Washington Post: President Obama will correct a historical act of discrimination next month when he awards the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest commendation for combat valor, to 19 Hispanic, Jewish and African-American veterans overlooked previously because of their racial or ethnic backgrounds.
The unusual presentation will culminate a 12-year Pentagon review ordered by Congress into past discrimination in the ranks, and will hold a particular poignancy hosted by the nation’s first African-American president.
WH.gov: On March 18th, 2014, President Barack Obama will award 24 Army veterans the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry. These veterans will receive the Medal of Honor in recognition of their valor during major combat operations in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Each of these Soldiers’ bravery was previously recognized by award of the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second highest military award; that award will be upgraded to the Medal of Honor in recognition of their gallantry, intrepidity and heroism above and beyond the call of duty.
In 2002, Congress, through the Defense Authorization Act, called for a review of Jewish American and Hispanic American veteran war records from WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War, to ensure those deserving the Medal of Honor were not denied because of prejudice. During the review, records of several Soldiers of neither Jewish nor Hispanic descent were also found to display criteria worthy of the Medal of Honor. The 2002 Act was amended to allow these Soldiers to be honored with the upgrade – in addition to the Jewish and Hispanic American Soldiers.
The 24 recipients of the Medal of Honor follow below….
Master Sergeant Mike C. Pena will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his courageous actions while serving as a member of Company F, 5th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Cavalry Division during combat operations against an armed enemy in Waegwan, Korea, on September 4, 1950