Veterans

March 19, 2014

Obama presents long-overdue Medals of Honor to 24 soldiers

The three living recipients of the Medal of Honor among 24 Army veterans whose gallantry had finally been fully recognized stand during a ceremony at the White House, March 18, 2014. Left to right, they are Sgt. 1st Class Melvin Morris, Master Sgt. Jose Rodela and Sgt. Santiago J. Erevia. All three earned the nation’s highest award for battlefield gallantry during the Vietnam War. The 24 soldiers from World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War originally received the Distinguished Service Cross, and a congressionally directed review resulted in their awards being upgraded.

Twenty-four U.S. Army veterans from three wars – World War II, Korea and Vietnam – received upgrades to the highest military decoration for uncommon bravery and gallantry at a White House ceremony May 18.

President Barack Obama presented posthumous Medals of Honor to family members and representatives of 21 of those soldiers, and draped the sky-blue ribbon and five-pointed star-bearing medals around the necks of the three living veterans from the Vietnam War.

Each of the 24 had received a Distinguished Service Cross for the same fearless actions for which they were now receiving long overdue upgrades to the Medal of Honor.

“This ceremony is 70 years in the making and today, we have the chance to set the record straight,” the president said, noting that more than a decade ago Congress mandated a review to ensure heroism of veterans wasn’t overlooked due to prejudice or discrimination. During that review, the 24 soldiers – Hispanic, Jewish and African-American – were identified as deserving of the Medal of Honor.

“This is the length to which America will go to make sure everyone who serves under our proud flag receives the thanks that they deserve,” Obama said. “So with each generation, we keep on striving to live up to our ideals of freedom and equality, and to recognize the dignity and patriotism of every person, no matter who they are, what they look like, or how they pray.”

Obama invited each living soldier to the stage, one at a time, dressed in uniforms they could have worn in their 20s, but they now were filling out in their 70s with a full complement of ribbons and badges that testified to their skills as young soldiers. Their citations were read, their Medals of Honor were draped, and handshakes were exchanged.

“These are extraordinary Americans. They are exemplary soldiers,” the president said.

Following the presentation to the three Vietnam veterans, Obama called them all to the stage.

“Santiago Erevia, Melvin Morris, Jose Rodela – in the thick of the fight, all those years ago, for your comrades and your country, you refused to yield,” he said. “On behalf of a grateful nation, we all want to thank you for inspiring us – then and now – with your strength, your will, and your heroic hearts.”

Sons, daughters, nephews, brothers, wives, friends and representatives of the 21 soldiers who didn’t live to receive the long-overdue recognition each were called to the stage to hear their soldier’s citation read aloud for a final time.

While some fought tears, others smiled, faintly remembering. Then each was presented with the framed citation and Medal of Honor their soldier had earned. There was little doubt their soldiers would never be forgotten again.

“Ladies and gentlemen, it is very rare where we have the opportunity to reflect on the extraordinary courage and patriotism of such a remarkable collection of men,” Obama concluded. “We are so grateful to them, we are so grateful to their families, it makes us proud and it makes us inspired.”




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


 
 

 

Headlines September 19, 2014

News: McKeon on broader military authorization: Anything can ‘fail or pass’ - Rep. Howard “Buck” McKeon, R-Calif., chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, said if Congress returns after the midterm elections to weigh a broader military authorization for the battle against Islamic State, it might not pass. Defense contractor gets 7 years for giving secrets...
 
 

News Briefs September 19, 2014

U.S. military deaths in Afghanistan at 2,203 As of Sept. 16, 2014, at least 2,203 members of the U.S. military had died in Afghanistan as a result of the U.S.-led invasion of Afghanistan in late 2001, according to an Associated Press count. At least 1,823 military service members have died in Afghanistan as a result...
 
 

Pratt & Whitney, U.S. Air Force complete qualification for F135 engine testing

Pratt & Whitney, a United Technologies Corp. , together with its U.S. Air Force partner at the F135 Heavy Maintenance Center at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., celebrated another significant milestone qualification for F135 engine testing at the Oklahoma City Air Logistics Complex. OC-ALC which in addition to engine testing is also qualified to perform...
 

 
Navy photograph

Triton has first cross-country flight from Palmdale

Northrop Grumman photograph The MQ-4C Triton Unmanned Aircraft System takes off from Northrop Grummanís Palmdale, Calif., facility Sept. 17 for its first cross-country flight to Naval Air Station Patuxent, River, Md. PALMDALE,...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Michael J. Pausic

Future of NATO: Adapting to a new security environment

Air Force photograph by Michael J. Pausic Gen. Phillip Breedlove informs the assembled crowd about the results of the recent NATO Summit and the areas of instability that affect Europe that have regional implications. Seated in...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Scott M. Ash

AFRL commander describes Air Force’s technology vision

Air Force photograph by Scott M. Ash Maj. Gen. Thomas Masiello takes a question from an audience member after discussing Air Force Research Laboratory breakthrough technologies during the 2014 Air Force Association’s Air ...
 




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>