Distinguished Flying Cross License Plates

In May 2019, the Arizona Legislature enacted House Bill (HB) 2589, which established a special Distinguished Flying Cross license plate here in Arizona.

What is the Distinguished Flying Cross?

The Distinguished Flying Cross, which was established by Congress in 1926, is a military decoration awarded to any officer or enlisted member of the U.S. Armed Forces who distinguishes themselves in support of operations by “heroism or extraordinary achievement while participating in an aerial flight.”

The first recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross was Charles Lindbergh.  Lindbergh received the Distinguished Flying Cross in 1927 in recognition of his achievement in completing the first-ever solo non-stop trans-Atlantic flight from New York to Paris earlier that year.  Lindbergh was an officer in the U.S. Army Air Corps Reserve at the time.

The U.S. Air Force provides more information about the Distinguished Flying Cross here:  https://www.afpc.af.mil/About/Fact-Sheets/Display/Article/421931/distinguished-flying-cross

How did HB 2589 establish a Distinguished Flying Cross license plate?

HB 2589 established a Distinguished Flying Cross license plate by adding a section to the Article in the Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) that governs the issuance of special license plates to honored military veterans by the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT).

The new section is A.R.S. § 28-2476.

What does A.R.S. § 28-2476 say?

A.R.S. § 28-2476 requires ADOT to issue Distinguished Flying Cross license plates to:

  • any person who submits satisfactory proof to the department that the person is a veteran and a bona fide recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross
  • an immediate family member of any person who has been issued a Distinguished Flying Cross license plate by ADOT

A.R.S. § 28-2476 also states that for each pair of original Distinguished Flying Cross license plates that ADOT issues, ADOT must collect a fee of $25 in addition to the usual registration fee (which as of 2019 is $8 for motor vehicles and $9 for motorcycles).  The $25 must be deposited into the Arizona Veterans’ Donation Fund.

What is the Arizona Veterans’ Donation Fund?

The Arizona Veterans’ Donation Fund, which was established by the Arizona legislature in 1999, helps to fund programs that benefit Arizona veterans and their families.  Under A.R.S. §41-608 and other applicable law, tax-deductible donations made to the Arizona Veteran’s Donation Fund may only be used to benefit veterans in Arizona and may never revert to the State General Fund.

The Arizona Department of Veterans’ Services provides more information about the Arizona Veterans’ Donation Fund here:  https://dvs.az.gov/donation-fund.

What other sorts of special license plates are available to honored military veterans in Arizona?

In addition to Distinguished Flying Cross license plates, ADOT issues special license plates upon request to:

  • recipients of the Congressional Medal of Honor (A.R.S. § 28-2472)
  • former prisoners of war (A.R.S. § 28-2473)
  • recipients of the Purple Heart Medal (A.R.S. § 28-2474)
  • Pearl Harbor survivors (A.R.S. § 28-2475)

Sources and further reading

Arizona Legislature – House Bill (HB) 2589:  https://www.azleg.gov/legtext/54leg/1r/bills/hb2589p.pdf

Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) § 28-2471:  https://www.azleg.gov/ars/28/02471.htm

Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) § 28-2476:  https://www.azleg.gov/ars/28/02476.htm

Arizona Revised Statutes (A.R.S.) § 41-608:  https://www.azleg.gov/ars/41/00608.htm

U.S. Air Force – “Distinguished Flying Cross”:  https://www.afpc.af.mil/About/Fact-Sheets/Display/Article/421931/distinguished-flying-cross

This website has been prepared for general information purposes only. The information on this website is not legal advice. Legal advice is dependent upon the specific circumstances of each situation. Also, the law may vary from state-to-state or county-to-county, so that some information in this website may not be correct for your situation. Finally, the information contained on this website is not guaranteed to be up to date. Therefore, the information contained in this website cannot replace the advice of competent legal counsel licensed in your jurisdiction.

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