The Medal of Honor

Abstract

            The Medal of Honor is the most esteemed gallantry award for the armed forces of the United States. Among the most recognized awards the Medal of Honor came into being when George Washington thought of a way to appreciate the forces and soldiers  for their bravery and found out a way for which every soldier would sacrifice his life to get his name in the bearers of the honor.   Many controversies came into being regarding the policies and awarding to the soldiers but they were denied by people of the government and forces. Today many of the soldiers carry their self to war rocked places to get this honor for their self and family.

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The Medal of Honor

            The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded by the United States government. It is given to a member a member of the United States armed forces who puts himself at risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the united state. The Medal of Honor has been distributed in the history because of the glory and courage of American armed forces.

            Members of all branches of the U.S. military are eligible to receive the Medal of Honor; each service has a different designs. But the Marine Corps and Coast Guard both use the Navy’s medal. The Medal of Honor is often presented personally to the recipient or, in the case of posthumous awards, to next of kin, by the President of the United States. Due to its high status, the medal has special protection under U.S. law.

            The Medal of Honor is one of two military neck order awards issued by the United States Armed Forces. The medal is also called the Congressional Medal of Honor, as it stems from the Department of Defense and it is also connected to the congress

Origin
The first formal system for rewarding of this gallantry award for American soldiers was established by George Washington on August 7, 1782, when he created the Badge of Military Merit, designed to recognize “any singularly meritorious action in war.” This decoration is America’s first combat award and the second oldest American military decoration of any type, the first one is Fidelity Medallion. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:NavyMOH.jpg

Early versions of the Medal of Honor

            The Medal of Honor has evolved in appearance time to time and the changing took place since its creation in 1862. The present Army medal consists of a gold star surrounded by a wreath, topped by an eagle on a bar inscribed with the word “Valor.” The medal is attached by a hook to a light blue moiré silk neckband that is 13⁄16 inches (30 mm) in width and 21¾ inches (552 mm) in length.

            There is a version of the medal for each branch of the U.S. armed forces: the Army, Navy and Air Force. Since the U.S. Marine Corps is administratively a part of the Department of the Navy, Marines receive the Navy medal. Before 1965, when the U.S. Air Force design was adopted, members of the U.S. Army Air Corps, U.S. Army Air Forces, and Air Force received the Army version of the medal.

            The Coast Guard Medal of Honor, which was distinguished from the Navy medal in 1963, has never been awarded, partly because the U.S. Coast Guard is subsumed into the U.S. Navy in time of declared war. No design yet exists for it. Only one member of the Coast Guard has received a Medal of Honor, Signalman 1st Class Douglas Munro, who was awarded the Navy version for action during the Battle of Guadalcanal.

            In the rare cases (19 thus far) where a service member has been awarded more than one Medal of Honor, current regulations specify that an appropriate award device be centered on the Medal of Honor ribbon and neck medal. To indicate multiple presentations of the Medal of Honor, the U.S. Army and Air Force bestow oak leaf clusters, while the Navy Medal of Honor is worn with gold award stars.

Medal of Honor Flag

            The flag was based on a concept by retired Army Special Forces 1SG. Bill Kendall of Jefferson, Iowa, who designed a flag to honor Medal of Honor recipient Captain Darrell Lindsey, a B-26 pilot killed in World War II who was also from Jefferson. Kendall’s design of a light blue field emblazoned with thirteen white five-pointed stars was nearly identical to that of Sarah LeClerc’s of the Institute of Heraldry. LeClerc’s design, ultimately accepted as the official flag, does not include the words “Medal of Honor” and is fringed in gold. The color of the field and the 13 white stars, arranged in the form of a three bar chevron, consisting of two chevrons of 5 stars and one chevron of 3 stars, replicate the Medal of Honor ribbon.

Recipientshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:KY_Medal_of_Honor.jpg

A statue in Louisville, Kentucky honors Medal of Honor recipients from Kentucky.

Main article: List of Medal of Honor recipients

In total, 3,465 medals have been awarded to 3,446 different people. Nineteen men received a second award: 14 of these received two separate medals for two separate actions, and five received both the Navy and the Army Medals of Honor for the same action. Since the beginning of World War II, 854 Medals of Honor have been awarded, 528 posthumously. In total, 618 had their medals presented posthumously.

            The first Army Medal of Honor was awarded to Private Jacob Parrott during the American Civil War for his role in the Andrews Raid. The only female Medal of Honor recipient is Mary Edwards Walker, a Civil War surgeon. Her medal was rescinded in 1917 along with many other non-combat awards, but it was restored by President Jimmy Carter in 1977.

            While current regulations, (10 U.S.C. § 6241), beginning in 1918, explicitly state that recipients must be serving in the U.S. Armed Forces at the time of performing a valorous act that warrants the award, exceptions have been made. For example, Charles Lindbergh, while a reserve member of the U.S. Army Air Corps, received his Medal of Honor as a civilian pilot. In addition, the Medal of Honor was presented to the British Unknown Warrior by General Pershing on October 17, 1921; later the U.S. Unknown Soldier was reciprocally awarded the Victoria Cross, Britain’s highest award for gallantry, on November 11, 1921. Apart from these few exceptions, Medals of Honor can only be awarded to members of the U.S. armed forces – although being a U.S. citizen is not a prerequisite. Sixty-one Canadians who were serving in the United States armed forces have been awarded the Medal of Honor, with a majority awarded for actions in the American Civil War. Since 1900, only four have been awarded to Canadians. In the Vietnam War, Peter C. Lemon was the only Canadian recipient of the Medal of Honor.

o   Civil War:                   1522

o   Korean Expedition:    15

o   Samoan Civil War:     4

o   Boxer Rebellion:        59

o   Haiti (1915–1934):     8

o   World war 1:              124

o   World war 2 :             464

o   Vietnam War:                        246

o   Operation Iraqi Freedom: 4

o   Peacetime:                  93

o   Indian Wars:              426

o   Spanish-American War: 110

o   Mexican Expedition:   56

o   Dominican Republic Occupation: 3

o   Occupation of Nicaragua: 2

o   Korean War:               133

o   Battle of Mogadishu: 2

o   Operation Enduring Freedom: 1

o   Unknown:                  9

By branch of service:

o   Army: 2404

o   Navy: 746

o   Marines: 297

o   Air force: 17

o   Coast guard: 1

Bearers of Medal of Honor:

Civil War:

James Allen a Private of Company F, 16th New York Infantry. 11 September 1890. Citation: James Single-handed and slightly wounded he accosted a squad of 14 Confederate soldiers bearing the colors of the 16th Georgia Infantry (C.S.A.). By an imaginary ruse he secured their surrender and kept them at bay when the regimental commander discovered him and rode away for assistance.

World War I:

BRONSON, DEMING

            Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, Company H, 364th Infantry, 91st Division. Place and date: Near Eclisfontaine, France, 26-27 September 1918. Entered service at: Seattle, Wash. Born: 8 July 1894, Rhinelander, Wis. G.O. No.: 12 W.D., 1929. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy. On the morning of 26 September, during the advance of the 364th Infantry, 1st Lt. Bronson was struck by an exploding enemy hand grenade, receiving deep cuts on his face and the back of his head. He nevertheless participated in the action which resulted in the capture of an enemy dugout from which a great number of prisoners were taken. This was affected with difficulty and under extremely hazardous conditions because it was necessary to advance without the advantage of cover and, from an exposed position, throw hand grenades and phosphorous bombs to compel the enemy to surrender. On the afternoon of the same day he was painfully wounded in the left arm by an enemy rifle bullet, and after receiving first aid treatment he was directed to the rear. Disregarding these instructions, 1st Lt. Bronson remained on duty with his company through the night although suffering from severe pain and shock. On the morning of 27 September, his regiment resumed its attack, the object being the village of Eclisfontaine. Company H, to which 1st Lt. Bronson was assigned, was left in support of the attacking line, Company E being in the line. He gallantly joined that company in spite of his wounds and engaged with it in the capture of the village. After the capture he remained with Company E and participated with it in the capture of an enemy machinegun, he himself killing the enemy gunner. Shortly after this encounter the company was compelled to retire due to the heavy enemy artillery barrage. During this retirement 1st Lt. Bronson, who was the last man to leave the advanced position, was again wounded in both arms by an enemy high-explosive shell. He was then assisted to cover by another officer who applied first aid. Although bleeding profusely and faint from the loss of blood, 1st Lt. Bronson remained with the survivors of the company throughout the night of the second day, refusing to go to the rear for treatment. His conspicuous gallantry and spirit of self-sacrifice were a source of great inspiration to the members of the entire command.

World War 2:

GALER, ROBERT EDWARD

            Rank and organization: Major, U.S. Marine Corps, Marine Fighter Sqdn. 244. Place: Solomon Islands Area. Entered service at: Washington. Born: 23 October 1913, Seattle, Wash. Other Navy awards: Navy Cross, Distinguished Flying Cross. Citation: For conspicuous heroism and courage above and beyond the call of duty as leader of a marine fighter squadron in aerial combat with enemy Japanese forces in the Solomon Islands area. Leading his squadron repeatedly in daring and aggressive raids against Japanese aerial forces, vastly superior in numbers, Maj. Galer availed himself of every favorable attack opportunity, individually shooting down 11 enemy bomber and fighter aircraft over a period of 29 days. Though suffering the extreme physical strain attendant upon protracted fighter operations at an altitude above 25,000 feet, the squadron under his zealous and inspiring leadership shot down a total of 27 Japanese planes. His superb airmanship, his outstanding skill and personal valor reflect great credit upon Maj. Galer’s gallant fighting spirit and upon the U.S. Naval Service.

Korean War:

BARBER, WILLIAM E.

            Rank and organization: Captain U.S. Marine Corps, commanding officer, Company F, 2d Battalion 7th Marines, and 1st Marine Division (Rein.). Place and date: Chosin Reservoir area, Korea, 28 November to 2 December 1950. Entered service at: West Liberty, Ky. Born: 30 November 1919, Dehart, Ky. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as commanding officer of Company F in action against enemy aggressor forces. Assigned to defend a 3-mile mountain pass along the division’s main supply line and commanding the only route of approach in the march from Yudam-ni to Hagaru-ri, Capt. Barber took position with his battle-weary troops and, before nightfall, had dug in and set up a defense along the frozen, snow-covered hillside. When a force of estimated regimental strength savagely attacked during the night, inflicting heavy casualties and finally surrounding his position following a bitterly fought 7-hour conflict, Capt. Barber, after repulsing the enemy gave assurance that he could hold if supplied by airdrops and requested permission to stand fast when orders were received by radio to fight his way back to a relieving force after 2 reinforcing units had been driven back under fierce resistance in their attempts to reach the isolated troops. Aware that leaving the position would sever contact with the 8,000 marines trapped at Yudam-ni and jeopardize their chances of joining the 3,000 more awaiting their arrival in Hagaru-ri for the continued drive to the sea, he chose to risk loss of his command rather than sacrifice more men if the enemy seized control and forced a renewed battle to regain the position, or abandon his many wounded who were unable to walk. Although severely wounded in the leg in the early morning of the 29th, Capt. Barber continued to maintain personal control, often moving up and down the lines on a stretcher to direct the defense and consistently encouraging and inspiring his men to supreme efforts despite the staggering opposition. Waging desperate battle throughout 5 days and 6 nights of repeated onslaughts launched by the fanatical aggressors, he and his heroic command accounted for approximately 1,000 enemy dead in this epic stand in bitter subzero weather, and when the company was relieved only 82 of his original 220 men were able to walk away from the position so valiantly defended against insuperable odds. His profound faith and courage, great personal valor, and unwavering fortitude were decisive factors in the successful withdrawal of the division from the deathtrap in the Chosin Reservoir sector and reflect the highest credit upon Capt. Barber, his intrepid officers and men, and the U.S. Naval Service.

Vietnam War:

MARTINI, GARY W.

            Rank and organization: Private First Class, U.S. Marine Corps, Company F, 2d Battalion, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division. Place and date: Binh Son, Republic of Vietnam, 21 April 1967. Entered service at: Portland, Oreg. Born: 21 September 1948, Lexington, Va. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. On 21 April 1967, during Operation UNION* elements of Company F, conducting offensive operations at Binh Son, encountered a firmly entrenched enemy force and immediately deployed to engage them. The marines in Pfc. Martini’s platoon assaulted across an open rice paddy to within 20 meters of the enemy trench line where they were suddenly struck by hand grenades, intense small arms, automatic weapons, and mortar fire. The enemy onslaught killed 14 and wounded 18 marines, pinning the remainder of the platoon down behind a low paddy dike. In the face of imminent danger, Pfc. Martini immediately crawled over the dike to a forward open area within 15 meters of the enemy position where, continuously exposed to the hostile fire, he hurled hand grenades, killing several of the enemy. Crawling back through the intense fire, he rejoined his platoon which had moved to the relative safety of a trench line. From this position he observed several of his wounded comrades Lying helpless in the fire-swept paddy. Although he knew that 1 man had been killed attempting to assist the wounded, Pfc. Martini raced through the open area and dragged a comrade back to a friendly position. In spite of a serious wound received during this first daring rescue, he again braved the unrelenting fury of the enemy fire to aid another companion Lying wounded only 20 meters in front of the enemy trench line. As he reached the fallen marine, he received a mortal wound, but disregarding his own condition, he began to drag the marine toward his platoon’s position. Observing men from his unit attempting to leave the security of their position to aid him, concerned only for their safety, he called to them to remain under cover, and through a final supreme effort, moved his injured comrade to where he could be pulled to safety, before he fell, succumbing to his wounds. Stouthearted and indomitable, Pfc. Martini unhesitatingly yielded his life to save 2 of his comrades and insure the safety of the remainder of his platoon. His outstanding courage, valiant fighting spirit and selfless devotion to duty reflected the highest credit upon himself, the Marine Corps, and the U.S. Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life for his country.

References

Smith .Larry, Beyond Glory

Wallace. Mike, Medal of Honor

 Ciram. Marc, Heroes

Jordon. Kenneth, Yesterday’s heroes

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