11 September 2001

We Will Not Forget 


 

Medal of Honor

 

What is the Medal of Honor?

The Medal of Honor is awarded by the President in the name of Congress to a person who, while a member of the military, distinguishes himself or herself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life or her life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States; while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or while serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.

The deed performed must have been one of personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual above his comrades and must have involved risk of life. Incontestable proof of the performance of the service will be exacted and each recommendation for the award of this decoration will be considered on the standard of extraordinary merit.

Extracted from: Chapter 3-6, Army Regulation 600-8-22 (Military Awards) dated 25 February 1995.

 

Go Here for a concise and informative report on the history and issues of the Medal of Honor.

 


A Brief History of the Medal of Honor

The first formal system for rewarding acts of individual gallantry by the nation's fighting men was established by General George Washington on August 7, 1782. Designed to recognize "any singularly meritorious action," the award consisted of a purple cloth heart. Records show that only three persons received the award: Sergeant Elijah Churchill, Sergeant William Brown, and Sergeant Daniel Bissel Jr.

The Badge of Military Merit, as it was called, fell into oblivion until 1932, when General Douglas MacArthur, then Army Chief of Staff, pressed for its revival. Officially reinstituted on February 22, 1932, the now familiar Purple Heart was at first an Army award, given to those who had been wounded in World War I or who possessed a Meritorious Service Citation Certificate. In 1943, the order was amended to include personnel of the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. Coverage was eventually extended to include all services and "any civilian national" wounded while serving with the Armed Forces.

Although the Badge of Military Merit fell into disuse after the Revolutionary War, the idea of a decoration for individual gallantry remained through the early 1800s. In 1847, after the outbreak of the Mexican-American War, a "certificate of merit" was established for any soldier who distinguished himself in action. No medal went with the honor. After the Mexican-American War, the award was discontinued, which meant there was no military award with which to recognize the nation's fighting men.

Early in the Civil War, a medal for individual valor was proposed to General-in-Chief of the Army Winfield Scott. But Scott felt medals smacked of European affectation and killed the idea.

The medal found support in the Navy, however, where it was felt recognition of courage in strife was needed. Public Resolution 82, containing a provision for a Navy medal of valor, was signed into law by President Abraham Lincoln on December 21, 1861. The medal was "to be bestowed upon such petty officers, seamen, landsmen, and Marines as shall most distinguish themselves by their gallantry and other seamanlike qualities during the present war."

Shortly after this, a resolution similar in wording was introduced on behalf of the Army. Signed into law July 12, 1862, the measure provided for awarding a medal of honor "to such noncommissioned officers and privates as shall most distinguish themselves by their gallantry in action, and other soldierlike qualities, during the present insurrection."

Although it was created for the Civil War, Congress made the Medal of Honor a permanent decoration in 1863.

Over 3,400 men and one woman have received the award since that time.

 

Go Here to read the citation for Dr. Mary E. Walker, the only woman to receive the Medal of Honor.

 

 

As of 16 July 2001, there are 149 living Medal of Honor recipients, 68 of whom served in Vietnam. Go Here to view the names, and community of residence, for the living Medal of Honor recipients.

Additional Information about the Medal of Honor

 

Medal of Honor in Vietnam

Medallic Publishing Company, P.O. Box 2211, Norton Heights, CT 06820

The Congressional Medal of Honor

Sharp and Dunnigan Publications, Box 600, Forest Ranch, CA 95942

America's Medal of Honor Recipients

Highland Publishers, 5226 Green Farms Road, MN 55436

Heroes of Our Time: 239 Men of the Vietnam War Awarded the Medal of Honor 1964-1972

Schiffer Military History, Atglen, PA 19310

The Congressional Medal of Honor Society

40 Patriots Point Rd, Mt Pleasant SC 29464

Contact Michael A. Lindquist at voice (843) 884-8862 or fax (843) 884-1471, for additional information about the society or recipients of the medal. Their e-mail address is: medal@awod.com, and their web page is here.

The War in Vietnam: A Multimedia Chronicle from CBS News & The New York Times. CD-Rom format: Macintosh/Windows

Macmillian Digital USA


Why am I posting these awards?

I am posting these awards without a political or social agenda. Simply stated, I want the Medal of Honor citations disseminated as widely as possible so that the public may read these gripping accounts of American servicemen in combat during the Vietnam War.

Who am I?

My name is Neil Mishalov. I was drafted into the U.S. Army on 6 September 1967, and was discharged from active service on 12 April 1969. I never served in Vietnam. I was inducted into the Army at Fort Hamilton, New York. I received basic training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and advanced training at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama. On 23 January 1968, while I was stationed at Redstone Arsenal, the North Koreans captured the U.S. Navy intelligence ship USS Pueblo (AGER-2) which was gathering intelligence data near Wonsan, on the east coast of North Korea.

Perhaps that's why, shortly thereafter, I was sent to South Korea. I spent 13 months in South Korea as a member of the 8th Army. I was with the 83rd Ordnance Battalion, and served in the 7th Ordnance Company (Special Ammo). During my tour of duty in South Korea I was stationed approximately 20 miles south of Seoul in a small military compound adjacent to the village of Suk-Su Dong, which is located in An-Yang Ni province. Because I served a "hardship tour of duty," I was discharged after 19 months of active service. I received my honorable discharge at Fort Lewis, Washington. I now reside in Berkeley, California.


Go to: The Medal of Honor Citations

Go to: History of the Purple Heart

Go to: Two Stories About Bicycle Riding in Vietnam

Go to: Oregon Multi Day Bicycle Ride Report

Go to: San Diego Multi Day Bicycle Ride Report

Go to: Home Page

 

neil@mishalov.com

© 2002 by Neil Mishalov, all rights reserved.



In Association with Amazon.com