Americas Heroes: Medal of Honor Recipients from the Civil War to Afghanistan

Honoring the Heroes Who Sacrificed Everything
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Minimally, MoH recommendations shall contain the endorsement of the Combatant Commander concerned and the Service Chief concerned. Army MoH recommendations must be entered formally into official channels within 3 years of the act warranting the recommendation, and awarded within 5 years.

Civil War hero receives Medal of Honor

Navy and Marine Corps. In accordance with section of Title 10, United States Code, Navy and Marine Corps MoH recommendations must be formally entered into official channels within 3 years of the act warranting the recommendation, and awarded within 5 years. Air Force. In accordance with section of Title 10, United States Code, Air Force MoH recommendations must be entered formally into official channels within 3 years of the act warranting the recommendation, and awarded within 5 years.

All Military Departments. The process for restoration of a rescinded Medal of Honor is different. However, if a request for a restoration of a MoH were made, the process would be different than the procedures noted above. For those seeking restoration of the Medal of Honor, an appeal must be considered by the appropriate Board for Correction of Military Records. If the board recommends reinstatement, the decision is passed to the service Secretary and then, ultimately, to the President.


Figure 1. Medal of Honor Recommendation Process. C when applicable. Any premature public disclosure of information concerning recommendations, processing, and approval or disapproval actions is a potential source of embarrassment to those recommended and the federal government. Additionally, in the case of approved recommendations, it could diminish the impact of ceremonies at which the presentation is made. Therefore, to prevent premature disclosure, public comments should not be made on any MoH case under consideration. In , Congress extended permissive health care benefits to MoH recipients and their dependents in the same manner as is currently available to military retirees and their dependents.

Generally speaking, the originating request for military awards, including the MoH, is made by the military commander or other appropriate uniformed personnel. Therefore, it is considered appropriate, that recommendations regarding this or other awards originate from those military personnel who are familiar with human behavior under the stress of combat situations. In a number of instances, Members of Congress or others have urged the President to consider or reconsider an individual for the MoH.

Over the years, Members of Congress have offered numerous bills for this purpose. Much of this legislation takes the form of extensive findings detailing the background, situation, and exploits concerned. Where important, special mention may be made of the reason s the MoH was not originally awarded e. The legislation then resolves that notwithstanding restrictions contained in Title 10 U. Code i. The handling of these congressional requests, if and when forwarded to the services, varies depending on whether or not the individual was originally recommended by a military commander or uniformed personnel for the Medal of Honor.

See also Figure 1 , involving congressional request for consideration on the right side of the chart. Generally speaking, the services will not favorably consider awarding the MoH unless the individual was originally recommended but did not receive the award because of extenuating circumstances e. In nearly every case, specific findings of fact are required that the individual was originally recommended or that the downgrade to another type of award occurred under questionable, but verifiable, circumstances.

West Virginia Is Looking for the Descendants of Civil War Veterans Who Never Claimed Their Medals

In cases where no original recommendation has been made, extensive and reliable findings of valid facts must be presented. In these instances, since there is no original record to "correct," the BCMR is not necessarily involved in the consideration process. Without an original recommendation, factual data supporting the award, and compelling reasons for it to be awarded at a later date, it is very unlikely that the MoH will be awarded.

This is particularly so in cases where a great deal of time has passed and eyewitnesses cannot be found, or do not clearly remember the events in question. Nevertheless, on numerous occasions, legislation has been introduced seeking to have the MoH awarded. An executive comment is usually requested by the committee.

In most cases, the executive comment proves unfavorable and the legislation is not reported out of committee. In recent times, there have been a number of specific instances in which the MoH was awarded or reinstated outside of the statutory time limits. In one case, the award was renounced by a recipient. The following are examples of these instances. His commander later recommended that the award be upgraded to the Medal of Honor.

The upgrade was denied until a missing eyewitness was located in Then-President Jimmy Carter approved the upgrade on December 31, The family of Marine Colonel Donald G. Information of his heroics was only obtained after the repatriation of other POWs. Colonel Cook's award was delayed in part because he had not been officially declared dead. Urban's battalion commander promised to nominate him for the award but was killed in action. There is no evidence, however, that the letter was received by the headquarters of the 9 th Infantry Division in Europe. Liteky's is the only known case in which a Medal of Honor has been renounced.

Citation metadata America's Heroes: Medal of Honor Recipients from the Civil War to Afghanistan (): James H. Willbanks: Books. America's Heroes. Medal of Honor Recipients from the Civil War to Afghanistan. by James H. Willbanks, Editor. Since the Medal of Honor was authorized, only.

On April 24, , then-President George H. Army, for his services in World War I. This presentation followed a review of the award by the Army into citation records to determine whether or not African Americans were treated fairly. Perhaps one of the more contentious Medal of Honor awards involved the case of the Civil War civilian contract surgeon Mary Edwards Walker.

She was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Andrew Johnson on November 11, , for "services rendered during the war. As with certain other medal recipients of her day, no specific act of heroism was cited for receiving it. Walker's award was stricken because she was not a member of the Armed Forces and because her services did not involve "actual conflict with an enemy, by gallantry or intrepidity, at the risk of life, above and beyond the call of duty.

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Share to facebook Share to twitter Share to linkedin Created in during the American Civil War, the Medal of Honor is the highest and most prestigious military award presented by the U. Phrases that sound familiar from books we've read, or maybe by watching Ken Burns' documentary on the Civil War. Archived from the original on July 2, I came here to kill Japs, not go home! I admire Alonzo Cushing.

The Army Board for Corrections of Military Records ruled with one dissent that the decision to rescind the award was "unjust. In , her medal was restored. The restoration remains highly contentious. Lacking sufficient witnesses to attest to certain deeds, military officials argued that Casamento should be awarded only the Navy Cross. Critics contend that President Carter's action was timed for political effect, as the President awarded the medal just prior to an election-year appearance before the National Italian-American Foundation.

Following the example of the reinstatement of the award to Dr.

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Walker, relatives of William F. Walker's was reinstated, there existed a precedent for awarding the medal to civilians who served with the military.

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Cody was originally awarded the Medal of Honor on May 22, , for his gallantry while serving as an Army scout on April 26, , at the Platte River, Nebraska. At the request of a U. Senator serving as the counsel for a relative, the Board for Correction of Military Records recommended reinstatement of "Buffalo Bill" Cody's medal, citing in part the award of Dr. Army Board of Correction of Military Records restored the award, and on July 8, , two Senators announced the restoration of Cody's medal.

Doshier [post guide], and William H. Woodall [scout]. Throughout the years, many efforts to award or reinstate the Medal of Honor have proven time-consuming and difficult. For example, advocates for Navy Seaman Doris a. Dorie or Dorrie Miller have sought for years to have his award upgraded to the Medal of Honor. He then proceeded to man a machine gun, successfully returning fire on the attacking Japanese.

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After strong civil rights protests, he was given a letter of commendation. The letter of commendation was upgraded to the Navy Cross. A destroyer escort was later named in his honor. Legislative and other efforts to upgrade the Navy Cross to the Medal of Honor have proven unsuccessful. The reluctance to upgrade awards to the Medal of Honor or to award it outright is generally based on efforts to award the medal to those truly deserving, to maintain the integrity of the award itself and the awards process in general, and to avoid "opening the floodgates" to retroactive requests for this and other awards and decorations.

This reluctance has led many to feel that the system of awarding medals is overly restrictive and that certain individuals are denied earned medals. It is noteworthy that two MoH awards have gone "unclaimed. Furgol, the 20 th century produced at least one other unclaimed MoH from First, Congress waived the time limitation on any award or decoration for acts of valor during the Vietnam era 35 for actions in the Southeast Asia theater of operations.

Second, Congress waived the laws and regulations for awarding any decoration including the Medal of Honor for those so deserving who were serving in intelligence activities during the period January 1, December 31, This was later extended to February 9, The report was to contain.

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These actions were taken in consideration of the fact that the records regarding intelligence activities are sealed for many years. Protecting this information for intelligence reasons means that those involved in intelligence activities are often ineligible to receive the Medal of Honor. In other words, should a person serving in intelligence perform an act of heroism worthy of the MoH, it is unlikely that the information could be publicly acknowledged.