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Conspicuously by Gallantry and Intrepidity
February 23, 2014 2:46 AM   Subscribe

Obama to award Medal of Honor to 24 after discrimination review. WASHINGTON — President Obama will seek to right a historical wrong next month when he awards two dozen veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam — including 17 Latinos — the Medal of Honor after a lengthy Pentagon review into racial and ethnic discrimination in the awarding of the nation's commendation for combat valor.

Each of the individuals were recognized for their acts of valor, but awarded a lesser medal because of their color or religion.
A review by the Department of Defense has determined each of these men earned the Medal of Honor rather than the lesser medals they were originally awarded.

A photo gallery the honored from the Washington Post.

The White House Press Release.
posted by Pudhoho (28 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
It shouldn't have taken this long, but at least it's finally been made right.

A long overdue salute to these individuals, and my hope that the three surviving recipients and all of their families can set aside the hurt of the injustice long enough to experience a few moments of well deserved pride.
posted by HuronBob at 4:07 AM on February 23 [3 favorites]


Thanks, Obama!
posted by jaduncan at 4:12 AM on February 23 [4 favorites]


at least he is granting them a medal of Honor
posted by Webblogger at 4:21 AM on February 23 [1 favorite]


This is freaking awesome, not least in how mad it will make some dummies.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:10 AM on February 23 [2 favorites]



Thanks, Obama!


It was actually the 107th Congress (Republican) that deserved the thanks.
posted by srboisvert at 6:28 AM on February 23 [3 favorites]


It was actually the 107th Congress (Republican) that deserved the thanks.

On looking, you're right and thanks are indeed deserved. Thanks, Republican led Congress!
posted by jaduncan at 6:40 AM on February 23 [2 favorites]


Each of the individuals were recognized for their acts of valor, but awarded a lesser medal because of their color or religion.

Most of the soldiers (all Army, which is kind of odd) were the victims of racial or ethnic discrimination (17 Latino, one Jewish, one African-American), but the other five were just sort of random Distinguished Service Crosses that should have been Medals of Honor.
posted by Etrigan at 7:39 AM on February 23


Excellent.
posted by rmd1023 at 7:40 AM on February 23


My brain is wrinkling a bit that a post mentioning 24 and Medal of Honor is actually about positive developments in racial equality.
posted by Riki tiki at 8:02 AM on February 23 [5 favorites]


Yeah, I was coming in here to be all "What is Obama doing awarding Medals of Honor, that is not his responsibility!" But if it is in fact, Congress, doing its role, then I can think it's unqualifiedly awesome, and just be irritated that Obama seems to be seeking credit for it.

What is absolutely huge though is the induction of three living MOH recipients. That's a huge boost to the amount of those currently living with an MOH.
posted by corb at 8:47 AM on February 23


Note, though, that race integration had taken place in our military by 1950 under Truman, so that those excluded heroes were, it seems, the purposely selected victims even though the such race distinctions had legally changed.
posted by Postroad at 9:07 AM on February 23


corb: "Yeah, I was coming in here to be all "What is Obama doing awarding Medals of Honor, that is not his responsibility!" But if it is in fact, Congress, doing its role, then I can think it's unqualifiedly awesome, and just be irritated that Obama seems to be seeking credit for it. "

The Medal of Honor is awarded by the President in the name of Congress. Congress has input into the process, as they have input into all executive branch processes, but ultimately the decision is up to the executive branch. The 107th Congress deserves an enormous amount of credit for initiating the righting of this wrong, but by no means is Obama "seeking credit" -- he explicitly calls out the fact that Congress initiated the review in his press release.
posted by tonycpsu at 9:08 AM on February 23 [14 favorites]


just be irritated that Obama seems to be seeking credit for it.

Could you point me to where Obama is "seeking credit?"
posted by dirigibleman at 9:47 AM on February 23 [4 favorites]


This is a really big deal, and a fine thing. tonycpsu, thank you for clarifying; I'm so heartened to see the President and the Congress accomplishing something together that I am withholding all snark. 19 soldiers (sailors, airmen, marines) are receiving the honor that was denied them because of their racial or ethnic backgrounds. I'm not very Hoo-ahh about the military, this made me tear up.
posted by theora55 at 10:09 AM on February 23 [3 favorites]


Also, one of the recipients is none other than Lenny Kravitz's uncle.
posted by jonmc at 10:16 AM on February 23 [3 favorites]


Florida man shocked to learn of Medal of Honor

San Antonio Man Glad to Receive Medal of Honor

Medal of Honor recipient has Kansas City-area connections
posted by theora55 at 10:21 AM on February 23 [1 favorite]


just be irritated that Obama seems to be seeking credit for it.

If you're irritated with anyone, be irritated with the writer for opening the article with a slightly ambiguous sentence.
posted by scody at 10:25 AM on February 23


Florida man shocked to learn of Medal of Honor

This guy?
Florida Man Charged in Supermarket Sword Attack
Florida Man Says He Stole Military Humvee, Went on Joyride Because He Was Bored
Florida Man's Cure For Arachnophobia: Tattoo of Black Widow Spider on Face
Florida Man Found Snoring on Stranger’s Couch After Breaking in, Helping Himself to Beer
Florida Man Calls 911 to Check Status of Tax Return
Florida Man Accidentally Fires Gun While Leaving Restaurant Called “Shooters”
...
Thanks Obama.

Actually, this guy: "Staff Sergeant Morris distinguished himself while serving as commander of a strike force on a mission north and east of Chi Lang. Sister companies of his battalion had encountered an extensive enemy mine field and were subsequently engaged by a hostile force. By radio Sergeant Morris learned that a fellow team commander had been killed and had fallen near an enemy bunker. Immediately reorganizing the strike forces into an effective assault posture, he advanced them and then moved out with two men to recover the body. Observing the maneuver, the hostile force concentrated their fire and wounded both men accompanying Sergeant Morris. After he assisted the two back to the lines of the main force, he again charged into the hail of fire to approach the nearest enemy bunker, throwing grenades into it. As his men laid a base of suppressive fire, he neared the position of the team leader's body. When a machine gun emplacement directed its strafing fusillade at him, he annihilated the position with hand grenades and continued his assault, eliminating three additional bunkers. Driving the enemy from the entrenchment nearest the fallen team leader, he retrieved his comrade and started to his troop's position. As he neared the strike force he was wounded three times, but he struggled forward until he brought his fallen comrade to the friendly position."
posted by justsomebodythatyouusedtoknow at 11:25 AM on February 23 [3 favorites]


Voting for something like this in congress is pretty much a no-brainer - easy haymaking come campaign season. What would interest me is finding who specifically who on the hill originally thought that this was something that needed doing. Reporting on that would raise this story to something more than a press release.
posted by IndigoJones at 11:41 AM on February 23 [3 favorites]


This is freaking awesome, not least in how mad it will make some dummies.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 5:10 AM on February 23
[+] [!]


just be irritated that Obama seems to be seeking credit for it

Thanks, President Obama.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:18 PM on February 23 [3 favorites]


Yea, I'd love to hear more on how this came about.

Sadly, I think such a discussion just would end up tarnishing the fantastic outcome with GRAR from people willing to do anything to stop their political opponents from getting any credit.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:33 PM on February 23 [2 favorites]


Yea, I'd love to hear more on how this came about.

The people who knocked down the first domino were the family members of Corporal Freddie Stowers, whose Medal of Honor recommendation was lost* during World War I but found and approved in 1990/91. Since then, various parties have gone back and reviewed whether MoHs were unfairly not awarded to African-American and Asian-American service members, particularly in World War II; and now to Latino and Jewish service members.

* -- Opinions differ on whether Cpl. Stowers' award was lost or "lost," but the MO back then was to award a lesser decoration rather than disposing of an award recommendation entirely, so it was probably mostly administrative error with only a little racism.
posted by Etrigan at 3:29 PM on February 23 [4 favorites]


> It was actually the 107th Congress (Republican) that deserved the thanks.

ahem:

"January 3, 2001: Senate was evenly split, 50-50, between two parties. Democrat Al Gore was still Vice President giving the Democrats a slim majority for the 17 days between the January 3 swearing-in of the new Congress and the January 20 inauguration of Republican Vice President Dick Cheney.
January 20, 2001: George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were sworn-in as President of the United States and Vice President of the United States, respectively, giving the Republicans a narrow majority in the Senate with Cheney's tie-breaking power.
June 6, 2001: Senator Jim Jeffords, previously a Republican, declared himself an independent and announced he would join the Democratic caucus, giving Democrats control in the Senate with a one-seat advantage. Democrat Tom Daschle became Senate Majority Leader.
"

Republicans retained the House for the duration of the 107th Congress.

So, more accurately at the time of the 2002 review: 107th Congress (Divided Majority).

Now, whether the Pentagon's review was ordered by one side or the other or as a joint resolution... who cares? People you don't like will sometimes do things you approve of. Stop trying to find heroes and villains in every fucking thing.
posted by ardgedee at 3:58 PM on February 23 [9 favorites]


About damn time.

Congratulations!
posted by BlueHorse at 6:14 PM on February 23


What do the Swift Boat Veterans for the Truth have to say about this?
posted by TedW at 7:45 PM on February 23


Something stupid. Let's not ask them.
posted by benito.strauss at 8:08 PM on February 23 [3 favorites]


Thank you, President Obama and Congress. Good job, well done.
posted by aryma at 9:42 PM on February 23


*sigh*

As above, quit trying to look for heroes and villains. I would add to that especially Congress, which has basically been playing "Me too!"ism since the early '90s on this issue. You want to thank someone, thank the Army (which has led the efforts to go back through records, some of which don't actually exist thanks to the NPRC fire of 1973) and Shaw University, which conducted the first large-scale search of World War II-era African-American soldiers whose award recommendations were unfairly downgraded.

Congress has basically just stood around and said, "Yeah, well, what about this other special interest group that we're now courting?" ever since, including the all-important vainglorious white Harvard-alumni scion voting bloc.
posted by Etrigan at 4:30 AM on February 24


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