William J. Donovan's Distinguished Service Cross

Artifact Details

The Distinguished Service Cross is the Army’s second highest award for combat valor.

William J. Donovan received this medal, one of our country’s highest honors, while a lieutenant colonel with the 1st Battalion, 165th Infantry Regiment during World War I.  On 28-31 July 1918 Donovan led his battalion across the River Ourcq and captured important enemy strongholds near Villers-sur-Fere, France.

He moved in advance of his division for four days, all the while under heavy enemy shelling and machinegun fire from three sides.  He repeatedly and persistently counterattacked, being wounded twice.  His coolness, courage, and efficient leadership were critical in the operation’s success.

General John Pershing presented the Distinguished Service Cross to Donovan on 7 September 1918 in France.

Artifact Specs

12 cm x 4 cm x 0.5 cm

(L x W x H)


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