The Coast Guard Cross was established by Act of Congress (Public Law 111-281, approved on October 15, 2010 (which authorized 14 USC 491A).


The legislation establishing the Coast Guard Cross did not provide for retroactive award, so it must be considered as taking effect on October 15, 2010.


The President may award a Coast Guard Cross to a person who, while serving in any capacity with the Coast Guard, when not operating under the Department of the Navy, distinguishes himself or herself in action by extraordinary heroism not justifying the award of the Medal of Honor:
  • While engaged in action against an enemy of the United States;

  • While engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force or terrorist organization; or,

  • While serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armred force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.
To warrant this decoration, the act or execution of duty must be performed in the presence of great danger, or at great personal risk, and must be performed in such a manner as to set individuals apart from their shipmates. An accumulation of minor acts of heroism normally does not justify the award. The high standards demanded must be forne in min when recommending the award. ORDER OF PRECEDENCE

The Coast Guard Cross is worn after the Medal of Honor and before all other decorations.


Additional awards of the Coast Cross are denoted by gold stars five-sixteenths of an inch in diameter.


The Coast Guard Cross was designed by the Coast Guard in conjunction with the Army_s Institute of Heraldry.


The Coast Cross has not yet been awarded.



The medal is a cross in gold metal and colored epoxy and is two and one quarter inches in height and one and three-quarters inces in width. The four arms of the corss are pointed and faceted with ships_ anchors between each arm. Centered on the obverse is a wreath of twenty-six laurel leaves, thirteen to either side of a depiction of the coat of arms fo the United States of America, all of approrpriate epoxy colors. The suspension ring is part of the medal and is a looped rope with crossed oars.


The reverse is the same as the obverse exept that it does not display the wreath and shield; in its place is a central circle and the word FOR arched at the top and VALOR arched below.


The ribbon is one and three-eighths inches wide and consists of a dark blue background with a center stripe of flame red bordered by two ultramarine blue stripes (all of the central stripes are fimbriated by thin white borders).


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