The Legion of Valor was organized on April 23, 1890, in Washington, DC, by a group of Civil War and Indian War Campaign veterans who were recipients of the Medal of Honor. At its inception, the name was "The Medal of Honor Legion". The membership was augmented following the Spanish Campaign of 1898 and following the Philippines Insurrection. The membership was never large and with the passage of years and subsequent demise of members, on November 25, 1918, the recipients of the Army Distinguished Service Cross, the second ranking Army decoration for extraordinary heroism, were admitted to membership. In 1933, members of the United States Navy and Marine Corps, who were recipients of the Navy Cross, the second ranking Navy decoration for extraordinary heroism, were invited to join the membership and the name of this prestigious organization was changed to "The Army and Navy Legion of Valor". On August 4, 1955, Public Law 224, 84th Congress, incorporated The Army and Navy Legion of Valor of the United States. With the creation of the Air Force Medal of Honor and the Air Force Cross, the membership invited the recipients of these medals to become members and on June 21, 1961, with P.L. 87-56, the name of this elite organization became the "Legion of Valor of the United States of America, Inc"
A. Cherish the memories of the valiant deeds for which the Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross, and the Air Force Cross are the insignia. B. Promote true fellowship. C. Advance the best interest of members of the Armed Forces of the United States and to enhance their prestige and understanding by example and personal activity. D. Extend all possible relief to needy members, their widows, and children. E. Stimulate patriotism in the minds of our youth and engender a national pride and interest in the Armed Forces of the United States.
Each of the three services has its own distinctive design for the Medal of Honor and the Three Crosses. The Medal of Honor is awarded for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life, above and beyond the call of duty. The Three Crosses are awarded for extraordinary heroism. Many of these two highest decorations are awarded posthumously.