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
TypeMedal (Decoration)
EligibilityUS Navy and Marine Corps personnel, 1917–1942
Awarded forGallantry and intrepidity in actual conflict at the risk of one's life above and beyond the call of duty
StatusObsolete 7 August 1942
DescriptionModified cross pattée
MottoVALOUR
Statistics
Established4 February 1919 (retroactive to 6 April 1917)
First awarded15 October 1917, World War I
Last awarded8 January 1928, Nicaragua
Total awarded22
Posthumous
awards
5
Distinct
recipients
22
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 arose immediately after World War I, as 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.

World War I 1914–1918 global war originating in Europe

World War I, also known as the First World War or the Great War, was a global war originating in Europe that lasted from 28 July 1914 to 11 November 1918. Contemporaneously described as, "the war to end all wars," it led to the mobilisation of more than 70 million military personnel, including 60 million Europeans, making it one of the largest wars in history. It is also one of the deadliest conflicts in history, with an estimated nine million combatants and seven million civilian deaths as a direct result of the war, while resulting genocides and the resulting 1918 influenza pandemic caused another 50 to 100 million deaths worldwide.

United States Navy Naval warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Navy (USN) is the naval warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces and one of the seven uniformed services of the United States. It is the largest and most capable navy in the world and it has been estimated that in terms of tonnage of its active battle fleet alone, it is larger than the next 13 navies combined, which includes 11 U.S. allies or partner nations. With the highest combined battle fleet tonnage and the world's largest aircraft carrier fleet, with eleven in service, and two new carriers under construction. With 319,421 personnel on active duty and 99,616 in the Ready Reserve, the U.S. Navy is the third largest of the U.S. military service branches in terms of personnel. It has 282 deployable combat vessels and more than 3,700 operational aircraft as of March 2018, making it the third-largest air force in the world, after the United States Air Force and the United States Army.

Medal of Honor United States of Americas highest military honor

The Medal of Honor is the United States of America's highest and most prestigious personal military decoration that may be awarded to recognize U.S. military service members who have distinguished themselves by acts of valor. The medal is normally awarded by the President of the United States in the name of the U.S. Congress. Because the medal is presented "in the name of Congress", it is often referred to informally as the "Congressional Medal of Honor". However, the official name of the current award is "Medal of Honor". Within the United States Code the medal is referred to as the "Medal of Honor", and less frequently as "Congressional Medal of Honor". U.S. awards, including the Medal of Honor, do not have post-nominal titles, and while there is no official abbreviation, the most common abbreviations are "MOH" and "MH".

Contents

Description

The Tiffany Cross is suspended from the 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. Awardees' medals often had intricate inscriptions. [2]

Cross pattée type of cross which has arms narrow at the centre, and broader at the perimeter

A cross pattée is a type of Christian cross which has arms narrow at the centre, and often flared in a curve or straight line shape, to be broader at the perimeter. The form appears very early in medieval art, for example in a metalwork treasure binding given to Monza Cathedral by Queen Theodelinda, and the 8th century lower cover of the Lindau Gospels in the Morgan Library. An early English example from the start of the age of heraldry proper is found in the arms of Baron Berkeley.

Great Seal of the United States National seal

The Great Seal of the United States is used to authenticate certain documents issued by the federal government of the United States. The phrase is used both for the physical seal itself, which is kept by the United States Secretary of State, and more generally for the design impressed upon it. The Great Seal was first used in 1782.

Authorization

On 4 February 1919, 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.

United States declaration of war on Germany (1917)

On April 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson asked a special joint session of the United States Congress for a declaration of war against the German Empire. Congress responded with the declaration on April 6.

Inconsistent presentations

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]

Floyd Bennett United States Navy Medal of Honor recipient

Floyd Bennett was an American aviator who claimed, along with Richard E. Byrd, to have made the first flight to the North Pole in 1926. However, their claim to have reached the pole is disputed.

Richard E. Byrd Medal of Honor recipient and United States Navy officer

Rear Admiral Richard Evelyn Byrd Jr. was an American naval officer and explorer. He was a recipient of the Medal of Honor, the highest honor for valor given by the United States, and was a pioneering American aviator, polar explorer, and organizer of polar logistics. Aircraft flights in which he served as a navigator and expedition leader crossed the Atlantic Ocean, a segment of the Arctic Ocean, and a segment of the Antarctic Plateau. Byrd claimed that his expeditions had been the first to reach both the North Pole and the South Pole by air. However, his claim to have reached the North Pole is disputed.

John Otto Siegel was a United States Navy Boatswain's Mate Second Class who earned the Medal of Honor for extraordinary heroism while serving on board of the Mohawk (YT-17) during World War I.

Unpopularity and deauthorization

The Tiffany Cross was unpopular, perhaps because it so closely resembled the German Iron Cross. [5] Recipients, such as Richard E. 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 recorded. 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

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]

Recipients

The US Naval History & Heritage Command asserts that 28 sailors and Marines received the Tiffany Cross, but does not provide a list. [9] The Navy's assertion of 28 recipients is believed to be derived from the fact that 21 Sailors and 7 Marines were awarded the Medal of Honor for actions during World War I. However, a review of:

make a nearly complete list of 22 recipients. Based on analysis of all recipients of the Navy version of the Medal of Honor from 1919 to 1942, these 22 recipients are believed[ by whom? ] to be the only individuals that received the Tiffany Cross version of the Medal of Honor. There are at least three recipients (Byrd, Bennett, Siegal) who were awarded the Tiffany Cross for non-combat actions. There may be other in-period recipients, but these are not known and would require similar investigation.

List

  Lavender background and   indicates that the Medal of Honor was awarded posthumously.

ImageNameServiceDate of actionCombatAction [upper-alpha 1]
OsmondIngram.jpg Osmond K. Ingram   Navy 15 October 1917YesIngram was killed while attempting to release depth charges in the face of an oncoming torpedo. 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. [11] His action meets the "actual conflict" criterion. Osmond K. Ingram's Tiffany Cross medal, and other military decorations, are part of the collection of the Birmingham, AL Museum of Art.
Lyle1 Tiffany MOH.jpg Alexander G. Lyle Navy, Dental Corps23 April 1918YesLyle exposed himself to hostile fire to treat a wounded man. 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. [11] He has a museum display, [upper-alpha 2] and meets the "actual conflict" criterion. There is a photo of the recipient wearing his Tiffany Cross.
Daniel A. J. Sullivan.jpg Daniel A. J. Sullivan Naval Reserve 21 May 1918YesSullivan secured a group of live depth charges. 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. [11] He meets the "actual conflict" criterion.
Edouard Izac.png Edouard V. M. Izac Navy 21 May 1918YesIzac gathered intelligence while a prisoner of war; he then escaped and brought the information to the Allies. There is a photograph of his medal's engraving. [2] [upper-alpha 3]
Janson EA.jpg Ernest A. Janson Marine Corps 6 June 1918Yes [upper-alpha 4] [upper-alpha 5] Janson single-handedly attacked and dispersed a machine gun detachment. He meets the "actual conflict" criterion. Janson also received the Army version of the Medal of Honor for the same action. There is a photograph of the recipient wearing his Tiffany Cross.
Weedon Osborne.jpg Weedon E. Osborne   Navy, Dental Corps6 June 1918YesOsborne was killed while rescuing wounded men from under heavy fire. There is a museum display of his medal. [8] [upper-alpha 3] The Tiffany Cross medal recovered by the FBI is clearly a replica Tiffany Cross (the casting is poor quality and the engraving is the incorrect style).
Orlando Petty.jpg Orlando H. Petty Naval Reserve, Medical Corps11 June 1918YesPetty tended the wounded despite artillery and gas attacks, even after his gas mask was rendered useless. There is a photograph of the recipient wearing his Tiffany Cross. [12] [upper-alpha 3]
Cukela Capt Louis USMC h79333.jpg Louis Cukela Marine Corps 18 July 1918Yes [upper-alpha 4] Cukela single-handedly attacked and captured a German strongpoint. There is a photograph of the recipient wearing his Tiffany Cross. [2]
Matej kocak.jpg Matej Kocak   Marine Corps 18 July 1918Yes [upper-alpha 4] Kocak single-handedly silenced a machine gun nest and led a successful attack on a second nest. He meets the "actual conflict" criterion.
JoelTBoone.jpg Joel T. Boone Navy, Medical Corps19 July 1918YesBoone exposed himself to intense fire in order to treat the wounded and bring in supplies. There is a photograph of the recipient wearing his Tiffany Cross. [2] [upper-alpha 3]
Ensign Charles H Hammann.jpg Charles H. Hammann Navy 21 August 1918YesHammann escued a fellow pilot who had been shot down. 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. [11] He meets the "actual conflict" criterion.
DavidEHayden.jpg David E. Hayden Navy 15 September 1918YesHayden reached a wounded man, treated him, and carried him to safety despite intense fire. 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. [11] There is a museum display of his medal, [upper-alpha 6] and he meets the "actual conflict" criterion.
Kelly JohnJoseph.jpg John J. Kelly Marine Corps 3 October 1918Yes [upper-alpha 4] Kelly single-handedly attacked a machine gun nest under an artillery barrage. There is a painting of the recipient wearing his Tiffany Cross, [13] and there is a museum display of his medal. [upper-alpha 7]
Pruitt JH USMC.jpg John H. Pruitt   Marine Corps 3 October 1918Yes [upper-alpha 4] Pruitt single-handedly captured two machine guns and forty prisoners. There is a museum display of his medal, [upper-alpha 7] and he meets the "actual conflict" criterion.
James Jonas Madison.jpg James J. Madison Naval Reserve 4 October 1918YesMadison continued to lead his ship after being severely wounded during a U-boat attack. There is a photograph of the recipient wearing his Tiffany Cross. [14] [upper-alpha 3]
John balch.jpg John H. Balch Naval Reserve 5 October 1918YesBalch exposed himself to intense fire in order to treat the wounded and establish a dressing station. 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. [11] He has a museum display of his medal, [upper-alpha 8] and he meets the "actual conflict" criterion.
Gunnery Sergeant Robert G. Robinson, USMC.jpg Robert G. Robinson Marine Corps 14 October 1918YesRobinson continued to fire his weapon after being severely wounded in an aerial battle against twelve German planes. There is a photograph of his medal's engraving, [2] [upper-alpha 3] and museum display of the medal. [upper-alpha 7]
RalphTalbot.jpg Ralph Talbot   Marine Corps 14 October 1918YesTalbot, with gunner Robert G. Robinson, shot down one plane in an aerial battle against twelve German aircraft. 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. [11] There is a museum display of his medal, [upper-alpha 7] and he meets the "actual conflict" criterion.
John O. Siegel Navy 1 November 1918NoSeigel rescued two men from a burning vessel before being trapped and collapsing from the smoke. There is a museum display of his medal. [upper-alpha 9]
Floyd Bennett.jpg Floyd Bennett Navy 9 May 1926NoBennett's award is for his part in what was thought to be the first successful heavier-than-air flight to the North Pole and back. [17] There is a photograph of the recipient receiving his medal. [6]
Lt com r e byrd.jpg Richard E. Byrd Navy 9 May 1926NoByrd's award is for leading what was thought to be the first successful heavier-than-air flight to the North Pole and back. [18] There is a photograph of the recipient receiving his medal. [6]
Schilt CF USMC.jpg Frank Schilt Marine Corps 8 January 1928YesSchilt evacuated wounded Marines by plane while under fire. [19] There is a photograph of the recipient wearing his medal. [2]

See also

Notes

  1. Unless otherwise indicated, all actions sourced from the US Army Center of Military History. [10]
  2. On display at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, MD.[ citation needed ]
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 One of the 13 recipients reported in the New York Times.
  4. 1 2 3 4 5 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.
  5. Also served under the name Charles F. Hoffman.
  6. on display at the Legion of Valor Museum, Fresno, California.[ citation needed ]
  7. 1 2 3 4 On display at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, Quantico, VA.[ citation needed ]
  8. On display at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, Bethesda, MD. [15]
  9. Collection of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Los Angeles, CA. [16]

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References

  1. 1 2 US Naval History & Heritage Command (24 January 2001). "The Navy Cross" . Retrieved 25 January 2016.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 US Naval History & Heritage Command (23 January 2008). "80-G-K-13534 World War I U.S. Navy Medal of Honor ("Tiffany Cross" pattern)". Department of the Navy. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
  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. Retrieved 16 December 2012.
  5. 1 2 Congressional Medal of Honor Society. "CMOHS.org – History of the Medal of Honor". Congressional Medal of Honor Society. Retrieved 15 December 2012.
  6. 1 2 3 "Coolidge awarding Medal of Honor to Byrd and Bennett 1927". Library of Congress. 1927. Retrieved 15 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. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
  8. 1 2 Birnie, Michael (27 April 2003). ""Tiffany" Medal of Honor Comes to Navy Museum". The Navy Museum Public Affairs. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  9. US Naval History & Heritage Command (23 January 2008). "NH 78213-KN World War I U.S. Navy Medal of Honor ("Tiffany Cross" pattern)". Department of the Navy. Retrieved 25 January 2015.
  10. "Medal of Honor recipients: World War I". United States Army Center of Military History. 27 July 2011. Retrieved 29 December 2012.
  11. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 New York Times (12 November 1920). "13 Get Medal of Honor". New York Times.
  12. US Naval History & Heritage Command (23 January 2008). "Lieutenant Orlando H. Petty, Medical Corps, USNRF (1874–1932)". Department of the Navy. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  13. US Naval History & Heritage Command (11 June 2008). "Private John J. Kelly, USMC, (1898–1957)". Department of the Navy. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  14. US Naval History & Heritage Command (23 January 2008). "Commander James J. Madison, USNRF, 1888–1922". Department of the Navy. Retrieved 30 November 2012.
  15. "John Henry Balch". Phi Delta Theta. 6 June 2010. Retrieved 19 November 2012.
  16. "Reverse of John Otto Siegel's Tiffany Cross" . Retrieved 28 December 2012.
  17. Military Times. "Valor awards for Floyd Bennett". Gannett Government Media Corporation. Retrieved 13 December 2012.
  18. Military Times. "Valor awards for Richard Evelyn Byrd, Jr". Gannett Government Media Corporation. Retrieved 13 December 2012.
  19. Military Times. "Valor awards for Christian Franklin Schilt". Gannett Government Media Corporation. Retrieved 13 December 2012.