Tiffany Cross Medal of Honor

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Tiffany Cross Medal of Honor
Tiffany Cross Medal of Honor.jpg
1919–1942 Navy "Tiffany Cross" pattern
Awarded by the President of the United States
in the name of Congress
Type Medal (Decoration)
Eligibility US Navy and Marine Corps personnel, 1917–1942
Awarded for Gallantry and intrepidity in actual conflict at the risk of one's life above and beyond the call of duty
Status Obsolete 7 August 1942
Description Modified cross pattée
Motto VALOUR
Statistics
Established 4 February 1919 (retroactive to 6 April 1917)
First awarded 15 October 1917, World War I
Last awarded 8 January 1928, Nicaragua
Total awarded 28
Posthumous
awards
5
Distinct
recipients
28
Precedence
Equivalent Medal of Honor
Next (lower) Navy Distinguished Service Medal[1]
Close-up of the Tiffany Cross Medal of Honor.jpg
Details of the Tiffany Cross

The Tiffany Cross Medal of Honor was created immediately after World War I. The US Navy decided to recognize via the Medal of Honor two manners of heroism. One in combat and one in the line of a sailor's profession. The original upside-down star was designated as the non-combat version and a new pattern of the medal pendant, in cross form, was designed by the Tiffany Company in 1919. It was to be presented to a sailor or Marine who "in action involving actual conflict with the enemy, distinguish[es] himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty" and without detriment to his mission.[2] This pendant became the Tiffany Cross.

Description[change | change source]

The Tiffany Cross is suspended from the classic light blue Medal of Honor ribbon with 13 white stars. At the ribbon top is a bar with the word "VALOUR". The medal is a gold cross pattée overlaying an oak and laurel wreath on the obverse side, with an antique anchor in each arm of the cross. The center, overlaying the cross, is an octagon with the phrases "UNITED STATES NAVY" to the top and "1917·1918" to the bottom, on the perimeter separated by two stars. The center of the octagon is the Great Seal of the United States.[3] The reverse side is flat, suitable for engraving. Recipients medals often had intricate inscriptions.[2]

Authorization[change | change source]

On 4 February 1919 Congress, in the same act that created the Navy Cross and the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, Congress provided:

That the President of the United States be, and is hereby authorized to present in the name of Congress, a Medal of Honor to any person who, while in the naval service of the United States, shall, in action involving actual conflict with the enemy, distinguish himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty and without detriment to the mission of his command or the command to which attached.[4]

Designed by Tiffany Company, this medal became the Tiffany Cross and eligibility was retroactive to 6 April 1917, when the United States entered World War I.

Inconsistent presentations[change | change source]

Despite the "actual conflict" guidelines, the Tiffany Cross was awarded to Floyd Bennett and Richard Byrd for arctic exploration, and to John Siegel for a rescue at sea. In the words of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, the Tiffany Cross Program was "poorly regulated and documented."[5]

Unpopularity and deauthorization[change | change source]

The Tiffany Cross was unpopular, perhaps because it so closely resembled the German Iron Cross.[5] Recipients, such as Admiral Byrd, requested, received, and wore the classical inverted star design. Byrd received his Tiffany Cross on 27 February 1927 from President Coolidge.[6] He received his classical Medal of Honor on 20 June 1930 from President Hoover.[7] His motives for the change are not remarked upon. In 1942, the Navy returned to using only the original 1862 inverted 5-point star design, and ceased issuing the award for non-combat action.[8]

Next lower award[change | change source]

During the Tiffany Cross's active status, the next lower naval award was the Navy Distinguished Service Medal, followed by the Navy Cross. By congressional action on 7 August 1942, in the same act that terminated the Tiffany Cross, the Distinguished Service Medal and the Navy Cross swapped places, with the Navy Cross also becoming solely a combat award.[1]

List[change | change source]

The US Naval History & Heritage Command asserts that 28 sailors and Marines received the Tiffany Cross, but does not provide a list.[2] However, a review of:

  • presentation photographs to Medal of Honor recipients,
  • photographs or paintings of recipients wearing a Tiffany Cross,
  • photographs of engravings on the medal's reverse side (many on the Naval History website),
  • museum displays of recipient medals,
  • recipient headstone markers,
  • newspaper accounts of the presentation ceremony and
  • application of the "actual conflict" criterion

make a nearly complete list. There are at least three recipients (Byrd, Bennett, Siegal) who have been awarded the Tiffany Cross for non-combat actions. There may be other in-period recipients that have also have received one, but these aren't known, and would require investigation of similar nature for each.

Recipients[change | change source]

      Lavender background and   indicates that the Medal of Honor was received posthumously

Tiffany Cross Medal of Honor Awardees
Image Name Service Date of Action Combat Action and Source
OsmondIngram.jpg Ingram, Osmond K.Osmond K. Ingram  USN 01917-10-15 October 15 1917 Yes Ingram was killed while attempting to release depth charges in the face of an oncoming torpedo.[9] He is one of thirteen recipients receiving the Tiffany Cross from a single Department of the Navy announcement issued 11 November 1920, many of whom present photographic evidence.[10] His action meets the "actual conflict" criterion.
Alexander Gordon Lyle.jpg Lyle, Alexander G.Alexander G. Lyle Dental Corps, USN 01918-04-23 April 23 1918 Yes Lyle exposed himself to hostile fire to treat a wounded man.[11] He is one of thirteen recipients receiving the Tiffany Cross from a single Department of the Navy announcement issued 11 November 1920, many of whom present photographic evidence.[10] He has a museum display,[upper-alpha 1] and meets the "actual conflict" criterion.
Daniel A. J. Sullivan.jpg Sullivan, Daniel A. J.Daniel A. J. Sullivan USNR 01918-05-21 May 21 1918 Yes Sullivan secured a group of live depth charges.[12] He is one of thirteen recipients receiving the Tiffany Cross from a single Department of the Navy announcement issued 11 November 1920, many of whom present photographic evidence.[10] He meets the "actual conflict" criterion.
Edouard Izac.png Izac, Edouard V. M.Edouard V. M. Izac USN 01918-05-21 May 21 1918 Yes Izac gathered intelligence while a prisoner of war; he then escaped and brought the information to the Allies.[13] There is a photograph of his medal's engraving.[2][upper-alpha 2]
Janson, Ernest A.Ernest A. Janson USMC 01918-06-06 June 06 1918 Yes[upper-alpha 3][upper-alpha 4] Janson single-handedly attacked and dispersed a machine gun detachment.[14] He meets the "actual conflict" criterion.
Weedon Osborne.jpg Osborne, Weedon E.Weedon E. Osborne  Dental Corps, USN 01918-06-06 June 06 1918 Yes Osborne was killed while rescuing wounded men from under heavy fire.[15] There is a museum display of his medal.[8][upper-alpha 2]
Orlando Petty.jpg Petty, Orlando H.Orlando H. Petty Medical Corps, USNR 01918-06-11 June 11 1918 Yes Petty tended the wounded despite artillery and gas attacks, even after his gas mask was rendered useless.[16] There is a photograph of the recipient wearing his Tiffany Cross.[17][upper-alpha 2]
Cukela Capt Louis USMC h79333.jpg Cukela, LouisLouis Cukela USMC 01918-07-18 July 18 1918 Yes[upper-alpha 3] Cukela single-handedly attacked and captured a German strongpoint.[18] There is a photograph of the recipient wearing his Tiffany Cross.[2]
Matej kocak.jpg Kocak, MatejMatej Kocak  USMC 01918-07-18 July 18 1918 Yes[upper-alpha 3] Kocak single-handedly silenced a machine gun nest and led a successful attack on a second nest.[19] He meets the "actual conflict" criterion.
JoelTBoone.jpg Boone, Joel T.Joel T. Boone Medical Corps, USN 01918-07-19 July 19 1918 Yes Boone exposed himself to intense fire in order to treat the wounded and bring in supplies.[20] There is a photograph of the recipient wearing his Tiffany Cross.[2][upper-alpha 2]
Ensign Charles H Hammann.jpg Hammann, Charles H.Charles H. Hammann USN 01918-08-21 August 21 1918 Yes Hammann escued a fellow pilot who had been shot down.[21] He is one of thirteen recipients receiving the Tiffany Cross from a single Department of the Navy announcement issued 11 November 1920, many of whom present photographic evidence.[10] He meets the "actual conflict" criterion.
DavidEHayden.jpg Hayden, David E.David E. Hayden USN 01918-09-15 September 15 1918 Yes Hayden reached a wounded man, treated him, and carried him to safety despite intense fire.[22] He is one of thirteen recipients receiving the Tiffany Cross from a single Department of the Navy announcement issued 11 November 1920, many of whom present photographic evidence.[10] The is a museum display of his medal,[upper-alpha 5] and he meets the "actual conflict" criterion.
Kelly, John J.John J. Kelly USMC 01918-10-03 October 03 1918 Yes[upper-alpha 3] Kelly single-handedly attacked a machine gun nest under an artillery barrage.[23] There is a painting of the recipient wearing his Tiffany Cross,[24] and there is a museum display of his medal.[upper-alpha 6]
Pruitt JH USMC.jpg Pruitt, John H.John H. Pruitt  USMC 01918-10-03 October 03 1918 Yes[upper-alpha 3] Pruitt single-handedly captured two machine guns and forty prisoners.[25] There is a museum display of his medal,[upper-alpha 6] and he meets the "actual conflict" criterion.
James Jonas Madison.jpg Madison, James J.James J. Madison USNR 01918-10-04 October 04 1918 Yes Madison continued to lead his ship after being severely wounded during a U-boat attack.[26] There is a photograph of the recipient wearing his Tiffany Cross.[27][upper-alpha 2]
Balch, John H.John H. Balch USNR 01918-10-05 October 05 1918 Yes Balch exposed himself to intense fire in order to treat the wounded and establish a dressing station.[28] He is one of thirteen recipients receiving the Tiffany Cross from a single Department of the Navy announcement issued 11 November 1920, many of whom present photographic evidence.[10] He has a museum display of his medal,[upper-alpha 1] and he meets the "actual conflict" criterion.
Gunnery Sergeant Robert G. Robinson, USMC.jpg Robinson, Robert G.Robert G. Robinson USMC 01918-10-14 October 14 1918 Yes Robinson continued to fire his weapon after being severely wounded in an aerial battle against twelve German planes.[29] There is a photograph of his medal's engraving,[2][upper-alpha 2] and museum display of the medal.[upper-alpha 6]
RalphTalbot.jpg Talbot, RalphRalph Talbot  USMC 01918-10-14 October 14 1918 Yes Talbot, with gunner Robert G. Robinson, shot down one plane in an aerial battle against twelve German aircraft.[30] He is one of thirteen recipients receiving the Tiffany Cross from a single Department of the Navy announcement issued 11 November 1920, many of whom present photographic evidence.[10] There is a museum display of his medal,[upper-alpha 6] and he meets the "actual conflict" criterion.
Siegel, John O.John O. Siegel USN 01918-11-01 November 01 1918 No Seigel rescued two men from a burning vessel before being trapped and collapsing from the smoke.[31] There is a museum display of his medal.[upper-alpha 7]
Floyd Bennett.jpg Bennett, FloydFloyd Bennett USN 01926-05-09 May 09 1926 No Bennett's award if for his part in what was thought to be the first successful heavier-than-air flight to the North Pole and back.[33] There is a photograph of the recipient receiving his medal.[6]
Lt com r e byrd.jpg Byrd, Richard E.Richard E. Byrd USN 01926-05-09 May 09 1926 No Byrd's award is for leading what was thought to be the first successful heavier-than-air flight to the North Pole and back.[34] There is a photograph of the recipient receiving his medal.[6]
Schilt CF USMC.jpg Schilt, FrankFrank Schilt USMC 01928-01-08 January 08 1928 Yes Schilt evacuated wounded Marines by plane while under fire.[35] There is a photograph of the recipient wearing his medal.[2]

Related pages[change | change source]

Notes[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 On display at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, MD.[source?]
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 One of the 13 recipients reported in the New York Times.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 3.4 Received both the Army and Navy versions of the Medal of Honor for the same action; one of nineteen people to receive two Medals of Honor.
  4. Also served under the name Charles F. Hoffman.
  5. On display at the Legion of Valor Museum, Fresno, CA.[source?]
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 On display at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, Quantico, VA.[source?]
  7. Collection of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA.[32]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 US Naval History & Heritage Command (24 January 2001). "The Navy Cross". http://www.history.navy.mil/medals/navcross.htm. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 US Naval History & Heritage Command (23 January 2008). "The Medal of Honor – Navy Medals of Honor, 1861–1941 – The "Tiffany Cross" pattern". Department of the Navy. http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/awd/us-indiv/moh-3t.htm. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  3. NGS (1944). Insignia and Decorations of the U.S. Armed Forces. National Geographic Society.
  4. HyperWar Foundation. "HyperWar: Navy and Marine Corps Awards Manual—1953, Part I:". HyperWar Foundation. http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USN/ref/Awards/Awards-I.html. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Congressional Medal of Honor Society. "CMOHS.org – History of the Medal of Honor". Congressional Medal of Honor Society. http://www.cmohs.org/medal-history.php. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 "Coolidge awarding Medal of Honor to Byrd and Bennett 1927". Library of Congress. 1927. http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Coolidge_awarding_Medal_of_Honor_to_Byrd_and_Bennett_1927.jpg. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  7. US Naval History & Heritage Command. "Photo # NH 41633 Radm. R. E. Byrd, USN, receives his Medal of Honor from Pres. Hoover 20 June 1930". US Naval History & Heritage Command. http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/images/h41000/h41633.jpg. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  8. 8.0 8.1 Birnie, Michael (27 April 2003). ""Tiffany" Medal of Honor Comes to Navy Museum". The Navy Museum Public Affairs. http://www.navy.mil/submit/display.asp?story_id=7048. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  9. Military Times. "Valor awards for Osmond Kelly Ingram". Gannett Government Media Corporation. http://militarytimes.com/citations-medals-awards/recipient.php?recipientid=2504. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 10.3 10.4 10.5 10.6 New York Times (12 November 1920). "13 Get Medal of Honor". New York Times.
  11. Military Times. "Valor awards for Alexander Gordon Lyle". Gannett Government Media Corporation. http://militarytimes.com/citations-medals-awards/recipient.php?recipientid=93. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  12. Military Times. "Valor awards for Daniel Augustus Joseph Sullivan". Gannett Government Media Corporation. http://militarytimes.com/citations-medals-awards/recipient.php?recipientid=557. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  13. Military Times. "Valor awards for Edouard Victor Michel Izac (Isaacs)". Gannett Government Media Corporation. http://militarytimes.com/citations-medals-awards/recipient.php?recipientid=699. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  14. Military Times. "Valor awards for Charles F. Hoffman". Gannett Government Media Corporation. http://militarytimes.com/citations-medals-awards/recipient.php?recipientid=399. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  15. Military Times. "Valor awards for Weedon Edward Osborne". Gannett Government Media Corporation. http://militarytimes.com/citations-medals-awards/recipient.php?recipientid=3100. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  16. Military Times. "Valor awards for Orlando Henderson Petty". Gannett Government Media Corporation. http://militarytimes.com/citations-medals-awards/recipient.php?recipientid=2841. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  17. US Naval History & Heritage Command (23 January 2008). "Lieutenant Orlando H. Petty, Medical Corps, USNRF (1874–1932)". Department of the Navy. http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/awd/us-indiv/petty/o-petty.htm. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  18. Military Times. "Valor awards for Louis Cukela". Gannett Government Media Corporation. http://militarytimes.com/citations-medals-awards/recipient.php?recipientid=2250. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  19. Military Times. "Valor awards for Matej Kocak". Gannett Government Media Corporation. http://militarytimes.com/citations-medals-awards/recipient.php?recipientid=2322. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  20. Military Times. "Valor awards for Joel Thompson Boone". Gannett Government Media Corporation. http://militarytimes.com/citations-medals-awards/recipient.php?recipientid=1694. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  21. Military Times. "Valor awards for Charles Hazeltine Hammann". Gannett Government Media Corporation. http://militarytimes.com/citations-medals-awards/recipient.php?recipientid=432. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  22. Military Times. "Valor awards for David Ephraim Hayden". Gannett Government Media Corporation. http://militarytimes.com/citations-medals-awards/recipient.php?recipientid=608. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  23. Military Times. "Valor awards for John Joseph Kelly". Gannett Government Media Corporation. http://militarytimes.com/citations-medals-awards/recipient.php?recipientid=1950. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  24. US Naval History & Heritage Command (11 June 2008). "Private John J. Kelly, USMC, (1898–1957)". Department of the Navy. http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/pers-us/uspers-k/j-kelly.htm. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  25. Military Times. "Valor awards for John Henry Pruitt". Gannett Government Media Corporation. http://militarytimes.com/citations-medals-awards/recipient.php?recipientid=1929. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  26. Military Times. "Valor awards for James Jonas Madison". Gannett Government Media Corporation. http://militarytimes.com/citations-medals-awards/recipient.php?recipientid=1588. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  27. US Naval History & Heritage Command (23 January 2008). "Commander James J. Madison, USNRF, 1888–1922". Department of the Navy. http://www.history.navy.mil/photos/pers-us/uspers-m/jj-madsn.htm. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  28. Military Times. "Valor awards for John Henry Balch". Gannett Government Media Corporation. http://militarytimes.com/citations-medals-awards/recipient.php?recipientid=1922. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  29. Military Times. "Valor awards for Robert Guy Robinson". Gannett Government Media Corporation. http://militarytimes.com/citations-medals-awards/recipient.php?recipientid=2750. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  30. Military Times. "Valor awards for Ralph Talbot". Gannett Government Media Corporation. http://militarytimes.com/citations-medals-awards/recipient.php?recipientid=2613. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  31. Military Times. "Valor awards for John Otto Siegel". Gannett Government Media Corporation. http://militarytimes.com/citations-medals-awards/recipient.php?recipientid=1980. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  32. "Reverse of John Otto Siegel's Tiffany Cross". http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Reverse_of_John_Otto_Siegel%27s_Tiffany_Cross.jpg. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  33. Military Times. "Valor awards for Floyd Bennett". Gannett Government Media Corporation. http://militarytimes.com/citations-medals-awards/recipient.php?recipientid=850. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  34. Military Times. "Valor awards for Richard Evelyn Byrd, Jr.". Gannett Government Media Corporation. http://militarytimes.com/citations-medals-awards/recipient.php?recipientid=2673. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  35. Military Times. "Valor awards for Christian Franklin Schilt". Gannett Government Media Corporation. http://militarytimes.com/citations-medals-awards/recipient.php?recipientid=492. Retrieved 29 December 2012.