March 25 marks Medal of Honor Day – a day set aside to pay respects to service members who distinguished themselves through conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty.
Citations for Medal of Honor recipients describe feats of courage, strength, and resilience. Recipients overcame the paralysis of fear, and in some cases, they persevered in spite of wounds that would normally be so painful as to be disabling. Some of these heroes willingly gave their lives for the sake of their buddies.
While it is worth setting aside a day to remember the extraordinary service and sacrifice symbolized by the Medal of Honor, it is even more important share that legacy with current and future generations.
|Bernard J.D. Irwin|
2. Originally, the Medal of Honor was only awarded to enlisted service members. On March 3, 1863, this was extended to include officers as well.
3. There are three versions of the Medal of Honor: U.S. Army, U.S. Navy and U.S. Air Force. Members of the U.S. Marines Corps and U.S. Coast Guard are eligible to receive the Navy version. Each of the armed services maintains their own regulations governing the award.
|Dr. Mary E. Walker|
5. The Medal of Honor recommendation process can take in excess of 18 months with intense scrutiny every step of the way because of the need for accuracy. The following organizations and individuals play key roles in the Army Medal of Honor recommendation process: the Soldier’s Chain of Command, a Member of Congress, Department of the Army Personnel Command, Manpower and Reserve Affairs, Chief of Staff of the Army, Secretary of the Army, Secretary of Defense and the President. To see a visual depiction of the process, visit http://www.army.mil/medalofhonor/steps.html
|Staff Sgt. Clinton Romesha and son|
7. Medal of Honor recipients have uniform privileges, which allow them to wear their uniforms at any time or place they choose, unlike other military personnel or retirees.
8. Although not required by law or military regulation, service members are encouraged to salute Medal of Honor recipients as a gesture of respect and courtesy regardless of rank or status and, if the recipients are wearing the medal, whether or not they are in uniform. This is the only instance where a Soldier will receive a salute from members of a higher rank.