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11/20/2019 5:07:11 PM
Posted: 8/2/2009 3:50:40 AM EST
http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2009/08/01/say-pentagon-awarding-medals-honor-iraq-afghan-valor/?test=latestnews

Eight years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq. About 4,000 members of the U.S. military killed in action. More than 34,000 wounded. Just six considered worthy of America's highest military award for battlefield valor.

For some veterans and members of Congress, that last number doesn't add up.

They question how so few Medals of Honor –– all awarded posthumously –– could be bestowed for wars of such magnitude and duration.

Pentagon officials say the nature of war has changed. Laser-guided missiles destroy enemy positions without putting soldiers in harm's way. Insurgents deploy roadside bombs rather than engage in firefights they're certain to lose.

Those explanations don't tell the whole story, said Rep. Duncan Hunter, a first-term lawmaker who served combat tours as a Marine in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has sponsored legislation that directs the defense secretary to review current trends in awarding the Medal of Honor to determine what's behind the low count.

The bill passed the House. If Senate negotiators go along, Secretary Robert Gates would have to report back by March 31.

"It seems like our collective standard for who gets the Medal of Honor has been raised," said Hunter, R-Calif.

"The basis of warfare is you've got to take ground and then you've got to hold it. That takes people walking into houses, running up hills, killing bad guys and then staying there and rebuffing counterattacks," he said. "That's how warfare has always been no matter how many bombs you drop and how many predators you have flying around."

Military officials said they welcome the opportunity to conduct an in-depth review of the award process. Still, they dispute Hunter's theory.

"Nominations go through no more or less scrutiny than in the past," said Eileen Lainez, a Pentagon spokeswoman. "The standard for the Medal of Honor is high, as one would expect for our nation's most prestigious military decoration."

AMVETS, a veterans' advocacy group, said it supports Hunter's efforts. It held a banquet for Medal of Honors in January, and the low number of medals was a big topic of discussion, said Jay Agg, the group's communications director.

The Medal of Honor has been awarded 3,467 times since the Civil War. Almost half –– 1,522 –– were awarded in that conflict alone. The next highest tally came from World War II –– 464. In the Vietnam War, 244 were awarded.

To earn the medal, at least two eyewitnesses have to view a deed so outstanding that it clearly distinguishes gallantry above and beyond the call of duty. No margin of doubt is allowed. Nominations make their way through military channels until eventually they're approved at the highest levels of the Pentagon and then by the president.

Drew Dix, 64, of Mimbres, N.M., received the medal for actions taken during the Tet Offensive in Vietnam when he risked his life during a 56-hour battle to rescue civilians. He said he didn't feel comfortable judging the current Medal of Honor process.

"We've trusted the military to fight this war," Dix said. "We've got to trust the military in all aspects of it, including the awarding of medals."

Jack Jacobs, 64, received the award for actions taken in Vietnam to rescue wounded soldiers. He said the Pentagon's explanation for the low Medal of Honor count is logical, but he would not rule out other factors because of the subjective nature of the award.

"I'm not a fan of single factor analysis," Jacobs said. "There are lots of reasons why things occur and that is only one of them. Human attitudes also play a great role."

Jacobs, a military analysis at MSNBC, predicted the war in Afghanistan will involve more of the kind of close combat that leads to Medal of Honors being awarded.

It's unclear exactly how many soldiers have been nominated for the award from the two wars.

Seven have made it all the way to the defense secretary, and six were approved. The exception is Sgt. Rafael Peralta of San Diego. Hunter said the Peralta case shows that a higher standard is being used for the medal than in previous wars.

Peralta died on Nov. 15, 2004, during fighting in Fallujah, Iraq. The military's investigation showed he was probably hit by friendly fire from a member of his unit as they engaged insurgents inside a house.

Witnesses said Peralta, a Mexican immigrant who became a U.S. citizen while in the Marines, fell to the ground face first after being shot in the crossfire. A fleeing insurgent threw a hand grenade into the room, which bounced off a couch and landed near Peralta's head.

"Sgt. Peralta grabbed the grenade and pulled it underneath him while we took cover," said an unidentified soldier whose name is blacked out as part of the investigative file the military released publicly.

Peralta's nomination was sent back for further investigation after a preliminary autopsy report stated the head wound would have been immediately incapacitating and "he could not have executed any meaningful motions."

In the end, Lt. General Richard F. Natonski, stuck with his recommendation: "I believe Sergeant Peralta made a conscious, heroic decision to cover the grenade and minimize the effects he knew it would have on the rest of his Marine team."

Gates assemble an independent panel to review the nomination –– something he did not do in the other six cases sent his way. The reviewers included a former commanding general, a Medal of Honor recipient, a neurosurgeon and two pathologists.

"The reviewers each individually concluded that the evidence did not meet the exacting 'no doubt' standard necessary to support award of the MOH," Gates said in a letter to Hunter.

Robert Reynolds, a lance corporal at the time, was about three feet to five feet behind Peralta when the grenade exploded. He has no doubt that Peralta purposefully attempted to place the grenade underneath himself to save others.

"It wasn't just something he barely did. He physically reached out and pulled it into his body," said Reynolds, 31, and now a corrections office and father of two daughters in Ritzville, Wash.

In the end, Peralta received the Navy Cross, the branch's second highest honor. Several California lawmakers have petitioned President Barack Obama to order a review of Peralta's case. AMVETS said all recipients of the second-highest honor for bravery for their branch of the military should have their case reviewed to determine if their actions merit the Medal of Honor
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 3:55:00 AM EST
In other news water is wet.

Getting Valor awards approved is a byzantine process that is in part a mystery combined with the feeling that some in the approval chain act as if they would have to take the award off their own chest.
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 4:04:55 AM EST
If you look at the statistics it does seem that way.

http://www.history.army.mil/html/moh/mohstats.html
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 4:57:41 AM EST
The Medal of Honor has been awarded 3,467 times since the Civil War. Almost half –– 1,522 –– were awarded in that conflict alone


If I remember the story correctly the government once gave everybody in a unit the MOH because they extended their service by a few months.

"During the Civil War, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton promised a Medal of Honor to every man in the 27th Regiment, Maine Infantry who extended his enlistment beyond the agreed upon date. Many stayed four days extra, and then were discharged. Due to confusion, Stanton awarded a Medal of Honor to all 864 men in the regiment.[22]"

I don't hink Civil War MOHs have the same level as today's MOHs.

Link Posted: 8/2/2009 5:42:12 AM EST
Originally Posted By sms5183:
In other news water is wet.

Getting Valor awards approved is a byzantine process that is in part a mystery combined with the feeling that some in the approval chain act as if they would have to take the award off their own chest.


True. Teddy Roosevelt was awared the MOH.

In 2001.
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 5:47:11 AM EST
Originally Posted By Flash66:
The Medal of Honor has been awarded 3,467 times since the Civil War. Almost half –– 1,522 –– were awarded in that conflict alone


If I remember the story correctly the government once gave everybody in a unit the MOH because they extended their service by a few months.

"During the Civil War, Secretary of War Edwin M. Stanton promised a Medal of Honor to every man in the 27th Regiment, Maine Infantry who extended his enlistment beyond the agreed upon date. Many stayed four days extra, and then were discharged. Due to confusion, Stanton awarded a Medal of Honor to all 864 men in the regiment.[22]"

I don't hink Civil War MOHs have the same level as today's MOHs.



Not to diminish any veteran of any era's sacrifice, but the MOH was pretty much the only award for a long time. From reading a bunch of the citations, there were more than a few MOH's awarded during the Civil War that would barely rate an Army Commendation Medal these days.
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 6:05:46 AM EST
I would also like to see some people nominated who are still alive to wear the medal.
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 6:11:45 AM EST
Originally Posted By max229:
I would also like to see some people nominated who are still alive to wear the medal.


No kidding! There have been plenty of stories of valor where the recipients got their respective service cross instead of the MOH, when you could certainly have argued in favor of the higher award. It seems like the criteria for every award except bronze stars have been raised to unrealistic levels when compared to Vietnam or especially to WWII.
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 6:38:29 AM EST
I don't know, the level of warfare in recent past has changed as well. No longer do you have cases of soldiers charging into the teeth of machinegun platoons or manning that one bazooka against the oncoming panzerkompanie. These days the opposition tends to be of a much less capable nature. The lower scale of conflict would seem to me to result in a lower scale of awards.

NTM
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 6:43:03 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/2/2009 6:46:17 AM EST by Aimless]
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 6:45:13 AM EST

Originally Posted By Aimless:
When was the last time someone got the MOH without being killed?

I'm not sure, but I think it was during Vietnam.
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 6:48:14 AM EST
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 6:49:24 AM EST
If I remember, Tom Custer, brother of George Armstrong Custer, received the MOH.....twice.
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 6:50:41 AM EST
Getting Valor awards approved is a byzantine process that is in part a mystery combined with the feeling that some in the approval chain act as if they would have to take the award off their own chest.


+1

On my second deployment, we were told not to even both submitting an award for valor unless it had an "O-6 witness statement". Not a recommendation- a "witness statement". Um, kinda hard to do when deployed as an independent battalion and the highest officer within 200km is an O-5.
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 6:56:15 AM EST
Originally Posted By Manic_Moran:
I don't know, the level of warfare in recent past has changed as well. No longer do you have cases of soldiers charging into the teeth of machinegun platoons or manning that one bazooka against the oncoming panzerkompanie. These days the opposition tends to be of a much less capable nature. The lower scale of conflict would seem to me to result in a lower scale of awards.

NTM


I've heard no shortage of stories of selfless behavior and uncommon valour in the past few years. I think the lack of official honors is due in part to two things. One is the increased politicization in the Pentagon and the liberals that have them by the throat. Congress doesn't want to reward our service people for heroism in a war they all claim to oppose. The other is the high level of disdain that the liberal elites in the news media have for the Armed Forces. Though I'm sure if the Mainstream Media did start picking up on the stories behind potential Service Medal and MOH recipients, they'd do hit pieces to "investigate whether war crimes were committed during the heroic act in question".
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 6:58:42 AM EST

Originally Posted By Aimless:
When was the last time someone got the MOH without being killed?

Looks like no one in Iraq or Afghanistan received it while living. http://www.history.army.mil/moh.html

From what I've read, those who have received the medal of honor generally got it by doing something that damn well should have killed them. Some just got lucky.

What I've heard of this Sgt. Peralta, though, he should have got it.

However, with an award as prestigious as the MoH, I guess I'd prefer it be awarded too rarely than too often. Can't expect the .gov to get it 100% right, anyway.
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 7:09:30 AM EST
I sure wouldn't want to be the one who decides when to award a MOH.

Award too many and it loses it's meaning.

Award too few any you're a heartless SOB who doesn't recognize the sacrifices of our service members.

Link Posted: 8/2/2009 7:15:12 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/2/2009 7:21:28 AM EST by Dave_A]
The actions that would get troops a MOH in Vietnam are now a SS or BSV event...

For example, one of the 2LTs at LZ Xray was given a MOH for singlehandedly charging an enemy MG position to attack it with grenades.

He was injured, but survived...

As of now, he would not get the MOH simply because he was still alive afterward....

There have GOT to be some more folks like that, or like Crandall (granted, his was awarded a long, long time AFTER the war), who did something 'with no regard to their own life' that had a critical impact on the battle they were fighting in... From this war...

P.S. This isn't JUST the MOH... There are 'issues' with awards in general, not limited to the mentality that certain ranks don't 'deserve' certain awards....

Link Posted: 8/2/2009 7:22:19 AM EST

Originally Posted By Dave_A:
The actions that would get troops a MOH in Vietnam are now a SS or BSV event...

For example, one of the 2LTs at LZ Xray was given a MOH for singlehandedly charging an enemy MG position to attack it with grenades.

He was injured, but survived...

As of now, he would not get the MOH simply because he was still alive afterwords....

There have GOT to be some more folks like that, or like Crandall (granted, his was awarded a long, long time AFTER the war), who did something 'with no regard to their own life' that had a critical impact on the battle they were fighting in... From this war...

And that (in my opinion) is no good. People should get the medal for their actions, not based on whether they lived or died.
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 9:41:27 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/2/2009 12:39:08 PM EST by Flash66]
It seems like almost the only way to get a MOH nowadays is to jump on a grenade. I am not minimizing that as a heroic act but I can't believe there were dozens of soldiers in the first few years of Iraq and A-Stain that didn't do at least a heroic act as some of the MOH awardees in WWII, Korea and Vietnam.

If Lincoln can give the Medal of Honor to everyone in a regiment for reenlisting at least we should give it to every member of the Armored Cav unit that was engaged in Thunder Alley, shouldn’t we?


Link Posted: 8/2/2009 9:51:11 AM EST

Originally Posted By Flash66:
It seems like almost the only way to get a MOH nowadays is to jump on a grenade. I am not minimizing that as a heroic act but I can't believe there were dozens of soldiers in the first few years of Iraq and A-Stain that didn't do at least a heroic act as some of the MOH awardees in WWII, Korea and Vietnam.

If Lincoln can give the Medal of Army to everyone in a regiment for reenlisting at least we should give it to every member of the Armored Cav unit that was engaged in Thunder Alley, shouldn’t we?



I don't know about that...

But there have been a few battles that would likely have produced at least one MOH citation for a surviving hero... That did not...

Such as the fight in A-stan a few months back, where a platoon-sized element defended their OP against a BN sized element of Taliban...

From all accounts, the battle was a shrunken version of LZ-X (Instead of 1 BN vs 3 REGT, you had a platoon vs companies), getting to contact-range before the US element defeated their attackers with something like 4 US KIA to 200 enemy KIA...

I think they issued a few Silver Stars for that one...

The MOH is slightly diminished, when the people who receive it aren't alive to serve as role models for the future... It should not be treated solely as a consolation prize for grieving families....

Link Posted: 8/2/2009 10:06:10 AM EST
Originally Posted By Manic_Moran:
I don't know, the level of warfare in recent past has changed as well. No longer do you have cases of soldiers charging into the teeth of machinegun platoons or manning that one bazooka against the oncoming panzerkompanie. These days the opposition tends to be of a much less capable nature. The lower scale of conflict would seem to me to result in a lower scale of awards.

NTM


Another factor to consider is that today, many in leadership positions are risk averse and wont let their people go into a known dangerous situation. Many are more concerned with the statistics surrounding their careers than they are in putting the mission first.
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 10:12:24 AM EST
The only certain ranks deserve a bronze star for a tour was bull shit. Either you did enough to warrant the award or you didn't. Tell you what, it was hard to stomach watching our Maintenance NCO receiving one, while my soldiers and myself (many with PH, blown up multiple and everyone one of them spent more time outside of the wire then it) received ARCOMs for the 3-4 time.
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 10:22:55 AM EST
I was sitting at work last night with 4 prior .mils and we were talking about this exact same subject. It seemed like each of us could think of an example that sounded (not to diminish MOH recipients) more 'above and beyond' than some other citations that we had read.




ETA: Stop the presses, for the first time Dave_A and I agree on something!
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 10:25:28 AM EST
Originally Posted By Dave_A:


P.S. This isn't JUST the MOH... There are 'issues' with awards in general, not limited to the mentality that certain ranks don't 'deserve' certain awards....



Very true, the awards process is broken IMHO, I'm coming to the end of my first deployment and seeing for the first time how truly fucked up it really is. I entered the army with the evidently Naive belief that those who did exceptional things would be given awards based on there actions and accomplishments, and that rank would play no factor in this. How Naieve a belief that was.

It is sickening to me, to see "quota"s unofficially set for certain medals, being told that certain ranks won't be given certain awards etc... from the lowest PFC to the most senior ranking GO, it shouldn't matter, awards should not be based on rank, but rather on actions. My only consolation is that someday, the lord willing when I am of sufficent rank to influence this process that I can and will see that it is changed, if only in the small sphere that the army allows me to command.

This broken system is not one unit or even a couple of units, its army wide, some units are worse than others, but there are certain awards that are considered must have's for promotion, certain awards that are not awarded to certain ranks etc.. A truly sad state of affairs
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 10:33:30 AM EST
Originally Posted By Aimless:

Originally Posted By max229:

Originally Posted By Aimless:
When was the last time someone got the MOH without being killed?

I'm not sure, but I think it was during Vietnam.

Yup, click the link, bunch of guys got it in Vietnam. There is an astericks next to those who were killed.



Two Marines

Major Chontosh and Sgt Brad Kasal would be two living candidates who should be strongly considered.
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 11:17:13 AM EST
Originally Posted By POW-MIAneverforget:
Originally Posted By Dave_A:


P.S. This isn't JUST the MOH... There are 'issues' with awards in general, not limited to the mentality that certain ranks don't 'deserve' certain awards....



Very true, the awards process is broken IMHO, I'm coming to the end of my first deployment and seeing for the first time how truly fucked up it really is. I entered the army with the evidently Naive belief that those who did exceptional things would be given awards based on there actions and accomplishments, and that rank would play no factor in this. How Naieve a belief that was.

It is sickening to me, to see "quota"s unofficially set for certain medals, being told that certain ranks won't be given certain awards etc... from the lowest PFC to the most senior ranking GO, it shouldn't matter, awards should not be based on rank, but rather on actions. My only consolation is that someday, the lord willing when I am of sufficent rank to influence this process that I can and will see that it is changed, if only in the small sphere that the army allows me to command.

This broken system is not one unit or even a couple of units, its army wide, some units are worse than others, but there are certain awards that are considered must have's for promotion, certain awards that are not awarded to certain ranks etc.. A truly sad state of affairs



You guys hit the nail on the head. I saw my first medal "Quotas" at the end of Desert Storm.
Regulations have always stated awards are not to be based on rank. We know better.
I used to have the CENTCOM award/medal guide handy (2004 Version) , it was insane.
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 11:21:20 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/2/2009 11:25:12 AM EST by ArmyInfantryVet]

Originally Posted By sms5183:
In other news water is wet.

Getting Valor awards approved is a byzantine process that is in part a mystery combined with the feeling that some in the approval chain act as if they would have to take the award off their own chest.

+1

Some of those guys don't seem to want to give those medals to a private or low ranking sergeant because "if I can't have one, no one will" mentality by some of those stupid officers. Or jealousy.

Dave_a put it well...

I know of at least a few pieces of shit that got silver stars with "V" devices that didn't do shit to deserve it and other guys like privates and low ranking NCOs deserve it very much but never got it.
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 11:24:45 AM EST
What's the name of the kid who lied about his age to get into the military and then won a MOH?
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 11:39:06 AM EST
[Last Edit: 8/2/2009 11:54:33 AM EST by Moose]
Jack Lucas.

The vast majority of the noncombat Civil.War awards were revoked. Even though many of the remaining ones seem a bit trivial..."Captured a flag"...you need to remember the MoH was the ONLY award for Valor at the time.

Posted Via AR15.Com Mobile
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 11:44:56 AM EST
In no way am I calling into any question the valor of those who have or have not received the honor of the award.

That being understood, let's not have a quota for the Congressional Medal of Honor.
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 12:37:07 PM EST
Originally Posted By TAP:
Getting Valor awards approved is a byzantine process that is in part a mystery combined with the feeling that some in the approval chain act as if they would have to take the award off their own chest.


+1

On my second deployment, we were told not to even both submitting an award for valor unless it had an "O-6 witness statement". Not a recommendation- a "witness statement". Um, kinda hard to do when deployed as an independent battalion and the highest officer within 200km is an O-5.


At the same time the lower medals seem to be getting awarded much more often.

The Air Force seems to be one of the worst offenders of "medal inflation", according to other reports I have read.
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 12:44:52 PM EST

Originally Posted By arbob:
Originally Posted By Aimless:

Originally Posted By max229:

Originally Posted By Aimless:
When was the last time someone got the MOH without being killed?

I'm not sure, but I think it was during Vietnam.

Yup, click the link, bunch of guys got it in Vietnam. There is an astericks next to those who were killed.



Two Marines

Major Chontosh and Sgt Brad Kasal would be two living candidates who should be strongly considered.

Lutrell
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 12:51:40 PM EST

Originally Posted By Cypher15:

Originally Posted By arbob:
Originally Posted By Aimless:

Originally Posted By max229:

Originally Posted By Aimless:
When was the last time someone got the MOH without being killed?

I'm not sure, but I think it was during Vietnam.

Yup, click the link, bunch of guys got it in Vietnam. There is an astericks next to those who were killed.



Two Marines

Major Chontosh and Sgt Brad Kasal would be two living candidates who should be strongly considered.

Lutrell


LT Mike Murphy recieved the MoH for his actions there.
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 2:17:35 PM EST

Originally Posted By AgentDavis:
What's the name of the kid who lied about his age to get into the military and then won a MOH?

Audie Murphy (in WWII) was one example of this that I can think of.
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 2:27:23 PM EST
[Last Edit: 8/2/2009 2:29:10 PM EST by Moose]
Originally Posted By max229:

Originally Posted By AgentDavis:
What's the name of the kid who lied about his age to get into the military and then won a MOH?

Audie Murphy (in WWII) was one example of this that I can think of.


IIRC, he didn't lie about his age but did have to get his guardian's (sister) permission to join up.

ETA: according to wikipedia, he got his sis to lie about his age and joined up at age 16.
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 2:32:22 PM EST
Read any book on action in WWII (or any war). You'll find many servicemen that didn't get what they earned. Stuff happens. Of course none of them did what they did to get a medal/award. They did it because somebody needed to do it right then.
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 2:44:41 PM EST
Originally Posted By arbob:
Originally Posted By Aimless:

Originally Posted By max229:

Originally Posted By Aimless:
When was the last time someone got the MOH without being killed?

I'm not sure, but I think it was during Vietnam.

Yup, click the link, bunch of guys got it in Vietnam. There is an astericks next to those who were killed.



Two Marines

Major Chontosh and Sgt Brad Kasal would be two living candidates who should be strongly considered.


That is Sgt Major Brad Kasal.

Link Posted: 8/2/2009 2:51:40 PM EST
1LT Nick Eslinger. Jumped on a grenade. It failed to detonate so he threw it back over the wall from where it came. It detonated, killing the insurgent. IMO jumping on a grenade earns you the Medal, not getting blown up.
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 3:10:43 PM EST
I tend to agree with Hunter. While the MOH isn't and shouldn't ever be an award given out in wholesale fashion, I am convinced that there have been more acts of valor above and beyond in this GWOT than has been recognized with the MOH. There have been some very deserving individuals out there who instead received a DSC or SS instead. It isn't right that we today hold a much higher standard for who gets that award than we did during WWII, Korea or Vietnam. In fact, it is bullshit to do so.
Link Posted: 8/2/2009 3:25:10 PM EST
Originally Posted By FivespeedF150:

Originally Posted By Cypher15:

Originally Posted By arbob:
Originally Posted By Aimless:

Originally Posted By max229:

Originally Posted By Aimless:
When was the last time someone got the MOH without being killed?

I'm not sure, but I think it was during Vietnam.

Yup, click the link, bunch of guys got it in Vietnam. There is an astericks next to those who were killed.



Two Marines

Major Chontosh and Sgt Brad Kasal would be two living candidates who should be strongly considered.

Lutrell


LT Mike Murphy recieved the MoH for his actions there.


I think all four SEALS deserved the MOH after reading about that engagement, not just the LT. NOT taking anything away from anyone, but they all fought like heroes from what I can tell.
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