Medal of Honor Awarded to 24 Soldiers
President Barack Obama announced Friday that he will award the Medal of Honor to 24 Soldiers during a March 18 ceremony at the White House.
Seven awards will go to World War II veterans, nine to Korean War veterans, and eight to Vietnam War veterans. All awards are posthumous with the exception of three living Vietnam veterans.
The awards come as a result of a 12-year Pentagon review ordered by Congress into discrimination in the military in regards to recognition for acts of valor. The list is composed primarily of Hispanic, Jewish or African American soldiers.
This isn’t the first time minority members have been recognized after a review of their service revealed discrimination, but it is certainly the largest and most comprehensive review of discrimination of this type.
The unusual historical accounting began in 2002 when Congress, as part of the military spending bill, ordered the Pentagon to look into whether Jewish and Hispanic service members had been passed over unfairly for the nation’s highest military honor.
Defense Department officials said there was specific evidence to suggest such discrimination may have existed in the ranks, including instances in which Hispanic and Jewish soldiers apparently changed their names to hide their ethnicity. The congressional order spanned the period from December 1941 through September 2001.
The project was an enormous undertaking that sent military personnel officials searching for lost records and battlefield histories amid the complicated politics surrounding the military’s highest honor.
The Jewish soldiers identified in the list are:
- Private First Class Leonard M. Kravitz
- Staff Sergeant William F. Leonard
- Sergeant Alfred B. Nietzel
- First Lieutenant Donald K. Schwab
- Sergeant Jack Weinstein
You can see the full list of all 24 recipients here: www.army.mil
I’d also recommend the Washington Post article that provides a much deeper dive on the details of the review and the recipients.