The Medal of Honor


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The Medal of Honor

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  • A Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster is to denote the second and subsequent awards of the same decoration. A Silver Oak Leaf Cluster is worn in the place of 5 Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters.
  • The Medal of Honor

    1. 1. There are three different types of the Medal of Honor. The Army The Navy The Air Force
    2. 2. There is a Pyramid of Honor that was established to recognize degrees of bravery below that honored by the Medal of Honor. There are several medals awarded for valor, gallantry and heroism. The Medal of Honor is at the peak of this Pyramid of Honor. Pyramid of Honor Medal of Honor (May only receive one) The Distinguished Service Cross(Army), The Navy Cross(Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard), The Air Force Cross(Air Force) The Silver Star, The Distinguished Flying Cross, The Bronze Star, The Purple Heart, (Common to all branches of the armed forces) The Air Medal When a soldier is wounded more than once, the Purple Heart is decorated with either Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters or a Silver Oak Leaf Cluster with Bronze Oak Leaf Clusters. The most Purple Hearts that can be awarded is eight.
    3. 3. Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces. Place and date: Republic of Vietnam, 30 December 1968. Entered service at: Montgomery, Ala. Born: 11 July 1939, Opelika, Ala. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. 1st Lt. Howard (then Sfc .), distinguished himself while serving as platoon sergeant of an American-Vietnamese platoon which was on a mission to rescue a missing American soldier in enemy controlled territory in the Republic of Vietnam. The platoon had left its helicopter landing zone and was moving out on its mission when it was attacked by an estimated 2-company force. During the initial engagement, 1st Lt. Howard was wounded and his weapon destroyed by a grenade explosion. 1st Lt. Howard saw his platoon leader had been wounded seriously and was exposed to fire. Although unable to walk, and weaponless, 1st Lt. Howard unhesitatingly crawled through a hail of fire to retrieve his wounded leader. As 1st Lt. Howard was administering first aid and removing the officer's equipment, an enemy bullet struck 1 of the ammunition pouches on the lieutenant's belt, detonating several magazines of ammunition. 1st Lt. Howard momentarily sought cover and then realizing that he must rejoin the platoon, which had been disorganized by the enemy attack, he again began dragging the seriously wounded officer toward the platoon area. Through his outstanding example of indomitable courage and bravery, 1st Lt. Howard was able to rally the platoon into an organized defense force. With complete disregard for his safety, 1st Lt. Howard crawled from position to position, administering first aid to the wounded, giving encouragement to the defenders and directing their fire on the encircling enemy. For 3 1/2 hours 1st Lt. Howard's small force and supporting aircraft successfully repulsed enemy attacks and finally were in sufficient control to permit the landing of rescue helicopters. 1st Lt. Howard personally supervised the loading of his men and did not leave the bullet-swept landing zone until all were aboard safely. 1st Lt. Howard's gallantry in action, his complete devotion to the welfare of his men at the risk of his life were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army
    4. 4. The first formal system of rewarding men for their individual gallantry in battle was created by General George Washington on August 7, 1782. The award only consisted of the Badge of Military Merit at the time and only three men ever received the medal; Sergeant Elijah Churchill, Sergeant William Brown, and Sergeant Daniel Bissel Jr. The Badge of Military Merit disappeared until 1932 when General Douglas MacArthur pressed for its revival. It was reinstated on February 22, 1932 as the Purple Heart. The Navy Medal of Honor was the first Medal of Honor to be recommended by Iowa Senator James W. Grimes on December 9, 1861. The bill that he suggested for this Medal of Honor was passed on December 21, 1861. Two months later, on February 17, 1862 Massachusetts Senator Henry Wilson came forward with a similar bill for the Army. The bill was passed on July 12, 1862. Both bills were passed by President Abraham Lincoln.
    5. 5. The Medal of Honor sets specific provisions for recipients. At least two eyewitnesses must provide “incontestable evidence” to a deed that proves to “be so outstanding, that it clearly distinguishes gallantry beyond the call of duty from lesser forms of bravery, involve the risk of life, and be the type of deed, which, if not done, would not subject the recipient to any unjustified criticism.” All medals since Vietnam have been given posthumously. Only three Navy Seals received the Medal of Honor in Vietnam. Only two men received the Medal of Honor in the war in Somalia. Both of whom died protecting the two fallen Blackhawk helicopters crew members.
    6. 6.  More than 3,448 Medals of Honor have been awarded since its creation in 1861.  There has been only one woman ever to be awarded the Medal of Honor, Dr. Mary E. Walker. She was awarded this Medal of Honor during the Civil War for her role as a Surgeon and for her hardships as a prisoner for four months. Her medal was recommended by Major Generals Sherman and Thomas and was given to her by President Andrew Johnson. The Medal was rescinded in 1917 along with 910 other medals and Dr. Mary Walker refused to return the Medal of Honor.  The Medal of Honor was restored by President Carter on June 10, 1977.  27 Medals of Honor were given at Iwo Jima; 22 to Marines , 4 to Navy Corpsmen and 1 to a Landing Craft Commander.
    7. 7.  There have only been 19 double recipients of the Medal of Honor.  President Theodore Roosevelt was recommended for the Medal of Honor for the battle at San Juan Hill on July 1, 1898; but never received the medal. 22 men were awarded the medal for that battle. Over one hundred years later, on January 16, 2001, President Theodore Roosevelt was awarded the Medal of Honor. He also held the Nobel Peace Prize. President Roosevelt is the only President to ever receive the Medal of Honor.  On July 29, 1986, Angelo (Charles) Liteky, a former Army chaplain in Vietnam, renounced his Medal of Honor in protest over U.S. policies in Central America. Liteky's is the only known case in which a Medal of Honor has been renounced.  He returned the Medal of Honor at the Vietnam Memorial Wall.
    8. 8. Rank and organization: Contract Acting Assistant Surgeon (civilian), U. S. Army. Places and dates: Battle of Bull Run, July 21, 1861; Patent Office Hospital, Washington, D.C., October 1861; Chattanooga, Tenn., following Battle of Chickomauga, September 1863; Prisoner of War, April 10, 1864-August 12, 1864, Richmond, Va.; Battle of Atlanta, September 1864. Entered service at: Louisville, Ky. Born: 26 November 1832, Oswego County, N.Y. Citation: Whereas it appears from official reports that Dr. Mary E. Walker, a graduate of medicine, "has rendered valuable service to the Government, and her efforts have been earnest and untiring in a variety of ways," and that she was assigned to duty and served as an assistant surgeon in charge of female prisoners at Louisville, Ky., upon the recommendation of Major-Generals Sherman and Thomas, and faithfully served as contract surgeon in the service of the United States, and has devoted herself with much patriotic zeal to the sick and wounded soldiers, both in the field and hospitals, to the detriment of her own health, and has also endured hardships as a prisoner of war four months in a Southern prison while acting as contract surgeon; and Whereas by reason of her not being a commissioned officer in the military service, a brevet or honorary rank cannot, under existing laws, be conferred upon her; and Whereas in the opinion of the President an honorable recognition of her services and sufferings should be made: It is ordered, That a testimonial thereof shall be hereby made and given to the said Dr. Mary E. Walker, and that the usual medal of honor for meritorious services be given her. Given under my hand in the city of Washington, D.C., this 11th day of November, A.D. 1865. Andrew Johnson, President (Medal rescinded 1917 along with 910 others, restored by President Carter 10 June 1977.)
    9. 9. The first way the government became involved was passing the bills to allow the Pyramid of Honor to exist. The parameters of the Medal of Honor has also gone under some revisions to ensure it is justly bestowed upon those who have earned it. The President must present the Medal of Honor (also known as the Congressional Medal of Honor) in the name of the United States Congress.
    10. 10. For extraordinary heroism distinguished service, and devotion above and beyond the call of duty. During the first attack by Japanese airplanes on the Naval Air Station, Kaneohe Bay, on December 7, 1941, Lt. Finn promptly secured and manned a .50- caliber machinegun mounted on an instruction stand in a completely exposed section of the parking ramp, which was under heavy enemy machine gun strafing fire. Although painfully wounded many times, he continued to man this gun and to return the enemy's fire vigorously and with telling effect throughout the enemy strafing and bombing attacks and with complete disregard for his own personal safety. It was only by specific orders that he was persuaded to leave his post to seek medical attention. Following first aid treatment, although obviously suffering much pain and moving with great difficulty, he returned to the squadron area and actively supervised the rearming of returning planes. His extraordinary heroism and conduct in this action were in keeping with the highest traditions of the U.S. Naval Service. This is the official citation given in the recommendation for Lt. John Finn for the Medal of Honor.
    11. 11. Rank and organization: Specialist Sixth Class (then Sp5c), U.S. Army, Headquarters and Headquarters Company, 1st Battalion (Airborne), 503d Infantry, 173d Airborne Brigade. Place and date: Republic of Vietnam, 8 November 1965, Entered service at: New York City, N.Y. G.O. No.: 15, 5 April 1967. Born: 22 February 1928, Winston-Salem, N.C. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty. Sp6c. Joel demonstrated indomitable courage, determination, and professional skill when a numerically superior and well-concealed Viet Cong element launched a vicious attack which wounded or killed nearly every man in the lead squad of the company. After treating the men wounded by the initial burst of gunfire, he bravely moved forward to assist others who were wounded while proceeding to their objective. While moving from man to man, he was struck in the right leg by machine gun fire. Although painfully wounded his desire to aid his fellow soldiers transcended all personal feeling. He bandaged his own wound and self-administered morphine to deaden the pain enabling him to continue his dangerous undertaking. Through this period of time, he constantly shouted words of encouragement to all around him. Then, completely ignoring the warnings of others, and his pain, he continued his search for wounded, exposing himself to hostile fire; and, as bullets dug up the dirt around him, he held plasma bottles high while kneeling completely engrossed in his life saving mission. Then, after being struck a second time and with a bullet lodged in his thigh, he dragged himself over the battlefield and succeeded in treating 13 more men before his medical supplies ran out. Displaying resourcefulness, he saved the life of 1 man by placing a plastic bag over a severe chest wound to congeal the blood. As 1 of the platoons pursued the Viet Cong, an insurgent force in concealed positions opened fire on the platoon and wounded many more soldiers. With a new stock of medical supplies, Sp6c. Joel again shouted words of encouragement as he crawled through an intense hail of gunfire to the wounded men. After the 24 hour battle subsided and the Viet Cong dead numbered 410, snipers continued to harass the company. Throughout the long battle, Sp6c. Joel never lost sight of his mission as a medical aidman and continued to comfort and treat the wounded until his own evacuation was ordered. His meticulous attention to duty saved a large number of lives and his unselfish, daring example under most adverse conditions was an inspiration to all. Sp6c. Joel's profound concern for his fellow soldiers, at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty are in the highest traditions of the U.S. Army and reflect great credit upon himself and the Armed Forces of his country.
    12. 12. They fought together as brothers in arms; they died together and now they sleep side by side...To them, we have a solemn obligation — the obligation to ensure that their sacrifice will help make this a better and safer world in which to live.
    13. 13. "If you are able, save for them a place inside of you and save one backward glance when you are leaving for the places they can no longer go. Be not ashamed to say you loved them, though you may or may not have always. Take what they have taught you with their dying and keep it with your own. And in that time when men decide and feel safe to call the war insane, take one moment to embrace those gentle heroes you left behind.” 1 January 1970 Listed as KIA February 7, 1978 Dak To, Vietnam