The Distinguished Service Cross is the second-highest military award that could be given to a member of the United States Army (and previously, the United States Army Air Force), for extreme gallantry and risk of life during actual combat with an enemy armed force. Actions that merit the Distinguished Service Cross must be of such a high degree that they are above those required for all other U.S. combat decorations but do not meet the requirements of the Medal of Honor. Its equivalents in the other branches of the United States Armed Forces are the Navy Cross (Navy, Marines, and Coast Guard) and the Air Force Cross for the United States Air Force.
Issuing of Distinguished Service Cross
The Distinguished Service Cross was first awarded during World War I by then-President Woodrow Wilson, under the suggestion of the Commander-in-Chief of the Expeditionary Forces in France so they'd award their soldiers like European armies did. However, similar awards were also issued for actions prior to World War I, specifically to those with a Certificate of Merit which at the time was the only other award meeting the Distinguished Service Cross's requirements.
The American soldier John was issued a Distinguished Service Cross ribbon at some point prior to 1964, wearing it on his military uniform. He, as the CIA/FOX agent Naked Snake, later won the Distinguished Service Cross medal, alongside the title of "Big Boss," for his actions quelling a nuclear war during Operation Snake Eater. However, he was somber the entire time due to having just learned the truth behind the operation.
The Distinguished Service Cross had two appearances, as a service ribbon bar and as a medal. The Distinguished Service Cross service ribbon was identifiable by a 1 3/8th inch wide ribbon the colors of, from left to right, 1/8th inch Old Glory Red 67156, 1/16th inch White 67101, 1 inch Imperial Blue 67175, 1/16th inch White 67101, and 1/8th inch Old Glory Red 67156. The medal itself was a cross made out of bronze, two inches in height, and 1 13/16 inches in width with an eagle on the center and a scroll below the eagle that bore the words "for valor." The reverse side of the medal bore a wreath and an inscription meant for bearing the name of the medal's recipient.
Behind the scenes
The Distinguished Service Cross is seen in the ending to Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater, although it was never named directly. Big Boss's uniform in this scene also bore a Distinguished Service Cross service ribbon on it.
A similar medal called the Service Cross is a collectible medal for Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain for various soldiers who aren't Venom Snake (or the player's avatar).
- Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
- Metal Gear Solid: Portable Ops (flashback only)
- Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots (flashback montage only)
- Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker (flashback only)