insurrection. The membership was never large and with the passage of years and subsequent demise of members, on November 25, 1918, the recipients of the Army Distinguished Service Cross, the second ranking Army decoration for extraordinary heroism, were admitted to membership. In 1933, members of the United States Navy and Marine Corps, who were recipients of the Navy Cross, the second ranking Navy decoration for extraordinary heroism, were invited to join the membership and the name of this prestigious organization was changed to "The Army and Navy Legion of Valor". On August 4, 1955, Public Law 224, 84th Congress, incorporated The Army and Navy Legion of Valor of the United States. With the creation of the Air Force Medal of Honor and the Air Force Cross, the membership invited the recipients of these medals to become members and on June 21, 1961, with P.L. 87-56, the name of this elite organization became the "Legion of Valor of the United States of America, Inc".



A. Cherish the memories of the valiant deeds for which the Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross, and the Air Force Cross are the insignia.
B. Promote true fellowship.
C. Advance the best interest of members of the Armed Forces of the United States and to enhance their prestige and understanding by example and personal activity.
D. Extend all possible relief to needy members, their widows, and children.
E. Stimulate patriotism in the minds of our youth and engender a national pride and interest in the Armed Forces of the United States.



Each of the three services has its own distinctive design for the Medal of Honor and the Three Crosses. The Medal of Honor is awarded for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life, above and beyond the call of duty. The Three Crosses are awarded for extraordinary heroism. Many of these two highest decorations are awarded posthumously.



The Legion of Valor has maintained a consistent interest in recognizing outstanding performance. In 1957, at the 67th National Reunion, the Legion of Valor created a Silver Cross for Heroism and a Bronze Cross for Achievement. In establishing these awards, members of the Legion of Valor concluded that the Silver Cross should be reserved to recognize actions involving the saving or preservation of life and that the decoration could be conferred on any person whose conduct met such standards. On the other hand, the Bronze Cross for Achievement should be available to those cadets of the Reserve Officers Training Corps who have demonstrated excellence in military, scholastic, and civic affairs.

The very nature of the Silver Cross for Heroism suggests that it would be given sparingly and only after thorough review by the Legion of Valor Awards Committee. Hence, it is seldom that more than two Crosses are presented in a year's time although there is no limitation on the number that may be granted. While there is no such thing as a typical Silver Cross award, over recent years it has been given to a Florida newspaper carrier, a non-swimmer, who dived into a canal to rescue the driver of a car which had sunk in the water. Another went to a Texas National Guard chaplain, who, though painfully injured, saved a number of elderly persons from drowning when a sudden violent thunderstorm struck over a lake where people were boating and bathing. A Silver Cross for Heroism was posthumously presented to a native of Mexico who was studying for his U.S. citizenship examinations. When his tutor was attacked by six assailants, he went to her rescue, beat off the attackers, but suffered gunshot wounds which cost him his life. Two more Crosses were given to recognize the valor of two airline pilots who successfully thwarted a hijacker. Although one pilot was killed and the other wounded, the plane was landed successfully after the hijacker was wounded and subdued by the pilots. The Silver Cross for Heroism was awarded to an airline purser, the first ever to a woman, who was credited with saving a sailor's life during a hijacking in Beirut. Most recently, it was presented to a Director of a Veteran's Administration Medical Center who climbed a construction crane to a distance of about 105 feet above the ground to render aid to an apparently suicidal veteran.

At the 98th Annual Reunion, the constitution was amended to allow Silver Cross recipients to become associate members.

The Bronze Cross for Achievement program began of a limited scale in 1951 when the District of Columbia Chapter established an incentive for excellence in the Washington High School Corps of Cadets. The national body of the Legion of Valor ordained that the program be converted to a nationally-sponsored program in 1957. Thus it was extended to the Fifth U.S. Army in 1959, to the Third U.S. Army in 1960, and in 1961 to all Army ROTC and NDCC cadets. In 1962, college-level cadets of the U.S. Air Force ROTC became eligible to receive the Bronze Cross, and in 1975, college-level midshipmen of the U.S. Navy were given the privilege of competing for the Cross. High school cadets of the Junior U.S. Marine Corps ROTC also participate in the program.

Criteria for award of the Bronze Cross for Achievement have been developed by the Legion of Valor in conjunction with officials of the Army's ROTC program. In general, the standards of achievement are similar to the qualities required for award of the Army's Superior Cadet Decoration and have been adopted by the Air Force, Navy, and Marine Corps. Thus, the same standards prevail for all services.

Administration of the program is conducted by the services under the aegis of the Legion of Valor. Recommendations are sent to the Awards Chairman of the Legion of Valor who conducts reviews to assure adherence to all criteria, including the rule that the Cross is to be presented for performance through the next-to-last year of school. Because of the rigid standards and the thorough screening processes employed, less than 50 cadets and midshipmen receive Crosses each year. All Crosses and certificates are provided by the Legion of Valor at no cost to the participating services or to the institutions attended by the successful nominees. All nominations originate with the military officials having jurisdiction over the individual being nominated. Presentations are customarily made by an officer or member of the Legion of Valor in conjunction with officials of the institution.



Each year an annual convention is planned for the Legion of Valor. None have been missed since the founding in 1890. To find out more about the Legion of Valor Annual Convention.



Legion of Valor
4704 Calle Reina
Santa Barbara, CA 93110



Veterans Memorial Museum Home of the Legion of Valor
2425 Fresno Street at "O" Street
Fresno, CA 93721

The Museum was established August 1, 1991, and incorporated into the Constitution and By-Laws August 21, 1993. Located in Fresno, California and supported heavily by the community, the museum contains military memorabilia, artifacts, photographs, and official citations. To find out more about the Museum .



To Apply for Membership to the Legion of Valor .