Instituted: 1918 Criteria: Extraordinary heroism in action against an enemy of the U.S. or while serving with friendly foreign forces. Authorized by Congress on July 9, 1918. Awarded for extraordinary heroism against an armed enemy but of a level not justifying the award of the Medal of Honor. It may be awarded to both civilians and military serving in any capacity with the Army who distinguish themselves by heroic actions in combat. The act or acts of heroism must be so notable and have involved risk of life so extraordinary as to set the individual apart from his comrades. The medal had been initially proposed for award to qualifying members of the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe during World War I but was authorized permanently by Congress in the Appropriations Act of 1918. The Cross was designed by 1st Lt. Andre Smith and Captain Aymar Embury, with the final design sculpted by John R. Sinnock at the Philadelphia Mint. While DSCs were originally numbered, the practice was discontinued during World War II. In 1934, the DSC was authorized to be presented to holders of the Certificate of Merit which had been discontinued in 1918 when the Distinguished Service Medal was established. The medal is a cross with an eagle with spread wings cantered on the cross behind which is a circular wreath of laurel leaves. The cross has decorative, fluted edges with a small ornamental scroll topped by a ball at the end of each arm. The laurel wreath is tied at its base by a scroll upon which are written the words, FOR VALOR. The eagle represents the United States and the laurel leaves surrounding the eagle representing victory and achievement. The reverse of the cross features the same decorations at the edges that appear on the front. The eagle's wings back and tips also show. Cantered on the reverse of the cross is a laurel wreath. In the center of the wreath is a decorative rectangular plaque for engraving the soldier's name. The ribbon has a one inch wide center of national blue edged in white and red on the outer edge of the ribbon. The national colours taken from the flag stand for sacrifice (red), purity (white), and high purpose (blue).