Medal of Honor Day in Its 150th Year

March 25th was celebrated as Medal of Honor Day – a day to pay respects to service members who have served and gone 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.

To further tribute Medal of Honor Day, here are eight interesting facts:

1) The earliest actions in which the Medal was awarded took place before the Civil War began on February 13-14, 1861.  Bernard J.D. Irwin  was an Assistant Surgeon in the Army when he voluntarily went to the rescue of 2d Lt. George N. Bascom who was trapped with 60 members of the 7th Infantry. Irwin and 14 men began the 100-mile trek to Bascom’s forces riding mules. After fighting and capturing Apaches along the way, as well as recovering stolen horses and cattle, Irwin reached Bascom’s forces and helped break the siege. The Medal of Honor was awareded to Irwin on January 24, 1894 – which was more than 30 years after he performed his heroic actions.

2)  In the beginning, the Medal of Honor was only awarded to enlisted service members. On March 3, 1863, this was changed to include officers as well.

Army Medal of Honor

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.  Likewise, each of the armed services maintains their own regulations governing the award.

Navy Medal of Honor

Air Force Medal of Honor

4)  Only one woman has received the Medal of Honor and her award was temporarily taken away. President Andrew Johnson presented the Medal of Honor to Dr. Mary E. Walker on November 11, 1865 for her actions as a Contract Acting Assistant Surgeon in a series of battles from First Bull Run in 1861 to the Battle of Atlanta in 1864. Caught by Confederate troops and arrested as a spy, she also spent four months as a Prisoner of War. Although her award was rescinded along with hundreds of others in 1917, upon the passage of legislation that stated the medal could only be given to persons who had engaged in “actual combat with an enemy,” Walker’s Medal of Honor was reinstated on June 10, 1977 by President Jimmy Carter.

5)  The Medal of Honor recommendation process can take in excess of 18 months with extreme scrutiny every step of the way because of the need for accuracy. To see a visual depiction of the process, visit www.army.mil/medalofhonor/steps.html

6) Children of Medal of Honor recipients are not subject to quotas if they are qualified and want to attend the U.S. military academies.

7) The recipients of Medal of Honor 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 it is 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.

What information do you have about the Medal of Honor history or tradition that you can share in the comments section of this post?

Source:  Brown, Brittany. “The Medal of Honor:  Eight Surprising Facts.” Army Images, U.S. Army. 15, March 2013.  <http://armylive.dodlive.mil/index.php/2013/03/the-medal-of-honor-eight-surprising-facts/&gt;.

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Our Military: Keeping Us Safe by Ron James

Read how Ron James, Raine’s Business Manager, views the military while on the job.

“With the passing of the anniversary of the horrific terrorist attack on our country, I am reminded of the fine young men and women who stand in front of the citizenry of the United States to protect us and keep us safe.  Besides doing trade shows, I also travel around the country to military bases.  I go into the retail stores on base and set up a small display when they are doing promotional events to draw in more business.  This is one of my favorite things to do because I get to speak with our military people and ask them how we can be of service, what else we can develop for them and how our products perform.  I also usually get a chance to speak with them about more personal things, such as hometowns and families.  One thing I always try to ask is how they are doing in the military and how they like that life.  For the most part, I think most of them candidly give me their honest opinions; especially those who plan on the military as a career, or at least a long-term commitment through the reserves after their active duty is complete.  Some are in it for the educational benefit that follows their enlistment, some are, quite frankly, disappointed with their situations.  Many are high functioning individuals who I know will be successful.   A few don’t have enough sense to get out of the rain.

They all, however, share some common attributes.  They all are in generally good spirits; even those facing an upcoming deployment.  They are fully aware of the risks involved (as are their family members).  They deeply and genuinely love their country and are proud to serve her.  Most importantly, they are committed to their brother or sister in arms.  It doesn’t matter if they are the genius or the one needing leadership the most, the thing they fear more than anything is failing their fellow soldiers.  Wherever they go and whatever they are called upon to do, they will have each other’s backs regardless of the personal risk involved.

I don’t know the origin of the question, I’m not even sure it’s not just a line from the Patton movie, but someone once asked, while viewing a pitched battle, “where do these young men come from?” or something to that effect.  In truth, I don’t have the answer, but they are there standing watch between us and harm’s way.  May God bless them always.”

Ron James
Business Manager

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