According to the Distinguished Flying Cross Society, the Distinguished Flying Cross is a medal awarded to pilots who show bravery and distinction in aerial combat. As of 2014, this medal has been awarded to thousands of aviators since 1926.
The Military Times lists more than 15,000 recipients of the Distinguished Flying Cross since the end of World War II. Aviators in both World Wars were eligible for the honor as well. The first recipient was Charles A. Lindbergh, although Congress authorized a special award for the Wright Brothers to honor their powered flight in 1903. As of 2014, the most recent recipients of the medal earned it through service in the skies over Afghanistan and Iraq.