Criteria: 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.

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

Background: The Navy Cross was established by Act of Congress (Public Law 253, 65th Congress), approved on February 4, 1919. The Navy Cross has been in effect since April 6, 1917. The Navy Cross was designed by James Earl Fraser (1876-1953).