Named for an episode in the nation’s early history synonymous with the Militia and exemplifying great courage, the Valley Forge Cross became part of the program in 1973. It is presented to members of the National Guard who have distinguished themselves by performing acts of heroism that otherwise might not be recognized due to the National Guard’s peacetime status.

The Valley Forge Cross is a medal measuring 1 3/4 inches by 1 3/4 inches, bearing a cross surrounded by four eagle-and-shield devices such as appear on the official NGAUS seal. The cross has a surrounding gold border, with the interior shallowed and bearing an enamel finish (green for Army National Guard, blue for Air National Guard). A recessed profile of a colonial soldier occupies the center of the cross. The ring bears the legend “Valley Force Cross” in raised letters. For added distinction, the cross is suspended by a ring from a silk moiré ribbon 1 1/4 inches long and 1 3/8 inches wide, composed of altering 1/8-inch bands of white, gold and maroon on either side of a central 1/2 inch white band.

The nominee must be an active, bona fide member of the National Guard at the time of the act.

The individual must have performed an act of heroism clearly beyond what reasonably might have been expected under the circumstances and of such a nature that had it not been attempted, no criticism would be justified. The nominee’s act of heroism was voluntary. Performance of the act placed the nominee in personal jeopardy. This award frequently will encompass lifesaving acts. It also may be appropriate under circumstances in which extraordinary performance has contributed to the alleviation of public tragedy or to the preservation of public property provided that the nominee’s life was in jeopardy as a result of voluntary action.

Nomination and Selection Procedures
Any individual having knowledge of an act worthy of the award for the Valley Forge Cross may submit a nomination. It is recommended, however, that nominations be submitted by the nominee’s immediate commanding officer, through normal official channels after full investigation and preparation of supporting evidence. More than one award may be given in a calendar year. Nomination submissions should include:

  • A fully detailed chronological narration of what occurred, utilizing exact times and dates, and full identification of all principles, including witnesses. Clear and complete reporting of facts will more likely achieve the object of the recommendation than flowery generalities.
  • A proposed citation, one paragraph in length.
  • Signed statements of at least one, and preferably two, eyewitnesses. Such documents as extracts from official records, sketches, maps, photos and newspaper clippings that help establish the validity of the nomination may be used as supporting evidence. In cases where no eyewitnesses are available, the requirement may be waived if personal heroism is completely self-evident and the award can legitimately be made without question.
  • A signed statement by the individual nominated, describing the act in detail, also may be regarded as important supportive evidence.
  • Whenever possible, letters from both the nominee’s battalion/squadron/group/brigade commander and the state Adjutant General endorsing the nomination also should be submitted.

Any heroic act performed by a member of the National Guard is eligible for consideration without regard to his duty status at the time of the event. It can be awarded while on military duty, in state status or while acting in a civilian capacity.

The Valley Forge Cross (or the Valley Forge Cross Certificate) may be awarded posthumously. In such cases, the medal or certificate will be presented to the recipient’s next of kin.

The Valley Forge Certificate
The Valley Forge Certificate is awarded to those individuals who display heroism and for whom nominations for the Valley Forge Cross are submitted, but whose act, in the view of the Awards Committee, fell short of that required for award of the Valley Forge Cross. The certificate will include a citation or other tangible evidence demonstrating the nature of the heroism displayed. It will be forwarded to the appropriate state Adjutant General or state association for presentation at the state and/or local level at an appropriate occasion.