President Obama applauds, from left, Staff Sgt. Melvin Morris, Sgt. 1st Class Jose Rodela, and Spc. Santiago J. Erevia after he awarded them with the Medal of Honor during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House, March 18
24 heroes, 21 deceased, denied recognition by their nation because of racism. Today, Pres. Obama righted the wrong. pic.twitter.com/oZVmH22zHk
President Obama hugs Laurie Wegner who accepted the Medal of Honor on behalf of her uncle, Private First Class Leonard M. Kravitz
President Obama presents Nancy Weinstein with a Medal of Honor for her late husband Army Sergeant Jack Weinstein
President Obama comforts Lenora Alvarado as he awards a Medal of Honor to her late father Army Specialist Four Leonard Alvarado
President Obama presents Dominga Perez with a Medal of Honor for her late father Army Private Pedro Cano
U.S. Army Staff Sgt. (Ret.) Melvin Morris is saluted by U.S. Army Staff Sergeant Christopher Schneider, from U.S. Army Old Guard, 3d U.S. Infantry Regiment, after a ceremony presenting Morris with the Medal of Honor in the White House
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.
Obama apologized to Melvin that racism stopped him from getting the medal 44 years ago. Melvin dropped to his knees. pic.twitter.com/EdlJit9kDM
Specialist Four Santiago J. Erevia: For his courageous actions while serving as radio telephone operator in Company C, 1st Battalion (Airmobile), 501st Infantry, 101st Airborne Division (Airmobile) during search and clear mission near Tam Ky, Republic of Vietnam.
Staff Sergeant Melvin Morris: For his courageous actions while serving as Commander of a Strike Force drawn from Company D, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces, during combat operations against an armed enemy in the vicinity of Chi Lang, Republic of Vietnam on September 17, 1969.
Sergeant First Class Jose Rodela: For his courageous actions while serving as the company commander, Detachment B-36, Company A, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces during combat operations against an armed enemy in Phuoc Long Province, Republic of Vietnam on September 1, 1969.
The President will posthumously award the Medal of Honor to:
Sergeant Candelario Garcia: For his courageous actions while serving as an acting Team Leader for Company B, 1st Battalion, 2d Infantry, 1st Brigade,1st Infantry Division during combat operations against an armed enemy in Lai Khe, Republic of Vietnam on December 8, 1968.
Specialist Four Leonard L. Alvarado: For his courageous actions while serving as a Rifleman with Company D, 2d Battalion, 12th Cavalry, 1st Cavalry Division (Airmobile) during combat operations against an armed enemy in Phuoc Long Province, Republic of Vietnam on August 12, 1969.
Staff Sergeant Felix M. Conde-Falcon: For his courageous actions while serving as an acting Platoon Leader in Company D, 1st Battalion, 505th Infantry Regiment, 3d Brigade, 82d Airborne Division during combat operations against an armed enemy in Ap Tan Hoa, Republic of Vietnam on April 4, 1969.
GETTYSBURG, PA.The autograph hounds waiting expectantly in a hotel lobby weren’t drawn by actors, musicians or politicians, but by a few dozen men whose rare and distinguished achievements have earned them the nation’s highest military honor.
Nearly half of the 79 living recipients of Medal of Honor are attending the gathering in Gettysburg, where some of its first recipients fought 150 years ago.
The Medal of Honor Society annual convention gives the public an opportunity to collect the signatures of the men who have been honored by Congress for risking their lives beyond the call of duty in combat, and dozens of people waited Thursday for them to return from a luncheon at a nearby farm once owned by President Dwight Eisenhower.
Dave Loether, 62, a computer analyst from Pittsburgh, was hoping to add to the 55 signatures of Medal of Honor recipients he has collected on a U.S. Army flag. Loether knows many of their faces by sight — and their stories by heart.
“It’s a piece of cloth with some ink on it — it’s worthless,” Loether said. “On the other hand, it’s priceless.”
The men who hold the highest honor of valor in the land – the recipients of the Medal of Honor – are not known for easily capitulating, but on Thursday they gave in to the demands of their stature to grant admirers a piece of themselves for posterity – their autographs.
Mary Edwards Walker, a Union Army surgeon in the Civil War, the only woman to receive the medal, died in 1919.
Approximately 48 recipients of the Medal of Honor made themselves available to appease the yearning of fans for autographs, handshakes and photos at the second day of the weeklong Congressional Medal of Honor Society’s convention in Gettysburg.