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The War Cross

The Society’s War Cross, also known as the “War Service Cross,” first appeared at the conclusion of World War I.  In 1918, Colonel William Whitehead Ladd of New York was elected to serve as Governor General for the Society.  One of his first priorities was to establish a War Service Committee to recognize the over 200 Warriors who served in the Great War.   This committee partnered with Tiffany and Company and designed a bronze Louisbourg Cross suspended from the Society’s watered silk ribbon.   Our motto Fortiter Pro Patria is inscribed around an Indian’s head in bas relief.  The reverse of the award contained the inscription, “Presented by the Society of Colonial Wars to its members who served in the Army or Navy of the United States of America.”

Once the initial production of the medal was complete in 1920, Governor Ladd traveled to different states to personally issue the award to members.  In 1945, the Society again authorized the Cross for service in World War II.  In this instance, a bronze star device affixed to the drapery of the award recognized members who served in both wars.

The General Assembly in 1960 recognized the Korean War as qualifying service and six years later, the 24th General Assembly recognized service in Vietnam.  Today, the General Society has devoted considerable effort into recognizing recent wars and campaigns.  These updated policies are a result of the focused efforts of Secretary General Jim McHargue and a committee which refined criteria and updating eligibility.

The Society has approval authority for the award and issues the Cross without cost, “as a token of great appreciation.”   The National Defense Service Medal alone does not qualify for the award.  However, service in the Gulf War, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq and other expeditions does establish eligibility.   There are no supplemental devices for additional service.  The bronze star device, therefore, is no longer applicable since this was only authorized for service in both World Wars.

The War Cross is available to all eligible members.  Those interested in applying for the Cross can download the War Cross application here and the list of qualifying periods of service.  For specific questions, please contact the point of contact for this award, Colonel Thomas Pike of the Patriotic Activities Committee.  His email is

In 2021 the following Warriors received their War Service Cross:

  • Philip K. Chamberlain
  • Gary L. Dycus
  • Daniel L. Hooker
  • John W. Ingraham
  • Austin W. Lamac
  • William D. Norgard
  • Thomas F. Pike, Jr.
  • Willits H. Sawyer III

The ceremony took place during the Winter Court 2021

Governor Ladd awarding the first Cross in 1920

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