Commentary

March 29, 2013

Medal of Honor has distinguished history

Scout Reports

Monday marked the 150th year the Medal of Honor has been presented to service members.

On March 25, 1863, Secretary of War Edwin Stanton presented Medals of Honor to six of the surviving members of Andrew’s Raiders. They were the first medals ever presented.

March 25 was declared National Medal of Honor Day by the U.S. Congress and honors Medal of Honor recipients nationwide. According to the “Military Times,” 3,460 have received the award, and 80 survive. The medal is the highest military honor and is presented by the president of the United States on behalf of Congress.

The recipients are chosen each year from hundreds of nominations across the U.S. by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. They are chosen based on a display of heroism or commitment to putting others first, to show how ordinary citizens can share the same traits as war heroes.

According to the Congressional Medal of Honor Society website, http://www.cmohs.org, the award has a history that actually dates back to March 3, 1847. Then, Congress authorized a “certificate of merit” to be presented by the president when a “private soldier distinguishes himself in the service.”

On Feb. 13, 1861, Army Assistant Surgeon Bernard Irwin rescued 60 Soldiers at Apache Pass, Ariz. Though the Medal of Honor wouldn’t be presented to him until 1894, it was the first heroic act for which the medal would be awarded.

On May 24 of the same year in Alexandria, Va., Army Pvt. Francis Edwin Brownell performed the first action of the Civil War to merit the Medal of Honor.

A few months later, on July 21, Dr. Mary Walker, the only woman to receive the medal, and 10 Soldiers at the Battle of Bull Run performed actions that eventually made them recipients of the Medal of Honor.

Then, on Dec. 9, 1861, Iowa Sen. James Grimes, chairman of the Senate Naval Committee, introduced federal bill S.J.R. No. 82 in Congress to create a medal of honor to promote the efficiency of the Navy.

On Feb. 17, 1862, Massachusetts Sen. Henry Wilson introduced a bill to provide for an Army Medal of Honor.
Originally, the Army Medal of Honor was intended for enlisted servicemen. However, the Act of 3 March 1863 extended the presentations of the Army Medal of Honor to officers, as well as noncommissioned officers and privates.

On March 25, 1863, Stanton physically presented the first Medals of Honor to six of the surviving members of Andrew’s Raiders.

A few months later, on July 18, at Fort Wagner, S.C., the 54th Massachusetts Colored Infantry faced their first major test of combat. William Harvey Carney became the first African-American awarded the medal.

On April 23, 1890, The Medal of Honor Legion was established to protect medal’s integrity.

On March 3, 1915, the president was authorized to present the medal to officers. Previously it was for enlisted personnel.

In 1946, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society was formed. It was later absorbed into the Congressionally Chartered Congressional Medal of Honor Society of the United States of America on Aug. 14, 1958.

The Air Force introduced the design for their Air Force Medal of Honor in 1965. Each branch of service now had its own medal design.

World War I had yielded no African-American Medal of Honor recipients, due to prejudices of the time. President George H.W. Bush corrected this when he presented the Medal of Honor to the family of Cpl. Freddie Stowers on April 24, 1991.

Racial prejudice had also prevented the awarding of the medal to any African-American Soldiers during World War II. President Bill Clinton presented medals to the families of six deceased World War II heroes and one living hero, Vernon Baker, on Jan. 13, 1997.

In ceremonies at the White House on June 21, 2000, Clinton presented the Medal of Honor to 22 World War II veterans. All the medals went to Asian-Americans who were denied earlier recognition due to racism.

On Feb. 11, 2013, President Barack Obama presented the award to Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha for the war on terrorism. It was the ninth award presented since March 31, 2009, and the most recent.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Photo-1-for-top-of-page

Soldier with heart for young people coaches wrestling teams

Sgt. 1st Class John Rivera Jr., an operations and administrative non-commissioned officer with the U.S. Army Electronic Proving Ground, works on wrestling holds with Buena High School students Cahan Sasica (left) and Jordan Rit...
 
 
Amanda Kraus Rodriguez

IMCOM human capital plan shapes 2025 workforce, builds legacy

Amanda Kraus Rodriguez Dana Davis, a financial management specialist at U.S. Army Installation Management Command Europe Region headquarters and member of the SHCP working group, prepares draft copies of the Strategic Human Cap...
 
 

Budget cuts made at FH Barnes Field House

Classes taught by instructors at Barnes Field House Fitness Center are no longer free due to a 23 – 25 percent annual operating budget cut implemented in January. “We’re a fully funded [facility] at the beginning of the year,” said Les Woods, chief of Sports, Fitness and Aquatics, Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and...
 

 

Presidential Proclamation – National African American History Month, 2015 NATIONAL AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY MONTH, 2015 BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION For generations, the story of American progress has been shaped by the inextinguishable beliefs that change is always possible and a brighter future lies ahead. With tremendous strength and abiding resolve, our ancestors — some of whom were brought to this land in chains — have woven their resilient dignity into the fabric...
 
 
Air Force Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz

Carter took office Tuesday as 25th defense secretary

Air Force Master Sgt. Adrian Cadiz Incoming Secretary of Defense Ash Carter arrives at the Pentagon to assume duties as the newly appointed Secretary of Defense, Tuesday. WASHINGTON — Ash Carter became the 25th secretary of d...
 
 

New Career Skills Program holds first successful class

The Fort Huachuca Education Center in cooperation with the Soldier for Life-Transition Assistance Program, SFL-TAP, and Cochise College began offering the Career Skills Program, or CSP, under the category of Education and Job Training for transitioning Soldiers. The program is designed to assist in the transition from Soldier to civilian, while giving the Soldier the...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin