The Distinguished Flying Cross was created by an Act of Congress in 1926. Under the initial Act, along with many military aviators and crew, a select group of civilians received the Distinguished Flying Cross for aerial achievement. These included the Wright brothers and Amelia Earhart. Shortly thereafter, Congress modified the medal criteria to military actions "...for heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in aerial flight."
Over the decades, DFCs have been awarded during World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the post-Vietnam era. The Distinguished Flying Cross has also been awarded to the military aviators and/or their crew for civilian rescues during emergencies and natural disasters such as Hurricane Katrina.
Some of the notable Distinguished Flying Cross recipients were Charles A. Lindbergh, President George H. W. Bush, South Dakota Governor Joe Foss, Tuskegee Airman Commander Benjamin O. Davis, General Jimmy Doolittle, General Curtis LeMay, and Vice Adm. James B. Stockdale.