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Recognizing our Medal of Honor Recipients

The Pacific War Memorial Association is proud to provide this Medal of Honor section to respectfully recognize those individuals who have distinguished themselves by achieving this most highly regarded decoration. Below your will find various pieces of information that attempt to describe the Medal of Honor, statistics about  this decoration, and information regarding the location of those individuals that have had a brick placed in the Pacific War Memorial Walk of Honor.

Walk of Honor, Medal of Honor Bricks

Cpl Hershel W. Williams            Brick Image        Location 3 - 2        Citation

Medal of Honor Defined

The Medal of Honor, established by joint resolution of Congress, 12 July 1862 (amended by Act of 9 July 1918 and Act of 25 July 1963) is awarded in the name of Congress to a person who, while a member of the Armed Services, distinguishes himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against any 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 service is exacted and each recommendation for award of this decoration is considered on the standard of extraordinary merit.  Full-text Listings of Medal of Honor Citations The President, in the name of Congress, has awarded more than 3,400 Medals of Honor to our nation's bravest Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen since the decoration's creation in 1861.

The Medal of Honor was first issued during the Civil War, and since it was the only military award for valor during that war, 1,527 medals were awarded. By the time of the Spanish American War, there were more earned medals available for distribution, and the Medal of Honor became the supreme honor. During the military action in Vietnam, a much longer conflict than the Civil War, 238 medals were awarded.

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 soldier like qualities, during the present insurrection."

Although it was created for the Civil War, Congress made the Medal of Honor a permanent decoration in 1863. 1,520 Medals were awarded during the Civil War, 1,195 to the Army, 308 to the Navy, 17 to the Marines. 25 Medals were awarded posthumously.

For years, the citations highlighting these acts of bravery and heroism resided in dusty archives and only sporadically were printed. In 1973, the U.S. Senate ordered the citations compiled and printed as Committee on Veterans' Affairs, U.S. Senate, Medal of Honor Recipients: 1863-1973 (Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 1973). This book was later updated and reprinted in 1979.

Respect Given:

The Medal of Honor confers special privileges on its recipients, both by tradition and by law. By tradition, all other soldiers, sailors, Marines, and airmen, even higher-ranking officers up to the President of the United States, who are not themselves recipients of the Medal of Honor initiate the salute. In the event of an officer encountering an enlisted member of the military who has been awarded the Medal of Honor, officers by tradition salute not the person, but the medal itself, thus attempting to time their salute to coincide with the enlisted member's.

Each Medal of Honor recipient may have his or her name entered on the Medal of Honor Roll Each person whose name is placed on the Medal of Honor Roll is certified to the United States Department of Veterans Affairs as being entitled to receive the special pension of US$1,027 per month above and beyond any military pensions or other benefits for which they may be eligible. As of December 1, 2004, the pension is subject to cost-of-living increases.

Recipients receive special entitlements to air transportation under the provisions of DOD Regulation 4515.13-R.

Special identification cards and commissary and exchange privileges are provided for Medal of Honor recipients and their eligible dependents.

Children of recipients are eligible for admission to the United States military academies without regard to the quota requirements.

Recipients receive a 10% increase in retired pay.

Those awarded the medal after October 23, 2002 also receive a Medal of Honor Flag. The law also specifies that all 103 living Medal of Honor recipients receive the flag along with all future recipients.

As with all medals, retired personnel may wear the Medal of Honor on "appropriate" civilian clothing.

Regulations also specify that recipients of the Medal of Honor are allowed to wear the uniform "at their pleasure" with standard restrictions on political, commercial, or extremist purposes; other former members of the armed forces may do so only at certain ceremonial occasions.