|Cross for Military Valour|
Cross for Military Valour (obverse) with one citation star
|Awarded by France|
|Eligibility||Members of the French Armed Forces|
|Established||April 11, 1956|
|Next (higher)||Croix de guerre des TOE|
|Next (lower)||Médaille de la Gendarmerie nationale|
|Related||Croix du combattant|
Ribbon de la Croix de la Valeur militaire
The Cross for Military Valour (French language: Croix de la Valeur Militaire) is a military decoration of France. It recognizes an individual bestowed a Mention in Dispatches earned in theaters of operations which are not subject to the award of the War Cross for foreign operational theaters. The Cross for Military Valour is usually awarded for security or peacekeeping operations.
It was established in 1956 to reward soldiers, sailors, and airmen serving in Algeria who had committed acts of valor or gallantry in combat.
Algeria was a department of France at the time, so it was not considered a declared war but peacekeeping operations on French soil.
Therefore, the War Cross for foreign operational theaters, which had been awarded for valourous service in Indochina, was not considered appropriate.
On April 11, 1956 Decree n° 56-371 authorized the creation of the Médaille de la Valeur Militaire and described its various grades of distinction akin the War Cross (denoted by metal stars and palms on the ribbon).
It was reauthorized as a cross-shaped decoration, to put it on the same level as the Croix de guerre, by Decree n° 56-1048 on October 12, 1956.
On December 2, 2005 Decree n° 2005-1493 extended its issue to civilian employees of the Ministry of Defense on service outside France or in exterior theaters of operation.
On March 13, 2006 Instruction n° 3900/DEF/CAB/SDBC/DECO/A expanded its issue to military or civilian personnel who committed a valourous act or performed valourous service while involved in VIP protection, hostage rescue, intelligence gathering, or intelligence exploitation details outside France or in exterior theaters of operation. It also stated that only a Général d'armée (General of the Army), or the Chef d'état-major des Armées (Army Chief of Staff) could grant the Cross with Star decoration, but the Cross with Palm decoration was the purview of the Minister of Defense.
On November 9, 2011 Decree n° 2011-1466 authorized the award of the cross to members of allied civilian government or military forces who committed an act of valour or performed valourous service while on joint operations with French forces.
Grades of distinction
The medal is awarded for valour, at different levels. The distinctions are the same as the Croix de Guerre.
- Citation à l'ordre du régiment (Mention in regimental-level dispatches) : Étoile en bronze (Star in Bronze)
- Citation à l'ordre de la brigade (Mention in brigade-level dispatches) : Étoile en bronze (Star in Bronze)
- Citation à l'ordre de la division (Mention in division-level dispatches) : Étoile en argent (Star in Silver)
- Citation à l'ordre du théâtre (Mention in theater of operations level dispatches) : Étoile en vermeil (Star in Gilt Silver) Later changed to Citation à l'ordre du corps d'armée (Mention in army corps level dispatches) in an Instruction of March 13, 2006.
Palmes (Palm Fronds)
- Citation à l'ordre de l'armée (Mention in army-level dispatches) : Palme en bronze (Palm in bronze) This last medal is usually awarded as an en route medal when a soldier is up for an award of the médaille militaire or légion d'honneur for valour.
- 5 citations à l'ordre de l'armée (Mentioned in army-level dispatches five times) : Palme en argent (Palm in silver)
Before 2006, the cross was only awarded by the suggestion of Ground Forces officers. Only members of the Ground Forces, or members of the other services who were working directly alongside or with them, were eligible. After the creation of Instruction n° 3900/DEF/CAB/SDBC/DECO/A, award of the cross could be suggested by commissioned officers of the Sea Forces, Air Forces, and National Gendarmerie. It was also extended to include valourous acts or service committed by personnel in the Sea Forces, Air Forces, and National Gendarmerie while on combat operations.
- Marine nationale (National Navy)
- Citation à l'ordre de unité de la marine ("Mention in Marine Unit level dispatches") : Étoile en bronze (Star in Bronze)
- Citation à l'ordre de division de bâtiments (Force d'Action Navale), groupe aérien (Aviation Navale) ou escadrille de sous-marins (Forces Sous-marines) ("Mention in Ship-Division, Aerial Group, or Submarine Squadron level dispatches") : Étoile en bronze (Star in Bronze)
- Citation à l'ordre de escadre ou flottille ("Mention in Wing or Flotilla level dispatches") : Étoile en argent (Star in Silver)
- Citation à l'ordre de force maritime ("Mention in Maritime Force level dispatches) : Étoile en vermeil (Star in Gilt Silver)
- Citation à l'ordre du Marine Nationale (Mention in Navy-level dispatches) : Palme en bronze (Palm in bronze) / Palme en argent (Palm in silver)
- Armée de l'Air (Air Army)
- Citation à l'ordre de escadre aérienne (Mention in Aerial Wing level dispatches) : Étoile en bronze (Star in Bronze)
- Citation à l'ordre de brigade aérienne (Mention in Aerial Brigade level dispatches) : Étoile en bronze (Star in Bronze)
- Citation à l'ordre de division aérienne (Mention in Aerial Division level dispatches) : Étoile en argent (Star in Silver)
- Citation à l'ordre de corps aérien (Mention in Aerial Corps level dispatches) : Étoile en vermeil (Star in Gilt Silver)
- Citation à l'ordre de armée aérienne (Mention in Aerial Army level dispatches) : Palme en bronze (Palm in bronze) / Palme en argent (Palm in silver)
- Gendarmerie Nationale (National Armed Police)
- Citation à l'ordre de la gendarmerie (Mention in Gendarmerie-level dispatches) : Palme en bronze (Palm in bronze) / Palme en argent (Palm in silver)
Medal: suspended from a ribbon is a 36 mm bronze cross, with the an effigy of the Republic crowned with a wreath, with the edge embossed: "REPUBLIQUE FRANCAISE". On the reverse is the inscription: "Croix de la Valeur militaire".
Ribbon: a red bar with three vertical white bands: a centered 7 mm band, with a smaller 2 mm band on each end.
Recognised service for award
It was originally awarded for valourous service in Algeria from October 31, 1954 to the final withdrawal of all French forces in 1967. A Decision dated April 30, 1956 extended its award to elsewhere in North Africa in the Protectorates of Tunisia (from June 1, 1953 to 1956) and Morocco (from January 1, 1953 to 1956).
A Decision of February 13, 1957 granted its award for service in Mauritania. The period of eligibility was originally beginning from January 10, 1957 and ending at an unspecified time. This was later set by another Decision to have eligibility end when independence was granted to Mauritania in November 1960).
It has since been granted for service in
- Afghanistan (November, 2001 - 2012?)
- Antilles (from April 16, 2005 to June 15, 2005).
- Cape Verde (On June 13–14, 2002)
- Central African Republic (from November 18, 2006 to December 7, 2006; March 2, 2007)
- Chad (1968; January 28, 2008)
- Congo (service in 1960?) | Zaïre (service in 1978?) | Democratic Republic of the Congo (from June 2 to September 26, 2003)
- Djibouti (?)
- Haiti (from February 19, 2004 to June 30, 2004)
- Ivory Coast (from September 19, 2002 to April 4, 2004)
- Lebanon (from January 9, 2005 to July 16, 2006)
- Liberia (June 9–10, 2003)
- Rwanda (?)
- Yugoslavia [Bosnian War] (?)
Recently it has been awarded for service in Libya (from February 22, 2011 to present).
Notable recipients (partial list)
- General Marcel Bigeard
- General Raoul Salan
- General Bruno Dary
- General Jacques Massu
- General Maurice Faivre
- General Alain de Boissieu
- General Christian Houdet
- General Edmond Jouhaud
- General Jean-Baptiste Roux-Alic
- General Paul Arnaud de Foïard
- General Hervé Charpentier
- General Marcel Valentin
- General Dominique Hubert
- General Benoît Puga
- General Furcy Houdet
- General Jacques Mitterrand
- General Denis Favier
- General Louis Loyzeau de Grandmaison
- General Paul Lardry
- General Jean Compagnon
- General Elrick Irastorza
- General Jean Bouffet
- Colonel Aziz Meliani
- Commander Commando Jaubert
- Captain Hubert Clément
Recipient units (partial list)
- Frigate Jean de Vienne (D643)
- Police Mobile Armoured Group (GBGM)
- 17th Parachute Engineer Regiment
- 126th Infantry Regiment
- 1st Parachute Chasseur Regiment
- 1st Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment
- 3rd Combat helicopter regiment
- 152nd Infantry Regiment
- 2nd Foreign Legion Parachute Regiment
- 12th Cuirassier Regiment
- 35th Parachute Artillery Regiment
- 2nd Marine Infantry Regiment
- 3rd Marine Infantry Parachute Regiment
- 4th Special Forces Helicopter Regiment
- 13th Parachute Dragoon Regiment
- 2nd Foreign Legion Engineer Regiment
- 1/7 Provence Fighter Squadron
- 2/4 La Fayette Fighter Squadron
- Frigate Courbet (F 712)
- 40th Artillery Regiment
- 1st Parachute Hussar Regiment
- 1st Foreign Legion Cavalry Regiment
- 2/61 Franche-Comté Transport Squadron
- 6th Engineers Regiment
- 2nd Foreign Legion Infantry Regiment
- Fournier, Henry-Jacques (2005). La marque du courage: croix de guerre, valeur militaire. Paris: LBM. OCLC 239619995.
- Site traitant des décorations militaires et civiles françaises
- Les décorations françaises (Ordres et médailles)
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