The Air Force Cross is the second highest military decoration that can be awarded to a member of the United States Air Force. The Air Force Cross is the Air Force decoration equivalent to the Distinguished Service Cross (Army) and the Navy Cross (Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard).
The Air Force Cross is awarded for extraordinary heroism not justifying the award of the Medal of Honor. It may be awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity with the U.S Air Force, distinguishes him or herself by extraordinary heroism in combat.
Originally entitled the 'Distinguished Service Cross (Air Force)', the Air Force Cross was first proposed in 1947 after the creation of the United States Air Force as a separate armed service. Designed by Eleanor Cox, an employee of the Air Force and was sculpted by Thomas Hudson Jones of the Institute of Heraldry. The Air Force Cross was established by Congress in Public Law 88-593 on July 6, 1960, amending Section 8742 of Title 10, U.S. Code to change the designation of 'Distinguished Service Cross' to 'Air Force Cross' in case of awards made under Air Force Authority.
Additional awards of the Air Force Cross are annotated by oak leaf clusters, and the reverse of every Air Force Cross is engraved with the recipient's name.
 Criteria for award
Title 10, Section 8742. Air Force Cross: Award
'The President may award an Air Force Cross of appropriate design, with ribbons and appurtenances, to a person who, while serving in any capacity with the Air Force, distinguishes himself by extraordinary heroism not justifying the award of a Medal of Honor:
while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States;
while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or
while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.'