Legion of Valor Awards Program

Awards Program

The Legion of Valor recognizes outstanding performance through two designated National Awards: the Silver Cross for Valor and the Bronze Cross for Achievement. In establishing these awards, members of the Legion of Valor concluded that the Silver Cross should be reserved to recognize actions involving the saving or preservation of life and that the decoration could be conferred on any person whose conduct met such standards. The Bronze Cross for Achievement is presented to those cadets of the Reserve Officers Training Corps who have demonstrated excellence in military, scholastic, and civic affairs.

Silver Cross for Valor

The very nature of the Silver Cross for Valor suggests that it would be given sparingly and only after thorough review by the Legion of Valor Awards Committee. Hence, it is seldom that more than two Crosses are presented in a year’s time although there is no limitation on the number that may be granted. While there is no such thing as a typical Silver Cross award, over recent years it has been given to a Florida newspaper carrier, a non-swimmer, who dived into a canal to rescue the driver of a car which had sunk in the water. Another went to a Texas National Guard chaplain, who, though painfully injured, saved a number of elderly persons from drowning when a sudden violent thunderstorm struck over a lake where people were boating and bathing. A Silver Cross for Valor was posthumously presented to a native of Mexico who was studying for his U.S. citizenship examinations. When his tutor was attacked by six assailants, he went to her rescue, beat off the attackers, but suffered gunshot wounds which cost him his life. Two more Crosses were given to recognize the valor of two airline pilots who successfully thwarted a hijacker. Although one pilot was killed and the other wounded, the plane was landed successfully after the hijacker was wounded and subdued by the pilots. The Silver Cross for Valor was awarded to an airline purser, the first ever to a woman, who was credited with saving a sailor’s life during a hijacking in Beirut. Most recently, it was presented to a Director of a Veteran’s Administration Medical Center who climbed a construction crane to a distance of about 105 feet above the ground to render aid to an apparently suicidal veteran. At the 98th Annual Convention our constitution was amended to allow Silver Cross recipients to become associate members. Nominations for award of the Silver Cross for Valor should be submitted to the National Adjutant (adjutant@legionofvalor.org). 

Bronze Cross for Achievement

About the Award

The Legion of Valor Bronze Cross for Achievement is considered the highest award for achievement in ROTC/JROTC programs. The criteria for the award of the Bronze Cross for Achievement was developed by the Legion of Valor in conjunction with officials of the Army, Navy and Air Force. In general, the standards of achievement are like those required for the award of the Army’s Superior Cadet Award and criteria have been adopted by the Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force. The same standards prevail for all services. The only difference is that the Army nominates one cadet for every 4,000 cadets during the last two years of the program and the Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force nominate two cadets per region. View the 2021 recipients of the Bronze Cross for Achievement.

Administration of the program is conducted by the services under the aegis of the Legion of Valor.  Recommendations are sent to the Legion of Valor’s Director of Awards in early July.  The Director of Awards reviews the award recommendations to assure adherence to all criteria including the rule that the award is to be presented in the next to the last year of school. Because of the rigid standards and the thorough screening process employed, only 60-80 Bronze Crosses are awarded each year throughout the nation.

All Crosses and certificates are provided by the Legion of Valor at no cost to the participating schools except for the cost for mailing of the recommendations through the respective Chain of Command to the Director of Awards.  All nominations originate with military official having jurisdiction over the cadet being nominated.  Awards are customarily presented by members of the Legion of Valor in September – October time frame in conjunction with officials of the school-college. If a Legion of Valor member is not available, then the institution has the authority to present the award by an individual selected by the institution. Once the award is presented we ask that a copy of the presentation Ceremony be sent to our Adjutant (adjutant@legionofvalor.org).

The Bronze Cross for Achievement Awards Process.

The nominating process is initiated by ROTC/JROTC instructors and Professors of Military Science at School or College level. Recommendations are forwarded through their respective Chain of Command using the Service ROTC’s procedures. The nominating process starts in May. The Cadet nominated must be a Junior, who will be a Senior in the Fall. The Legion of Valor receives the nominations from the respective commands in June/July and then the Legion of Valor reviews the nominations to ensure they are in accordance with the established criteria. The Legion of Valor approves the awards and mails the Medal and Certificate to the schools and colleges in late August for presentation in Sep/Oct. Once the award is presented, the school/college forwards a copy of the Ceremony to our Adjutant (adjutant@legionofvalor.org) for publication in our General Orders


The Legion of Valor has maintained a strong commitment to recognizing outstanding performance. In 1957, at the 67th National Convention, the Legion of Valor established the Silver Cross for Valor and the Bronze Cross for Achievement. The Bronze Cross for Achievement program began on a limited scale in 1951, when the District of Columbia Chapter established an incentive program for excellence in the Washington High School Corps of Cadets. The Membership of the Legion of Valor directed that the program be converted to a nationally sponsored program in 1957. The program was extended to the fifth US Army in 1959, to the third Army in 1960 and in 1961 to all Army ROTC and NDCC cadets.  In 1962 college cadets of the Air Force ROTC became eligible to compete for the Bronze Cross.  In 1975 the award was opened to college level midshipmen for the US Navy. High School Cadets of the Junior Marine Corps ROTC also participate in the program.  In 1997 the program was opened to Navy and Air Force Junior ROTC cadets.