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New museum to honor Medal of Honor recipients

The National Medal of Honor Museum will enshrine the stories of Medal of Honor recipients for future generations, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Army Gen. Mark A. Milley said.

At the museum’s groundbreaking ceremony March 25, 2022, in Arlington, Texas, Milley said the stories of selfless service deserve a permanent home.

According to the museum website, the facility is slated to open in late 2024.

Since 1861 when the Medal of Honor was established, 3,520 soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and Coast Guardsmen have been awarded the nation’s highest award for valor.

Their stories will now live in the Dallas area museum, Milley said. “Visitors will come to understand the meaning and price of freedom.”

Medal of Honor recipients are honored at the National Medal of Honor Museum’s groundbreaking ceremony in Arlington, Texas, March 25, 2022. (DOD screenshot)

The museum will also include an education center. Milley said he hoped that the recipients’ stories of valor will inspire the nation’s youth and motivate them to be their best.

The chairman provided some examples of those who received the medal.

Retired Army Maj. Gen. Pat Brady served as an ambulance helicopter pilot during the Vietnam War. He volunteered to rescue wounded men from a site in enemy-held territory that was reported to be heavily defended and blanketed by fog.

To reach the site, Brady descended through heavy fog and smoke while hovering slowly along a valley trail, turning his helicopter sideward to blow away the fog with the backwash from his rotor blades.

Despite the unchallenged, close-range enemy fire, he found the dangerously small site where he successfully landed and evacuated two badly wounded South Vietnamese soldiers.

He was then called to another area completely covered by dense fog where U.S. casualties lay only 50 meters from the enemy. Two aircraft had previously been shot down and others had made unsuccessful attempts to reach the site earlier in the day. With unmatched skill and extraordinary courage, Brady made four flights to this embattled landing zone and successfully rescued all the wounded.

On his third mission of the day, Brady once again landed at a site surrounded by the enemy. The friendly ground force, pinned down by enemy fire, had been unable to reach and secure the landing zone.

Although his aircraft had been badly damaged and his controls were partially shot away during his initial entry into the area, he returned minutes later and rescued the remaining injured. Shortly afterward, obtaining a replacement aircraft, Brady was requested to land in an enemy minefield where a platoon of U.S. soldiers were trapped. A mine detonated nearby, wounding two crew members and damaging his helicopter.

Despite this, he managed to fly six severely injured patients to medical aid.

Throughout that day, Brady used three helicopters to evacuate 51 seriously wounded men, many of whom would have perished without prompt medical treatment, according to his medal citation.

“That story is incredible, simply incredible. And so is that of every Medal of Honor recipient,” Milley said.

Their stories of heroism, service and valor must be shared, he added. And that’s exactly what the museum will do.

Milley also told stories of some of the 15 Medal of Honor recipients who attended the groundbreaking, as well as others not present.

“It’s those stories that will document our country’s bravery, that gives purpose to our entire military. It’s their heroism,” he said.

“Why did they do it? They did it for each other. They did it for their teammates, but they also did it for you and I and for a document called the Constitution, which is the North Star for all of us in uniform,” Milley said.

“Every single one of us in uniform is willing to die for that idea,” he said, referring to the Constitution and the freedoms it provides every American.

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