DoD urged to review awards for possible upgrades to MOH

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DoD urged to review awards for possible upgrades to MOH

An interesting story out of USA Today:

The Pentagon is poised to order the military services to review more than 1,000 medals issued since the 9/11 terror attacks for possible upgrade to theMedal of Honor, the country's highest award issued for valor in combat, according to documents obtained by USA TODAY.

If approved by Defense Secretary Ash Carter, the sweeping review would represent one of the most significant steps in decades to honor troops who have displayed extraordinary courage in combat. The review stems from a study of military decorations and awards that was ordered in March 2014 by then Defense SecretaryChuck Hagel "to ensure that after 13 years of combat the awards system appropriately recognizes the service, sacrifices and action of our service members."

Should even a fraction of the medals under review be upgraded, it's possible that dozens more troops would receive the Medal of Honor for their bravery in Iraq and Afghanistan.

I think at the outset it is important to put the numbers into context.   Here's the Medals that have been issued by conflict since 1941:

World War II: 471

Korea: 145

Vietnam: 257

USS Liberty: 1

Mogadishu: 2

None were issued for Desert Storm, and then the current ones:

Iraq: 4

Afghanistan: 13

So in 15 years we've had 17, whereas Vietnam which was roughly the same amount of time had 257.  That is more than 15 times the number for the current conflict.  Now obviously warfare has changed, but some of the decisions to me seem inexplicable.

Take for instance the case of Rafael Peralta who was killed by a grenade that he jumped on.  Or may have jumped on.  Everyone present said he consciously did so, but the DoD citing various pathologists and who knows what said that he was dead prior to, and somehow I guess just happened to fall on the grenade.  When you get to the point that you have to sort through all this, it becomes silly to me.  I believe he saved his friends.  He was awarded the Navy Cross instead, despite repeated attempts to have it upgraded.

Just as egregious is this story, from the LA Times:

If he had known in 2005 what he knows today, Brig. Gen. Gary Brito would have nominated Sgt. 1st Class Alwyn Cashe for the Medal of Honor.

Brito knew in 2005 that Cashe, his uniform soaked with fuel, had plunged into a burning vehicle in Iraq on Oct. 17, 2005, to rescue soldiers who were on fire. But only months later did Brito, Cashe's battalion commander, learn the full details of Cashe's courage that day outside the city of Samarra.

Cashe rescued six badly burned soldiers while under enemy small-arms fire. His own uniform caught fire, engulfing him in flames. Even with second- and-third degree burns over three-fourths of his body, Cashe continue to pull soldiers out of a vehicle set ablaze when a roadside bomb ruptured a fuel tank.

Before all of those details emerged, Cashe was awarded a Silver Star, the military's third-highest award for valor, after Brito nominated him. But soon after learning more about Cashe's actions, Brito mounted an unusual Medal of Honor campaign that has continued for more than seven years.

There were other recommendations other than the MOH review as well:

Among the other recommendations forwarded for Carter's approval:

  • A new award for troops who have directed drones over battlefields in the Middle East and Afghanistan. The "R" device would be awarded to "recognize remote impacts on combat operations."
  • Establishing a standard definition for meritorious service that limits combat awards to those exposed to hostile action or at "significant risk" of exposure.
  • Setting goals and guidelines to ensure Medal of Honor and other awards are made in a timely way.

I've heard a lot of grumbling about the lack of MOHs awarded.  I've been lucky in that I know about 1/2 the guys who have received it, but I know others, like my friend David Bellavia who I believe deserve it as well.  I hope they do take a look at all of them.

And there are some Air Force PJs and Joint Tactical Air Controllers out there that need to have their looked at VERY CLOSELY, because those guys have done some unbelievable things, and to have no representation is a shame.


Posted in the burner | 53 comments
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Political correctness corrupts everything it touches.

PC has nothing to do with it.

While we are on the subject of medals, all members should have been awarded the BS for valo.r

I do believe that this should be issued to all who have served honorably. As all WWI and WWII, and Vietnam Veterans have been blanket issued the medal for their honorable service. We can not just choose who deserves it and who doesn't. If you have served during a wartime conflict honorable,then you have met the requirements! We must ensure that all our veterans and active soldiers are awarded properly. If we use a medal and blanket issue, then all who serve during a wartime conflict are eligible and should be awarded the appropriate medals. The Bronze Star is issued for honorable service during wartime conflict. Therefore if you receive your Good Conduct Medal, you should also receive the Bronze Star Medal if you are active honorably during a wartime conflict. Many will disagree,but that's okay as it has already been done and therefore it is only right for all who meet the requirements according to the issuing of the medal. Today, a private wears more medals on his uniform than that of a Staff Sergeant of eight years, who served during the Cold War, Lebanon, Grenada, and the terrorists periods of the 70's and 80's. Either we make things right or we need to revamp our Awards AR!

It typical that the Seniors that submit personnel for awards, don't check the first.

What a slap in the face to Every serviceman that served in or out of a conflict, to conveintly pick a time frame to change these awards. It's either all or nothing, PERIOD!! I served in Vietnam in 1966-67 and saw more bravery and sacrifice than any human can imagine, and NO awards. The system is political, never a doubt about it !!!

You are so right on, Served with 1st Cav. 64-66,, who gets the CIB, only infantry this is bs, if fired upon for several hours do you qualify? no answers.

As a 22+ year veteran of the US Army, including significant work with the awards system, I can tell you that anyone looking for consistency or fairness will be disappointed. Variation between Major Commands and Theaters of Operations, as well as different chains of command invariably lead to different level of award recommendations.

As another vet who worked with both the military and civilian awards systems, I have to agree that there is no consistency across commands and very little fairness when comparing awards made at different times or in different units. For better or worse, there really isn't any way to eliminate the inequalities in the system without destroying the system, like the units that have an 'unofficial' standard determining what award everyone gets for their tour based on rank and job, or a point system.

I think this is a slap in the face of all the combat vets that earned it fight a broad. This would cheapen not only the medle but the honor that was given to the men in the past.

I was in the Army Feb 2 1962 to 1 5 1965. My last year was spent with the 30th ord. in Korea. At the time I was given no medals and still do not have any. I'm not sure that have any. How can I find out?
I joined In Eugene, Oregon. SN RA19729801
William T Lein
2629 H Ave., Ogden UT

If you served in Korea you are authorized the Korea Defense Medal.

Go to your nearest County Veterans Office and they can help you get any medals you deserve. Bring your DD214. Welcome home

If you were not in Vietnam don't try to compare it to any conflict after it period.

I was awarded the highest Army Military Intelligence Corp award, the Knowlton Medallion. Very specific criteria is needed to be awarded this decoration, not just doing a "good job". In 1996 I was assigned to an aviation unit in South Korea. I attended a formal military ball and proudly displayed my Knowlton on my dress blues. I was the only one wearing one. Almost immediately I was confronted by the 1SG and Battalion CSM who wanted to know, "what that award was, and if I was authorized to wear it". I stated I was and they were more than welcome to check my personnel file. I never heard anything else about the incident.

Later that year, I attended the unit Christmas Ball. Lo and behold, EVERY SENIOR OFFICER AND THE CSM were now wearing a Knowlton Award. I learned later that the command investigated my award, found out I was authorized to wear it, then proceeded to "push" thru at least 50, thats right, 50 Knowlton Awards thru the MI Corp branch. It required a LTC or above to approve for submission to MI Corp Branch. The BC signed all of them.

I took off that award and never wore it again. That, ladies and gentlemen, typifies the military award system. Its all about the officers and very senior non-coms having to have more candy and fruit salad on their uniforms and everyone else be damned. Thats a FACT. And any officer or CSM who denies this is lying thru their teeth!

In 2005 in Iraq there were a few people who were awarded a CAB for pulling security on a non-existent enemy after a mortar round impacted hundreds of yards away. The commander said they were definitely under attack because they heard small arms fire. WOW! Hearing small arms fire in Baghdad in July, 2005. How amazing! Anyone who was there knows it was a very violent time in some areas and just "hearing" small arms fire and actually encountering it are two different things. I know of people who were actually engaged and never received a CAB. It's the same story for any military award. It all depends on your leadership (or lack of).

Fred, your experience is standard today in the ranks. It was when I retired in 2005. I can only imagine how bad it is now. I see the ONLY solution to this problem is to put award submissions outside the assigned service members unit. Remove all ranks, names etc, and just let the criteria itself be reviewed. And reviewed by another disinterested unit command. THAT would go a long way towards eliminating the "I have to have that award, and make sure you NEVER get one!" mentality that is rampant thru the officer and senior enlisted ranks!

Interesting, hearing fire qualified for the CAB?

It is so political and arbitrary , maybe it does more harm than good. Warriors fight for many reasons other than medals, which appear to be a contentious morale breaker.

When a combat soldiers put their lives at risk, they are saving another buddy. This is called brother hood They do this for their country and they swore to defend this country against terrorism. So I think that these men deserve the highest level of service and I support them to. So President Obama give these soldiers The Medal of Honor and to their respective families A hand shake and also thank them and God bless them.

As a crew chief ( glorified door gunner) on a UH1C gunship in Viet Nam, I would just like to know why only the pilots receive the awards and the rest of the crew get no concideration.

I've never been in combat. But lets look at ALL awards. Anyone with knowledge of an award can contest it. I know a few that should not been of received more but I also know of a few that received awards that may go above and beyond requirements for some awards "during peace time". A lot could still be politics "it's still not what you know (or did) but Who you know". I'm not contesting any awards but let the awards match the actual action.

The national Defense Medal is for everyone who served. The Medal of Honor is for A VERY FEW who really extended themselves beyond basic heroism. Modern warfare is not the same as Iwo Jima and Normandy. In the well-controlled modern US military there are very few known soldiers and fewer yet legitimate CMoH winners. This is nothing but Obama grandstanding.

There were many soldiers and Marines who were engaged in active combat in Iraq and performed heroic acts. In the video game culture we live in today many leaders don't think that taking a bullet for someone else or jumping into a burning vehicle is above the call of duty.

Wow, you really went there with the President son. General Officers support MOH recommendations. We are the gate keepers. Your baseless thoughts can be said about many Presidents, ones you like and/or don't like.

A friend I graduated with sacrificed his life for wounded comrades by jumping on a grenade in Vietnam. He was awarded the DC. I never understood how they determine who sacfrices himself by jumping on a grenade gets a DC or MOH. I believe this man's DC should be upgrade to MOH. Sp4 David Conners is his name. Age l9 yrs.

I was awarded the Army Commendation Medal in Vietnam while serving with the 4ID. My 1SGT at the time of my award later served in the CAV as Sgt Maj. He told me at a reunion several years later that my award I received in the 4ID would have been the Bronze Star in the CAV. He received the Bronze Star in the 4ID during the same battle as I fought and later received the Silver Star with the CAV in his second tour. He told me he did far more earning the Bronze than he did to earn the Silver. The point here is that the awards mainly depend upon the Unit you serve. The bar is not the same from Unit to Unit. That is not good when you get back and serve in the State Side unit with others from different units.

A friend I graduated with sacrificed his life for wounded comrades by jumping on a grenade in Vietnam. He was awarded the DC. I never understood how they determine who sacfrices himself by jumping on a grenade gets a DC or MOH. I believe this man's DC should be upgrade to MOH. Sp4 David Conners is his name. Age l9 yrs.

:First: The National Defense Medal is awarded to personnel who were on active duty during a specified period of war/conflict. I entered USAF in December of 1974, several months before the Vietnam era award period was over. Those who entered service in peacetime did not receive the NDM unless they were on active duty during another war/conflict. It was possible to have a 20-year career in the late 70's -- 90's without being awarded the NDM.
Second: I don't disagree with a review of records for possible upgrades -- IF it uses the same criteria that have existed since the MOH was conceived. The reviewers (who knows who that may be) should be very careful not to degrade the honor of the highest of our service awards.
Third: The AF is often overlooked as recipients of the MOH simply because the risk of life and valorous actions are not as evident as they are in the Army or Marines, i.e. throwing oneself on a grenade to save the lives of others. The Navy faces the same perception problem. Just because we don't have boots on the ground, doesn't mean that lives are not at risk. With the implementation of Joint services and bases, this may change.

Cogent, well thought-out and factual. I would nominate Elaine to be one of the reviewers. If we had as many clear headed people, as she seems to be, involved in the Awards and Decorations process, this would never have surfaced as a problem. Well said Ms Howell!


I'd like my name added to the Medal Review List.

Many many thanks to "Burn Pit" for picturing SFC Alwyn C. Cashe, A Co., 1/15th Infantry, 3rd Infantry Division. For those of us who know the full story of SFC Cashe's valor and heroism there is no doubt he is worthy of and meets all standards of the Medal of Honor and "Heroism above and beyond the call of duty." I hope many of you might join us in our fb group SFC ALWYN C. CASHE DESERVES THE MEDAL OF HONOR. Again, many thanks for honoring the memory and legacy of valor of SFC Cashe.

Apparently the rounds had more grain in previous Wars. I'm sorry gentlemen but a firefight is a firefight. I give a rats ass what the terrain is. What the weather is. May 2005 I was with a small team in Afghanistan where a TL received the SS fighting a numerically superior far better armed enemy in the defensive. I've read MOH Citations w/ far less Actions.

I served 3 1/2 tours in Vietnam, and as an Intelligence Chief for a Marine Inf. Bn. each time.....different units each time. I, was wounded on my last trip, (that's that 1/2 tour), I was awarded the Purple Heart and I was awarded the Silver Star. I saw (two) 03's who should have gotten the Navy Cross at least, but they were down graded to the Silver Star, all during the same event, but, again, the Operations Officer, was some what "UPSET", because he didn't get an award.

Yes, I'm still pissed! [the 03's are infantry in the Marine Corps]

I think the more Medals of Honor issued will dilute the importance of the Medal. I think it's time we stopped making them a political award. As far as Viet Nam goes it was a much bloodier War then todays Wars so that is why more were earned, BTW if anyone deserves an upgrade it's Chesty Puller!

I served as a Infantry Squad Leader and reached the rank of Staff Sergeant. I got injured in line of duty and broke my left hip and was moved to HHC Company, and worked the rest of my tour in the Battalion PAC. At that time there was no awards being issued other than certificates. I was put into the Awards Section and refreshen it to one that awarded soldiers with medals according to the Army Regs. Now I served from 78-85, and was told I was not authorized the NDM. According to the regs., as long as you served during a time of conflict you were authorized the NDM. During my period of service we were engaged in two conflicts, one Grenada and the other Lebanon. Now you don't have to be active in the conflict but Must be active during it. I was in both mentioned. Yet the Army doesn't recognize them except for those who were active. Those soldiers received the NDM, CIB, and many other medals. The AR, was not written to honor only those involved as example those who served during Vietnam, received the NDM, though they never served or were in country. Then there is the War on terror. I served in Germany during the period when the Bauder Meinhauf Terrorist organization was active and tried to assassinate one of our senior officers in command in Europe. But we were not eligible for the War on terrorism medal! But the biggest travesty was that we served on the front lines of the Cold War, and to this day still have not been issued a medal, though reserve units wear medals for this and were never active. We were to be quitted with a certificate once again. The sad thing about this was that the Army did some changes and removed most if not all certificates from a soldiers 201 file. Now I nor any other soldier wants something we have not earned, but it's as if we didn't do anything for our country during our service. We were the front line and prevented the outbreak of WWIII. Now we have been involved in Iraq, and Afganistan and there have been all kinds of medals and awards created to honor the soldiers who were involved. This is fine and I have no problem with this, but what happened to those of us who served during the Cold War? We served with honor and lives were lost and many events happened during this period that have been hidden due to the nature of the information that they held. I am of the point that we should not have to wait till most of us have passed away before we are honored, similar to those who fought in both WWI a DAY WWII. What good does a award do when it is issued after you have passed away? We must ensure that this is corrected. A bill has been issued and been floating in Washington for some five or more years to honor those who served during the Cold War. But nothing is happening, yet once again reserve units are authorized a medal and those of us, the active front line soldiers get a certificate which we can't even have record of in our 201 files. The congressional leaders are aware of this from the beginning and yet we are being overlooked. It's Vietnam all over again! Make it right and honor those who stood tall for the free world! We only want to know that our service was not in vain. We have done much to ensure a free and open Europe. We stood our ground and guarded the nuclear warheads being brought in country for an edge over the USSR back in the 80's. We stood tall and saw the falling of the wall and opening all the boarders of Europe. Now is the time to honor those who served and made all this possible. Don't let us go to our graves and years after we have passed away be recognized for our service to not only our country,but to the free world. We must recognize the contributions that the men and women of the Cold War have done for our country and the free world. I can't believe that it is to hard to issue a medal for our contributions and to properly issue the medals for all who served during the wartime conflicts that only few have been awarded. The regulations are clear and if you were active during a wartime conflict, you were entitled to wear the campaign medals for those of which you were currently serving honorably in the military during that period. So issue those NDM's, and wartime conflict campaign medals. We earned the right as did every other soldier in the military to be issued the medals of which we were according to the AR's. There has been so many new awards, medals that have issued in the last ten years and still we Cold War Veterans are being refused and cut off by dates set that don't correctly cover the medals being issued. There have been terrorist attacking the military for much longer than that of which the dates set on the medal to be qualified for. And you can not chose which combat action to honor and which not to when they all are against us and as military members it's our job to defend our country against all enemy's foreign and domestic! Do the right thing and honor those who served their country be it during peace or war time. Because as history will show we have always been protecting our country on a daily basis!

1000??? Big numbers to upgrade. I agree on some but to tackle a thousand, get serious. When will the start with the ones from WW I?? Then move on up. DOD has more to work on taking care of the wounded and hurt from the other Wars and Conflicts. Don't care what you call it War Conflict, still the same thing when bullets are flying at you with the intent of the enemy wanting to kill you. I spoke to a person who received the Bronze Star from Viet Nam. Does not mean anything to him as many many have been presented to others now days. Yes the deserve receiving the Bronze Star ,maybe higher. What about the KIA and MIA, when will their records start to be looked at? Do they or the families know where or what happened? Did they receive a Medal. DOD should spend the money or better yet the DOD NEEDS TO INSURE THE DISABLED AND FAMILIES FROM ALL CONFLICT WARS WHATEVER YOU CALL THEM AND TAKE CARE OF THEM!!!!!! Let the Leaders on the Battle Field take care of the reviews, hopefully they are still around. It took 40 years for a Platoon Sgt., in Minnesota to receive a Bronze Star thanks to his Grand Daughter taking the charge for him since his Commander was KIA.... Did DOD take the lead?? more like swept under the rug, or rice paddy. Out of site out of mind. Do what is right for all that signed the blank check when the went into the Military.



SrA Jason Cunningham deserves serious consideration for the MOH, and I have said that since I first heard about him!

It was widely understood by us grunts that the military was stingy with awards for combat valor after 2001. Some course corrections were slowly made after the surges in Iraq and Afghanistan, but thousands of combat arms grunts received nothing more than a "thank you for your service" when in wars past they would have received at least a bronze star with V device. It is nice to see a review of awards for possible upgrade to MoH, but it would also be nice to review many other decisions. A friend of mine was recommended for an ARCOM with V device for actions during an IED strike and after in a firefight and the brigade commander in Salerno downgraded it to a simple ARCOM. Soldiers get ARCOMs for exemplary performance during peacetime training missions in the US! Hopefully some troops will be recognized with an upgrade.

I worry when anyone talks about numbers. When you say Viet Nam didn't last as long as the current action in Afghanistan and Iraq so the numbers of CMOH should be higher put's the medal's prestige in jeopardy. It is our nations highest award for valor in combat and should not be given lightly based on how many were given in previous wars/conflicts.

I was awarded the Silver Star on October 16th 1951 while a member of G Company, 19th Inf.
24th Infantry Division. I was not aware I was submitted for the award until I was on a train that
was taking me to Tokyo for rotation back to the USA. I have not had any success over these many years in finding out who submitted the award. During my tour during the Korean "conflict" I was
LWA twice and returned to duty within a few days because the two incidents were not life threatening
At the time I was hit I was a MSGT and platoon Sergeant in "G" Company in the 19th Regiment. My
CO was Captain (later WO) Edward L. Shea who was from New Jersey.

In 50 plus years I've tried to locate who it was that submitted the award with no success.
As I recall Me an another member of "G" Company were headed home when we were both \
called off the train and received awards by a field grade officer..

Through the past century I have wondered who and when was I submitted. if possible I would
be most grateful if the award could be traced and how it was decided to present the Silver Star
and not the DSC or MOH.

Thank you for whatever assistance you might render in this sinquiry.

MSGT Frank J. Plata, USA/USAF, Retired
1801 Winchester Avenue APT A-5
Philadelphia, Penna. 19115 -4646


I'm in full agreement with the DoD's review. Even if 20-100 were upgraded to the MOH, it would be commendable, given the exceptionally high valor of those deserving of the MOH.
Also, one thing that gripes me to this day , having deployed a lot in Joint operations, is the high number of Bronze Stars "given out" by the Army (especially) to soldiers who simply completed a combat rotation. I think this degrades the purpose and reverence that this medal deserves. There are always exceptional cases where the Bronze Star is warranted. I've seen Army units return from the desert and a high percent were 'given' the Bronze Star. Perhaps an ARCOM would have been better suited.

If your awards or military records are not correct, then submit a DD 149 to the Military Review Board for those awards, injustices or corrections that you feel need to be addressed. Many omissions occur on DD214's, whereby Medals and ribbons are not documented. The Kuwait Liberation Medal (Kuwait) and Kuwait Liberation Medal (Saudi Arabia) are common. The Armed Forces Reserve Medal with "M" for mobilization is commonly not awarded. Campaign medals routinely have stars omitted. Service schools should be listed, because these are personnel actions and accomplishments that are used by promotion boards, as to advance soldiers and sailors in rank. For those who enter the military and complete an enlistment and return to lives as civilians, they are often unaware that the personnel system and transfer of records and files can result in missing information, especially during past periods of paper files and antiquated record keeping. Officers and seniors NCO's ensure that their records are intact and nicely padded to ensure medals and individual awards display the maximum promotion points. Professional resumes should be accurately documented with military awards and qualifications, if you suspect an error or injustice, submit a DD149 to the review board.

I would have thought that the SECDEF's inquiry into the award of the MOH, would have went much further. He probably did go far enough, but found the racial disparity too alarming to divulge to the American public. Of the 3300 MOHs awarded since the Spanish American war, only 88 of those went to Black soldiers. This statistic is appalling, but is very indicative of the treatment of Black soldiers throughout the history of this country and it's armed forces. I would also say that the naming of major military installations after confederate generals speaks volumes about the raciist climate that has existed for more than 100 years. If you were to hand the award justification for SFC Cashe, to a complete idiot, they could easily see that this act of bravery exceeded a reasonable and acceptable MOH justification. I have gotten too old to pull punches with this twisted and bigoted military awards system and feel disgraced with SFC Cashe getting the "oh by the way" treatment from the DOD. What I mean by that is it's almost like an after thought, to be relooked at in a group of thousands. This is disrespectful to his family and to the memory of an American Hero.

Reading the comments.
Is there one person or a team involved with the mangled spelling in general and this week the insertion of male pronouns following female names? This is not just for this article. Since I started receiving Legion letter and reading The Burn Pit I have had to stop because the style is just too much too much. Yeah, I meant to type it twice. Anyway on this and another occasion I was going to share the story right up until I started to read the comments. Sorry, but the stories sound like a pimp job.

It's also a point that many soldiers that deployed to both Afghanistan and Iraq failed to be honored as well... I spearheaded both campaigns while attached to 626FSB but was bounced back and forth from that unit back to my own... Neither unit wanted to write the award so I received nothing even though I was put in charge of security missions and other "not-so-safe" missions... I ETS's in 2004, and to date have not received an award for my duties in Iraq nor an award for my 9+ yrs of service, 8 being at 101st Ft. Campbell, Ky where I was stationed when I ETSed... I hope no more soldiers have to feel that their time was Enot important enough that they are not recognized as I have felt since.

It's also a point that many soldiers that deployed to both Afghanistan and Iraq failed to be honored as well... I spearheaded both campaigns while attached to 626FSB but was bounced back and forth from that unit back to my own... Neither unit wanted to write the award so I received nothing even though I was put in charge of security missions and other "not-so-safe" missions... I ETS's in 2004, and to date have not received an award for my duties in Iraq nor an award for my 9+ yrs of service, 8 being at 101st Ft. Campbell, Ky where I was stationed when I ETSed... I hope no more soldiers have to feel that their time was Enot important enough that they are not recognized as I have felt since.

If anyone deserves to be up graded to the MOH it is USMC General Chesty Puller! For those who do not know, General Puller received 5 Navy Cross's (America's second highest Award for Valor) during his career in the Corps! I personally (and many other Marines) think that 5 Navy Cross's should certainly be at the very least equal to 1 MOH!


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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.