|Medal of Honor|
Medals of honors of the three military departments
|Type||Military medal with neck ribbon|
|Awarded for||Conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty|
|Presented by||the president of the United States in the name of the United States Congress|
|Eligibility||United States Armed Forces service members|
|Established||Department of the Navy: December 21, 1861|
Department of the Army: July 12, 1862
Department of the Air Force: April 14, 1965
|First awarded||March 25, 1863|
|Last awarded||September 11, 2020|
|Total awarded posthumously||618|
Service ribbon and flag
|Next (lower)||Army: Distinguished Service Cross |
Navy and Marine Corps: Navy Cross
Air Force and Space Force: Air Force Cross
Coast Guard: Coast Guard Cross
The Medal of Honor (MOH) is the United States government's highest and most prestigious military decoration that may be awarded to recognize American soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, Space Force guardians, and coast guardsmen who have distinguished themselves by acts of valor.The medal is normally awarded by the President of the United States, but as it is presented "in the name of the United States Congress", it is often referred to as the "Congressional Medal of Honor".
There are three distinct variants of the medal: one for the Department of the Army, awarded to soldiers, one for the Department of the Navy, awarded to sailors and marines, as well as coast guardsmen of the Department of Homeland Security, and the Department of the Air Force variant is awarded to airmen and Space Force guardians.The Medal of Honor was introduced for the Department of the Navy in 1861, soon followed by the Department of the Army's version in 1862. The Department of the Air Force used the Department of the Army's version until they received their own distinctive version in 1965. The Medal of Honor is the oldest continuously issued combat decoration of the United States Armed Forces. The president typically presents the Medal of Honor at a formal ceremony intended to represent the gratitude of the American people, with posthumous presentations made to the primary next of kin. According to the Medal of Honor Historical Society of the United States, there have been 3,526 Medals of Honor awarded to 3,507 individuals since the decoration's creation, with over 40% awarded for actions during the American Civil War. In 1990, Congress designated March 25 annually as "National Medal of Honor Day".
During the first year of the Civil War (1861–1865), a proposal for a battlefield decoration for valor was submitted to Lieutenant General Winfield Scott, the Commanding General of the United States Army, by Lieutenant Colonel Edward D. Townsend, an assistant adjutant at the Department of War and Scott's chief of staff. Scott, however, was strictly against medals being awarded, which was the European tradition. After Scott retired in October 1861, Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles adopted the idea of a decoration to recognize and honor distinguished naval service. 18:
On December 9, 1861, Iowa Senator James W. Grimes, Chairman on the Committee on Naval Affairs, 13 "to be bestowed upon such petty officers, seamen, landsmen, and marines as shall most distinguish themselves by their gallantry in action and other seaman-like qualities during the present war, ..." On December 21, the bill was passed and signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln. Secretary Welles directed the Philadelphia Mint to design the new military decoration. On May 15, 1862, the United States Department of the Navy ordered 175 medals ($1.85 each) from the U.S. Mint in Philadelphia with "Personal Valor" inscribed on the back of each one.submitted Bill S. 82 (12 Stat. 329–330) during the Second Session of the 37th Congress, "An Act to further promote the Efficiency of the Navy". The bill included a provision (Chap. 1, Sec. 7) for 200 "medals of honor", :
On February 15, 1862, Senator Henry Wilson, the chairman of the Senate Committee on Military Affairs and the Militia, introduced a resolution for a Medal of Honor for the Army. The resolution (37th Congress, Second Session; Resolution No. 52, 12 Stat. 623–624) was approved by Congress and signed into law on July 12, 1862 ("A Resolution to provide for the Presentation of "Medals of Honor" to the Enlisted Men of the Army and Volunteer Forces who have distinguished, or may distinguish, themselves in Battle during the present Rebellion"). This measure provided for awarding a medal of honor "to such non-commissioned officers and privates as shall most distinguish themselves by their gallantry in action and other soldier-like qualities during the present insurrection." During the war, Townsend would have some medals delivered to some recipients with a letter requesting acknowledgement of the "Medal of Honor". The letter written and signed by Townsend on behalf of the Secretary of War, stated that the resolution was "to provide for the presentation of medals of honor to the enlisted men of the army and volunteer forces who have distinguished or may distinguish themselves in battle during the present rebellion."By mid-November the Department of War contracted with Philadelphia silversmith William Wilson and Son, who had been responsible for the Navy's design, to prepare 2,000 medals for the Army ($2.00 each) to be cast at the mint. The Army's version had "The Congress to" written on the back of the medal. Both versions were made of copper and coated with bronze, which "gave them a reddish tint".
On March 3, 1863 Congress made the Medal of Honor a permanent decoration, and was authorized for officers of the Army.On March 25, the Secretary of War presented the first Medals of Honor to six U.S. Army volunteers in his office.
In 1896, the ribbon of the Army's version of the Medal of Honor was redesigned with all stripes being vertical.Again, in 1904 the planchet of the Army's version of the Medal of Honor was redesigned by General George Lewis Gillespie. The purpose of the redesign was to help distinguish the Medal of Honor from other medals, particularly the membership insignia issued by the Grand Army of the Republic.
In 1917, based on the report of the Medal of Honor Review Board, established by Congress in 1916, 911 recipients were stricken off the Army's Medal of Honor list because the medal had been awarded inappropriately.Among them were William Frederick "Buffalo Bill" Cody and Mary Edwards Walker. In 1977, Congress began reviewing numerous cases; it reinstated the medals for Cody and four other civilian scouts on June 12, 1989. Walker's medal was restored in 1977.
A separate Coast Guard Medal of Honor was authorized in 1963, but not yet designed or awarded.
A separate design for a version of the medal for the Department of the Air Force was created in 1956, authorized in 1960, and officially adopted on April 14, 1965. Previously, airmen of the U.S. Air Force received the Army's version of the medal.
There are three versions of the Medal of Honor, one for each of the military departments of the Department of Defense (DoD): the Department of the Army, Department of the Navy, and Department of the Air Force. Members of the Coast Guard (Department of Homeland Securiy) are eligible to receive the Department of the Navy's version. Each medal is constructed differently and the components are made from gilding metals and red brass alloys with some gold plating, enamel, and bronze pieces. The United States Congress considered a bill in 2004 which would require the Medal of Honor to be made with 90% gold, the same composition as the lesser-known Congressional Gold Medal, but the measure was dropped.
The Department of the Army's version is described by the Institute of Heraldry as "a gold five pointed star, each point tipped with trefoils, 1 1⁄2 inches [3.8 cm] wide, surrounded by a green laurel wreath and suspended from a gold bar inscribed VALOR, surmounted by an eagle. In the center of the star, Minerva's head surrounded by the words UNITED STATES OF AMERICA. On each ray of the star is a green oak leaf. On the reverse is a bar engraved THE CONGRESS TO with a space for engraving the name of the recipient." The pendant and suspension bar are made of gilding metal, with the eye, jump rings, and suspension ring made of red brass. The finish on the pendant and suspension bar is hard enameled, gold plated, and rose gold plated, with polished highlights.
The Department of the Navy's version is described as "a five-pointed bronze star, tipped with trefoils containing a crown of laurel and oak. In the center is Minerva, personifying the United States, standing with left hand resting on fasces and right hand holding a shield blazoned with the shield from the coat of arms of the United States. She repulses Discord, represented by snakes (originally, she was repulsing the snakes of secession). The medal is suspended from the flukes of an anchor. It is made of solid red brass, oxidized and buffed.
The Department of the Air Force version is described as "within a wreath of green laurel, a gold five-pointed star, one point down, tipped with trefoils and each point containing a crown of laurel and oak on a green background. Centered on the star, an annulet of 34 stars is a representation of the head of the Statue of Liberty. The star is suspended from a bar inscribed with the word VALOR above an adaptation of Jupiter's thunderbolt from the Department of the Air Force's seal. The pendant is made of gilding metal.The connecting bar, hinge, and pin are made of bronze. The finish on the pendant and suspension bar is hard enameled, gold plated, and rose gold plated, with buffed relief.
The Medal of Honor has evolved in appearance over time. The upside-down star design of the Department of the Navy version's pendant adopted in early 1862 has not changed since its inception. The Army's 1862 version followed and was identical to the Department of the Navy's version except an eagle perched atop cannons was used instead of an anchor to connect the pendant to the suspension ribbon. The medals featured a female allegory of the Union, with a shield in her right hand that she used to fend off a crouching attacker and serpents. In her left hand, she held a fasces. There are 34 stars surrounding the scene, representing the number of states in the union at the time.In 1896, the Army version changed the ribbon's design and colors due to misuse and imitation by nonmilitary organizations. In 1904, the Army "Gillespie" version introduced a smaller redesigned star and the ribbon was changed to the light blue pattern with white stars seen today. The 1904 Army version also introduced a bar with the word "Valor" above the star. In 1913, the Department of the Navy version adopted the same ribbon pattern.
After World War I, the Department of the Navy decided to separate the Medal of Honor into two versions, one for combat and one for non-combat. This was an attempt to circumvent the requirement enacted in 1919 that recipients participate "in action involving actual conflict with the enemy," which would have foreclosed non-combat awards.By treating the 1919 Medal of Honor as a separate award from its Civil War counterpart, this allowed the Department of the Navy to claim that it was not literally in violation of the 1919 law. The original upside-down star was designated as the non-combat version and a new pattern of the medal pendant, in cross form, was designed by the Tiffany Company in 1919. Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels selected Tiffany after snubbing the Commission of Fine Arts, which had submitted drawings that Daniels criticized as "un-American". The "Tiffany Cross" was to be presented to a sailor or marine who "in action involving actual conflict with the enemy, distinguish[es] himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty". Despite the "actual conflict" guidelines, the Tiffany Cross was awarded to Navy CDR (later RADM) Richard E. Byrd and Floyd Bennett for their flight to the North Pole in 1926. The decision was controversial within the Navy's Bureau of Navigation (which handled personnel administration), and officials considered asking the attorney general of the United States for an advisory opinion on the matter. Byrd himself apparently disliked the "Tiffany Cross", and eventually requested the alternate version of the medal from President Herbert Hoover in 1930. The Tiffany Cross itself was not popular among recipients—one author reflected that it was "the most short-lived, legally contentious, and unpopular version of the Medal of Honor in American history." In 1942, in response to a lawsuit, the Department of the Navy requested an amendment to expressly allow noncombat awards of the Medal of Honor. When the amendment passed, the Department of the Navy returned to using only the original 1862 inverted 5-point star design.
In 1944, the suspension ribbons for both version were replaced with the now familiar neck ribbon.When the Department of the Air Force's version was designed in 1956, it incorporated similar elements and design from the Department of the Army version. At the Department of the Air Force leadership's insistence, the new medal depicted the Statue of Liberty's image in place of Minerva on the medal and changed the connecting device from an eagle to Jupiter's thunderbolt flanked with wings as found on the Department of the Air Force's seal.
Since 1944, the Medal of Honor has been attached to a light blue 1 3⁄16 in (30 mm) in width and 21 3⁄4 in (550 mm) in length. The center of the ribbon displays thirteen white stars in the form of three chevron. Both the top and middle chevrons are made up of 5 stars, with the bottom chevron made of 3 stars. The Medal of Honor is one of only two United States military awards suspended from a neck ribbon. The other is the Commander's Degree of the Legion of Merit, and is usually awarded to individuals serving foreign governments.colored moiré silk neck ribbon that is
On May 2, 1896, Congress authorized a "ribbon to be worn with the medal and [a] rosette or knot to be worn in lieu of the medal." 1⁄2-inch (13 mm), six-sided light blue bowknot rosette with thirteen white stars and may be worn on appropriate civilian clothing on the left lapel.The service ribbon is light blue with five white stars in the form of an "M". It is placed first in the top position in the order of precedence and is worn for situations other than full-dress military uniform. The lapel button is a
In 2011, Department of Defense instructions in regard to the Medal of Honor were amended to read "for each succeeding act that would otherwise justify award of the Medal of Honor, the individual receiving the subsequent award is authorized to wear an additional Medal of Honor ribbon and/or a 'V' device on the Medal of Honor suspension ribbon" (the "V" device is a 1⁄4-inch-high (6.4 mm) bronze miniature letter "V" with serifs that denotes valor). The Medal of Honor was the only decoration authorized the use of the "V" device (none were ever issued) to designate subsequent awards in such fashion. Nineteen individuals, all now deceased, were double Medal of Honor recipients. In July 2014, DoD instructions were changed to read, "A separate MOH is presented to an individual for each succeeding act that justified award.", removing the authorization for the V device.
On October 23, 2002, Pub.L. 107–248 (text) (pdf) was enacted, modifying 36 U.S.C. § 903, authorizing a Medal of Honor Flag to be presented to each person to whom a Medal of Honor is awarded. In the case of a posthumous award, the flag will be presented to whomever the Medal of Honor is presented to, which in most cases will be the primary next of kin of the deceased awardee.
The flag was based on a concept by retired U.S. Army Special Forces First Sergeant Bill Kendall of Jefferson, Iowa,who in 2001, designed a flag to honor Medal of Honor recipient Army Air Forces Captain Darrell Lindsey, a B-26 pilot from Jefferson who was killed in action during World War II. Kendall's design of a light blue field emblazoned with 13 white five-pointed stars was nearly identical to that of Sarah LeClerc's of the Institute of Heraldry. LeClerc's gold fringed flag, ultimately accepted as the official flag, does not include the words "Medal of Honor" as written on Kendall's flag. The color of the field and the 13 white stars, arranged in the form of a three-bar chevron, consisting of two chevrons of five stars and one chevron of three stars, emulate the suspension ribbon of the Medal of Honor. The flag has no defined proportions.
The first Medal of Honor Flag recipient was U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Paul R. Smith, whose flag was presented posthumously. President George W. Bush presented the Medal of Honor and Flag to the family of Smith during the award ceremony for him in the White House on April 4, 2005.
A special Medal of Honor Flag presentation ceremony was held for over 60 living Medal of Honor recipients on board the USS Constitution in September 2006.
There are two distinct protocols for awarding the Medal of Honor. The first and most common is nomination and approval through the chain of command of the service member. The second method is nomination by a member of the U.S. Congress, generally at the request of a constituent. In both cases, if the proposal is outside the time limits for the recommendation, approval to waive the time limit requires a special Act of Congress. The Medal of Honor is presented by the President on behalf of, and in the name of, the Congress.Since 1980, nearly all Medal of Honor recipients—or in the case of posthumous awards, the next of kin—have been personally decorated by the president. Since 1941, more than half of the Medals of Honor have been awarded posthumously.
Congress drew the three permutations of combat from President Kennedy's executive order of April 25, 1962, which previously added the same criteria to the Purple Heart. On August 24, Kennedy added similar criteria for the Bronze Star Medal. [ citation needed ] According to congressional testimony by the Army's Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, the services were seeking authority to award the Medal of Honor and other valor awards retroactive to July 1, 1958, in areas such as Berlin, Lebanon, Quemoy and Matsu Islands, Taiwan Straits, Congo, Laos, Vietnam, and Cuba.The amendment was necessary because Cold War armed conflicts did not qualify for consideration under previous statutes such as the 1918 Army Medal of Honor Statute that required valor "in action involving actual conflict with an enemy", since the United States has not formally declared war since World War II as a result of the provisions of the United Nations Charter.
The four specific statutory sections authorizing the medal, as last amended on August 13, 2018, are as follows:
The President may award, and present in the name of Congress, a medal of honor of appropriate design, with ribbons and appurtenances, to a person who while a member of the [Army] [naval service] [Air Force] [Coast Guard], distinguished himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty.
The Medal of Honor confers special privileges on its recipients. By law, recipients have several benefits:
This article needs to be updated.December 2016)(
Medal of Honor recipients may apply in writing to the headquarters of the service branch of the medal awarded for a replacement or display Medal of Honor, ribbon, and appurtenance (Medal of Honor flag) without charge. Primary next of kin may also do the same and have any questions answered in regard to the Medal of Honor that was awarded.
GC* The first, and so far only, Coast Guardsman to be awarded the Medal of Honor was Signalman First Class Douglas Munro. He was posthumously awarded it on May 27, 1943, for evacuating 500 Marines under fire on September 27, 1942, during the Battle of Guadalcanal.
The 1917 Medal of Honor Board deleted 911 awards, but only 910 names from the Army's Medal of Honor list,including awards to Dr. Mary Edwards Walker, William F. "Buffalo Bill" Cody and the first of two awards issued February 10, 1887, to George W. Midil, who retained his award issued October 25, 1893. None of the 910 "deleted" recipients were ordered to return their medals, although on the question of whether the recipients could continue to wear their medals, the Judge Advocate General advised the Medal of Honor Board the Army was not obligated to police the matter. Walker continued to wear her medal until her death. Although some sources claim that President Jimmy Carter formally restored her medal posthumously in 1977, this action was actually taken unilaterally by the Army's Board for Correction of Military Records. The Army Board for Correction of Military Records also restored the Medals of Honor of Buffalo Bill and four other civilian scouts in 1989.
While the governing statute for the Army's Medal of Honor (10 U.S.C. § 6241), beginning in 1918, explicitly stated that a recipient must be "an officer or enlisted man of the Army", "distinguish himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty", and perform an act of valor "in action involving actual conflict with an enemy", exceptions have been made:
|Conflict||Date||Medal count (3,526)||List article|
|Civil War||1861–1865||1,523||American Civil War Medal of Honor recipients|
|Indian Wars||1865–1891||426||Medal of Honor recipients for the Indian Wars|
|Korean Expedition||1871||15||Medal of Honor recipients in Korea|
|Spanish–American War||1898||111||Medal of Honor recipients for the Spanish–American War|
|Second Samoan Civil War||1899||4||Medal of Honor recipients for the Samoan Civil War|
|Philippine–American War||1899–1902||86||Philippine–American War Medal of Honor recipients|
|Boxer Rebellion||1899–1901||59||Medal of Honor recipients for the Boxer Rebellion|
|Occupation of Veracruz||1914||56||Medal of Honor recipients for Veracruz|
|United States occupation of Haiti||1915–1934||8||Medal of Honor recipients for Haiti|
|Dominican Republic Occupation||1916–1924||3||Medal of Honor recipients for the Occupation of the Dominican Republic|
|World War I||1914–1918||126||Medal of Honor recipients for World War I|
|Occupation of Nicaragua||1912–1933||2||Medal of Honor recipients for Occupation of Nicaragua|
|World War II||1939–1945||472||Medal of Honor recipients for World War II|
|Korean War||1950–1953||145||Korean War Medal of Honor recipients|
|Vietnam War||1955–1975||261||Medal of Honor recipients for the Vietnam War|
|USS Liberty incident||1967||1||Medal of Honor recipients for the USS Liberty incident|
|Battle of Mogadishu||1993||2||Medal of Honor recipients for the Battle of Mogadishu|
|Iraq War||2003–2011||6||Medal of Honor recipients for the Iraq War|
|War in Afghanistan||2001–2014||18||Medal of Honor recipients for the War in Afghanistan|
|Operation Inherent Resolve||2014–present||1||Medal of Honor recipients for Operation Inherent Resolve|
|Peacetime||1865–1939||193||Medal of Honor recipients during peacetime|
|Unknown soldiers||1914–1973||9||Unknown Medal of Honor recipients|
|Army||Navy||Marine Corps||Air Force||Coast Guard||Total|
Nineteen servicemembers have been awarded the Medal of Honor twice.The first double Medal of Honor recipient was Thomas Custer (brother of George Armstrong Custer) for two separate actions that took place several days apart during the American Civil War.
Five "double recipients" were awarded both the Army's and Navy's Medal of Honor for the same action, with all five of these occurrences taking place during World War I.No modern recipients have more than one medal because of laws passed for the Army in 1918, and for the Navy in 1919, which stipulated that "no more than one medal of honor . . . shall be issued to any one person," although subsequent awards were authorized by issuance of bars or other devices in lieu of the medal itself. The statutory bar was finally repealed in the FY2014 defense bill, at the request of the Office of the Secretary of Defense, meaning that recipients can now be issued more than one medal. However, no more than one medal may be issued for the same action.
To date, the maximum number of Medals of Honor earned by any service member has been two.The last living individual to be awarded two Medals of Honor was John J. Kelly 3 Oct 1918; the last individual to receive two Medals of Honor for two different actions was Smedley Butler, in 1914 and 1915.
|Name ! Service ! Rank§ ! War(s) ! Notes|
|Frank Baldwin||Army||First Lieutenant, Captain||American Civil War, Indian Wars|
|Smedley Butler||Marine Corps||Major General||Veracruz, Haiti|
|John Cooper||Navy||Coxswain||American Civil War|
|Louis Cukela||Marine Corps||Sergeant||World War I||Awarded both Navy and Army versions for same action.|
|Thomas Custer||Army||Second Lieutenant||American Civil War||Battle of Namozine Church on 3 April and Battle of Sayler's Creek on 6 April 1865.|
|Daniel Daly||Marine Corps||Private, Gunnery Sergeant||Boxer Rebellion, Haiti|
|Henry Hogan||Army||First Sergeant||Indian Wars|
|Ernest A. Janson||Marine Corps||Gunnery Sergeant||World War I||Both awarded for same action. Received the Army MOH under the name Charles F. Hoffman.|
|John J. Kelly||Marine Corps||Private||World War I||Both awarded for same action.|
|John King||Navy||Water tender||Peacetime||1901 and 1909|
|Matej Kocak||Marine Corps||Sergeant||World War I||Both awarded for same action.|
|John Lafferty||Navy||Fireman, First Class Fireman||American Civil War, peacetime|
|John C. McCloy||Navy||Coxswain, Chief Boatswain||Boxer Rebellion, Veracruz|
|Patrick Mullen||Navy||Boatswain's Mate||American Civil War|
|John H. Pruitt||Marine Corps||Corporal||World War I||Both awarded for same action.|
|Robert Sweeney||Navy||Ordinary Seaman||Peacetime||1881 and 1883|
|Albert Weisbogel||Navy||Captain of the Mizzen Top||Peacetime||1874 and 1876|
|Louis Williams||Navy||Captain of the Hold||Peacetime||1883 and 1884. Also known as Ludwig Andreas Olsen.|
|William Wilson||Army||Sergeant||Indian Wars|
Arthur MacArthur, Jr. and Douglas MacArthur are the first father and son to be awarded the Medal of Honor. The only other such pairing is Theodore Roosevelt (awarded in 2001) and Theodore Roosevelt, Jr.
Five pairs of brothers have received the Medal of Honor:
Another notable pair of related recipients are Admiral Frank Friday Fletcher (rear admiral at the time of award) and his nephew, Admiral Frank Jack Fletcher (lieutenant at the time of award), both awarded for actions during the United States occupation of Veracruz.
Since 1979, 86 late Medal of Honor awards have been presented for actions from the Civil War to the Vietnam War. In addition, five recipients whose names were not included on the Army's Medal of Honor Roll in 1917 had their awards restored.A 1993 study commissioned by the U.S. Army investigated "racial disparity" in the awarding of medals. At the time, no Medals of Honor had been awarded to U.S. soldiers of African descent who served in World War II. After an exhaustive review, the study recommended that ten Distinguished Service Cross recipients be awarded the Medal of Honor. On January 13, 1997, President Bill Clinton presented the Medal of Honor to seven of these World War II veterans, six of them posthumously and one to former Second Lieutenant Vernon Baker.
In 1998, a similar study of Asian Americans resulted in President Bill Clinton presenting 22 Medals of Honor in 2000.Twenty of these medals went to U.S. soldiers of Japanese descent of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team (442nd RCT) who served in the European Theater of Operations during World War II. One of these Medal of Honor recipients was Senator Daniel Inouye, a former U.S. Army officer in the 442nd RCT.
In 2005, President George W. Bush presented the Medal of Honor to Tibor Rubin, a Hungarian-born American Jew who was a Holocaust survivor of World War II and enlisted U.S. infantryman and prisoner of war in the Korean War, whom many believed to have been overlooked because of his religion.
On April 11, 2013, President Obama presented the Medal of Honor posthumously to Army chaplain Captain Emil Kapaun for his actions as a prisoner of war during the Korean War.This follows other awards to Army Sergeant Leslie H. Sabo, Jr. for conspicuous gallantry in action on May 10, 1970, near Se San, Cambodia, during the Vietnam War and to Army Private First Class Henry Svehla and Army Private First Class Anthony T. Kahoʻohanohano for their heroic actions during the Korean War.
As a result of a Congressionally mandated review to ensure brave acts were not overlooked due to prejudice or discrimination, on March 18, 2014, President Obama upgraded Distinguished Service Crosses to Medals of Honor for 24 Hispanic, Jewish, and black individuals—the "Valor 24"—for their actions in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.Three were still living at the time of the ceremony.
On November 6, 2014, President Obama presented the Medal of Honor posthumously to First Lieutenant Alonzo Cushing for actions on July 3, 1863, during the Battle of Gettysburg. Lieutenant Cushing's award is the last Medal of Honor to be presented to a soldier in the American Civil War, after 151 years since the date of the action.
During the Civil War, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton promised a Medal of Honor to every man in the 27th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment who extended his enlistment beyond the agreed-upon date. The Battle of Gettysburg was imminent, and 311 men of the regiment volunteered to serve until the battle was resolved. The remaining men returned to Maine, but with the Union victory at Gettysburg the 311 volunteers soon followed. The volunteers arrived back in Maine in time to be discharged with the men who had returned earlier. Since there seemed to be no official list of the 311 volunteers, the War Department exacerbated the situation by forwarding 864 medals to the commanding officer of the regiment. The commanding officer only issued the medals to the volunteers who stayed behind and retained the others on the grounds that, if he returned the remainder to the War Department, the War Department would try to reissue the medals.
In 1916, a board of five Army generals on the retired list convened under act of law to review every Army Medal of Honor awarded. The board was to report on any Medals of Honor awarded or issued "for any cause other than distinguished conduct by an officer or enlisted man in action involving actual conflict with an enemy."The commission, led by Nelson A. Miles, identified 911 awards for causes other than distinguished conduct. This included the 864 medals awarded to members of the 27th Maine regiment; 29 servicemen who served as Abraham Lincoln's funeral guard; six civilians, including Mary Edwards Walker and Buffalo Bill Cody; and 12 others. Walker's medal was restored by the Army Board for Correction of Military Records in 1977, an action that is often attributed to President Jimmy Carter in error. Cody and four other civilian scouts who rendered distinguished service in action, and who were therefore considered by the board to have fully earned their medals, also had their medals restored by the Army Board for Correction of Military Records in 1989. The report issued by the Medal of Honor review board in 1917 was reviewed by the Judge Advocate General, who also advised that the War Department should not seek the return of the revoked medals from the recipients identified by the board. In the case of recipients who continued to wear the medal, the War Department was advised to take no action to enforce the statute.
The following decorations, in one degree or another, bear similar names to the Medal of Honor, but are entirely separate awards with different criteria for issuance:
The Purple Heart (PH) is a United States military decoration awarded in the name of the President to those wounded or killed while serving, on or after April 5, 1917, with the U.S. military. With its forerunner, the Badge of Military Merit, which took the form of a heart made of purple cloth, the Purple Heart is the oldest military award still given to U.S. military members – the only earlier award being the obsolete Fidelity Medallion. The National Purple Heart Hall of Honor is located in New Windsor, New York.
The Silver Star Medal (SSM) is the United States Armed Forces' third-highest military decoration for valor in combat. The Silver Star Medal is awarded primarily to members of the United States Armed Forces for gallantry in action against an enemy of the United States.
The Commendation Medal is a mid-level United States military decoration presented for sustained acts of heroism or meritorious service. Each branch of the United States Armed Forces issues its own version of the Commendation Medal, with a fifth version existing for acts of joint military service performed under the Department of Defense.
The Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) is the United States Army's second highest military decoration for soldiers who display extraordinary heroism in combat with an armed enemy force. Actions that merit the Distinguished Service Cross must be of such a high degree that they are above those required for all other U.S. combat decorations, but which do not meet the criteria for the Medal of Honor. The Army Distinguished Service Cross is equivalent to the Navy and Marine Corps' Navy Cross, the Air Force and Space Force's Air Force Cross, and the Coast Guard Cross. Prior to the creation of the Air Force Cross in 1960, airmen were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
The Air Force Cross (AFC) is the United States Air Force and United States Space Force's second highest military decoration for airmen and guardians who distinguish themselves extraordinary heroism in combat with an armed enemy force. The medal is awarded to any person, while serving in any capacity with the Air Force or Space Force, who distinguish themselves by extraordinary heroism, not justifying the award of a Medal of Honor.
The Certificate of Merit Medal was a military decoration of the United States Army that was issued between the years of 1905 and 1918. The Certificate of Merit Medal replaced the much older Certificate of Merit which was authorized by the United States Congress on March 3, 1847.
A "V" device is a metal 1⁄4-inch (6.4 mm) capital letter "V" with serifs which, when worn on certain decorations awarded by the United States Armed Forces, distinguishes an award for heroism or valor in combat instead of for meritorious service or achievement.
The Citation Star was a Department of War personal valor decoration issued as a ribbon device which was first established by the United States Congress on July 9, 1918. When awarded, a 3⁄16-inch (4.8 mm) silver star was placed on the suspension ribbon and service ribbon of the World War I Victory Medal to denote a Citation (certificate) for "Gallantry In Action" was awarded to a soldier, or to a marine or attached to the Army's Second Division, American Expeditionary Forces. The Citation Star was replaced in 1932 with the introduction of the Silver Star Medal.
The Stolen Valor Act of 2005, signed into law by President George W. Bush on December 20, 2006, was a U.S. law that broadened the provisions of previous U.S. law addressing the unauthorized wear, manufacture, or sale of any military decorations and medals. The law made it a federal misdemeanor to falsely represent oneself as having received any U.S. military decoration or medal. If convicted, defendants might have been imprisoned for up to six months, unless the decoration lied about is the Medal of Honor, in which case imprisonment could have been up to one year. In United States v. Alvarez (2012), the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Stolen Valor Act was an unconstitutional abridgment of the freedom of speech under the First Amendment, striking down the law in a 6 to 3 decision.
The Legion of Valor is a federally chartered corporation created to promote patriotic allegiance to the United States, fidelity to the U.S. Constitution, and popular support for civil liberties and the permanence of free institutions. Its membership is open to recipients of the Medal of Honor, the Distinguished Service Cross, the Navy Cross and the Air Force Cross.
Gurdon H. Barter was a U.S. sailor stationed aboard the USS Minnesota during the American Civil War. He received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Second Battle of Fort Fisher on January 15, 1865.
John Griffiths was a sailor in the U.S. Navy during the American Civil War. He received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Second Battle of Fort Fisher on January 15, 1865.
John P. Erickson was a Union Navy sailor in the American Civil War and a recipient of the U.S. military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions during the Wilmington Campaign.
The Tiffany Cross Medal of Honor arose immediately after World War I, as the US Navy decided to recognize via the Medal of Honor two manners of heroism, one in combat and one in the line of a sailor's profession. The original upside-down star was designated as the non-combat version and a new pattern of the medal pendant, in cross form, was designed by the Tiffany Company in 1919. It was to be presented to a sailor or Marine who "in action involving actual conflict with the enemy, distinguish[es] himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty and without detriment to his mission." This pendant became the Tiffany Cross.
The Distinguished Warfare Medal was a planned United States military decoration announced by former U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta on 13 February 2013.It would have been the first U.S. combat-related award to be created since the Bronze Star Medal in 1944. The blue, red and white-ribboned medal was to be awarded to individuals for "extraordinary achievement" related to a military operation occurring after 11 September 2001. It was intended to recognize military achievement in cyberwarfare or combat drone operations for actions that did not include valor in combat.
The Stolen Valor Act of 2013 is a United States federal law that was passed by the 113th United States Congress. The law amends the federal criminal code to make it a crime for a person to claim they have served in the military, embellish their rank or fraudulently claim having received a valor award specified in the Act, with the intention of obtaining money, property, or other tangible benefit by convincing another that he or she received the award.
as of October 30, 2019, there have been 3,525 Medals of Honor awarded including 19 second awards.
These medals were made of copper and coated with bronze
The medal of honor is bronze, of neat device, and is highly prized by those of whom it has been bestowed", "Townsend wrote in a 1864 report. Its original design, embodied first in the Navy Medal, was an inverted, five-pointed star ...
The medals were made of copper and coated with bronze, which gave them a reddish tint
Further depreciating the value of the medal, the Grand Army of the Republic and other veterans groups began giving out their own medals, some of which looked conspicuously similar to the Medal of Honor.
According to Frank, the Army redesigned its medal because other organizations had medals that looked similar. For example, the Grand Army of the Republic had a medal that, from far away, looked like a MoH.
Seventh in the order of precedence of military decorations, the Legion of Merit is one of only two U.S. decorations to be issued as a "neck order", meaning it is worn on a ribbon around the neck. The other is the esteemed Medal of Honor.
For the degree of Commander, the badge is worn from a neck ribbon. (The Medal of Honor is the only other American decoration worn from the neck.)
The degrees of chief commander and commander are conferred on members of foreign governments only and are awarded for services comparable to those for which the Distinguished Service Medal is given to members of the United States armed forces.
The Medal of Honor is the highest U.S. military honor and is usually presented by the President of the United States.
At the ceremony, Bush noted that more than half of the Medal of Honor recipients since World War II have died earning it.
Even though he's leaving the Army, Giunta is entitled to a number of special benefits reserved for Medal of Honor recipients, including a monthly Veterans Affairs pension of more than $1,237 a month for life as well as an invitation to every presidential inauguration and inauguration party.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Medals of honor .|