Cross for Military Valour
Croix de la Valeur Militaire France AVERS.jpg
Cross for Military Valour (obverse) with one silver-gilt star
TypeBravery award (four class decoration)
Four degrees:
Cross for Military Valour with Bronze Palm
Cross for Military Valour with Gold Star
Cross for Military Valour with Silver Star
Cross for Military Valour with Bronze Star
Awarded forValour or gallantry in combat
Presented by France
EligibilityMembers of the French Armed Forces
EstablishedApril 11, 1956
First awarded1956
Croix de la Valeur Militaire ribbon.svg
Ribbon de la Croix de la Valeur militaire
Next (higher)Croix de guerre des TOE
Next (lower)Médaille de la Gendarmerie nationale
RelatedCroix du combattant
Reverse of the Cross
Reverse of the Cross

The Cross for Military Valour (French: Croix de la Valeur Militaire) is a military decoration of France. It recognizes an individual bestowed a Mention in Dispatches earned for showing valour in presence of an enemy, in theatres of operations which are not subject to the award of the Croix de guerre des théâtres d'opérations extérieures (Cross of War for Foreign Theatres of Operations). The Cross for Military Valour is usually awarded for security or peacekeeping operations, always outside the French territory.


It was established in 1956 to reward soldiers, sailors, and airmen serving in Algeria who had committed acts of valour 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 theatres, which had been awarded for valiant service in Indochina, was not considered appropriate. Médaille de la Valeur Militaire was created on 11 April 1956 with a four-grade system of distinctions.[1] To put it on the same level as the Croix de guerre, the Medal was replaced by a Cross on 12 October 1956.[2]

The Cross was used extensively to reward soldiers for valour in every French military operations since 1956, except the Gulf War and the Kosovo War, when Overseas War Crosses were awarded in place of Crosses for Military Valour :

Grades of distinction

The grades of the Cross are insignia of a mention in dispatches, which can be of one of five levels matching the valour displayed by the recipient while in presence of an enemy. They are each named after a historical formation of the French military.

Insignia Level
Air Force
(Armée de l'Air)
Army (Armée de Terre) Gendarmerie Nationale Navy (Marine nationale)
Surface units Aviation units Submarines
Bronze Palm (Five bronze palms can be substituted by a single silver palm) Air Force
(armée aérienne)
Army (armée) Gendarmerie Navy (marine nationale)
Silver-Gilt Star Air Corps
(corps aérien)
Corps (corps d'armée) Task Force (force maritime)
Silver Star Air Division
(division aérienne)
Division Squadron (escadre) Flotilla
Bronze Star Air Brigade
(brigade aérienne)
Brigade Division (division de bâtiments) Air group (groupe aérien) Submarine squad (escadrille de sous-marins)
Bronze Star Air Wing (escadre aérienne) Regiment Navy Unit (unité de la marine)

Eligibility and awarding process

The 1956 Cross was meant principally for soldiers, but a provision was made for civilians participating in a peacekeeping operation. On 2 December 2005 this provision was amended in order to reward only civilian employees of the Ministry of Defence on official missions overseas.[10] Originally, the cross was not awarded to members of foreign militaries or governments. This restriction was lifted on 9 November 2011 for acts of valour or performed valiant service while on joint operations with French forces.[11] Collective awards can be made to military units, both French and foreign, since 2011.[12] When a unit has decorated twice with the Cross at its highest level, the fourragère can be worn on uniforms.

The four first grades of the Cross can be awarded by Chef d'état-major des Armées (Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff), but the Cross with Palm decoration is only awarded by the Ministre de la Défense (Minister of Defence).

Award description

Medal: suspended from a ribbon is a 36 mm bronze cross, with 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.

Recipient units (partial list)

See also


  1. ^ Decree n°56-371
  2. ^ Decree n° 56-104.
  3. ^ Arrêté du 13 mai 2015, Bulletin officiel des armées n° 27 du 18 juin 2015.
  4. ^ Arrêté du 28 avril 2015, Bulletin officiel des armées n° 27 du 18 juin 2015.
  5. ^ Arrêté du 13 novembre 2015, Bulletin officiel des armées n° 57 du 30 décembre 2015.
  6. ^ Arrêté du 21 septembre 2004.
  7. ^ Arrêté du 16 mars 2015, Bulletin officiel des armées n° 17 du 20 avril 2015.
  8. ^ Arrêté du 19 avril 2011, Bulletin officiel des armées n° 19 du 13 mai 2011.
  9. ^ Arrêté du 14 janvier 2013, Bulletin officiel des armées n° 6 du 1er février 2013.
  10. ^ Decree n° 2005-1493
  11. ^ Decree n° 2011-1466
  12. ^ Decree n° 2011-1466
  13. ^ "Remise de la seconde Croix de la Valeur militaire au GIGN".