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President Barack Obama meets with recipients at the National Medal of Honor Day ceremony at the Tomb of the Unknowns on March 25, 2009

There are currently 69 living recipients of the United States military's highest decoration, the Medal of Honor. The Medal of Honor is bestowed to any member of the United States armed forces who 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 an enemy of the United States."[1]

Of the 69 living recipients, two earned their Medals of Honor in World War II, five in the Korean War, 48 in the Vietnam War, and 13 in the War in Afghanistan. One earned their medal while serving in the U.S. Air Force, 48 in the U.S. Army, 12 in the U.S. Marine Corps, and eight in the U.S. Navy. The oldest recipient is Charles H. Coolidge, aged 99, whereas the youngest is Kyle Carpenter, aged 31. War in Afghanistan soldiers William D. Swenson and Matthew O. Williams of the U.S. Army. Among the recipients are former U.S. Senator Bob Kerrey and three retired generals: Patrick Henry Brady and Robert F. Foley of the Army and James E. Livingston of the Marine Corps.

Medal of Honor[edit | edit source]

The Medal of Honor was created during the American Civil War and is the highest military decoration presented by the United States government to a member of its armed forces. The recipient must have distinguished themselves at the risk of their own life above and beyond the call of duty in action against an enemy of the United States. Due to the nature of this medal, it is commonly presented posthumously.[2]

World War II[edit | edit source]

During World War II 464 United States military personnel received the Medal of Honor, 266 of them posthumously. A total of 42 Medals of Honor were presented for action in just two battles – 15 for actions during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and 27 for actions during the Battle of Iwo Jima. A total of 21 (4.5% of all World War II Medals of Honor) were received by members of the all-Japanese American 100th Infantry Battalion of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, for actions in numerous battles across six different campaigns.[3] Additionally, the only Medal of Honor ever presented to a member of the United States Coast Guard was received for actions during this war.[4]

Image Name Branch Birth date and age References
Coolidge313645.tif Coolidge, Charles H.Charles H. Coolidge Army August 4, 1921(1921-08-04) (age 100) [5]
Williams in 2010 Williams, Hershel W.Hershel W. Williams Marine Corps October 2, 1923(1923-10-02) (age 98) [6]

Korea[edit | edit source]

During the Korean War, 136 Medals of Honor were presented for bravery in action, 98 of them posthumously. As of April June, five were still living.[4]

Image Name Branch Birth date and age References
Duane Dewey 2004.jpg Dewey, Duane E.Duane E. Dewey Marine Corps November 16, 1931(1931-11-16) (age 90) [7]
Miyamura in 2008 Miyamura, Hiroshi H.Hiroshi H. Miyamura Army October 6, 1925(1925-10-06) (age 96) [8]
Rosser in 2012 Rosser, Ronald E.Ronald E. Rosser Army October 24, 1929(1929-10-24) (age 92) [9]
Head of a smiling white man wearing a suit, red tie, and a medal hanging from a blue ribbon around his neck Simanek, Robert E.Robert E. Simanek Marine Corps April 26, 1930(1930-04-26) (age 91) [10]
Photograph of an older white man wearing glasses and a medal hanging from a blue ribbon around his neck West, Ernest E.Ernest E. West Army September 2, 1931(1931-09-02) (age 90) [6]

Vietnam[edit | edit source]

During the Vietnam War, 249 Medals of Honor were received, 156 (62.9%) of them posthumously. Of the living recipients who received their medals for actions in the Vietnam War, 52 are alive as of 2018.[11]

The first person to earn the Medal of Honor in this war was Roger Donlon who, on 6 July 1964, rescued and administered first aid to several wounded soldiers and led a group against an enemy force.[12]

Image Name Branch Birth date and age References
Medal of Honor (15257829652).jpg Adkins, BennieBennie Adkins Army February 1, 1934(1934-02-01) (age 87)
100px Baca, JohnJohn Baca Army January 10, 1949(1949-01-10) (age 72) [13]
Donald E Ballard.jpg Ballard, Donald E.Donald E. Ballard Navy December 5, 1945(1945-12-05) (age 76) [14]
H.C. "Barney" Barnum Jr. at the Medal of Honor Flag ceremony for Michael Murphy .jpg Barnum, Jr., Harvey C.Harvey C. Barnum, Jr. Marine Corps July 21, 1940(1940-07-21) (age 81) [15]
Gary B Beikirch.jpg Beikirch, Gary B.Gary B. Beikirch Army August 29, 1947(1947-08-29) (age 74) [16]
Portrait of a dark-haired white man wearing a military uniform with many ribbons, pins, and badges. Brady, Patrick HenryPatrick Henry Brady Army October 1, 1936(1936-10-01) (age 85) [17]
Bucha in 2011 Bucha, PaulPaul Bucha Army August 1, 1943(1943-08-01) (age 78) [18]
Canley in 2018 Canley, JohnJohn Canley Marine Corps February 1, 1938(1938-02-01) (age 83) [19]
Crandall in 2012 Crandall, Bruce P.Bruce P. Crandall Army February 17, 1933(1933-02-17) (age 88) [15]
Sammy Davis speaking 2009 crop.jpg Davis, Sammy L.Sammy L. Davis Army November 1, 1946(1946-11-01) (age 75) [20]
Profile of a white man with a full, gray beard wearing a star-shaped medal from a blue ribbon around his neck. Dix, Drew DennisDrew Dennis Dix Army December 14, 1944(1944-12-14) (age 77) [8]
Maj Roger Donlon.jpg Donlon, RogerRoger Donlon Army January 30, 1934(1934-01-30) (age 87) [21]
Frederick E Ferguson MOH.jpg Ferguson, Frederick EdgarFrederick Edgar Ferguson Army August 18, 1939(1939-08-18) (age 82) [22]
MichaelJFitzmauricePortrait.jpg Fitzmaurice, Michael JohnMichael John Fitzmaurice Army March 9, 1950(1950-03-09) (age 71) [23]
James P Fleming.jpg Fleming, James P.James P. Fleming Air Force March 12, 1943(1943-03-12) (age 78) [17]
Portrait of a middle-aged white man in a formal military uniform in front of a U.S. flag Foley, Robert F.Robert F. Foley Army May 30, 1941(1941-05-30) (age 80)
Harold A. Fritz portrait.jpg Fritz, Harold A.Harold A. Fritz Army February 21, 1944(1944-02-21) (age 77) [20]
Charles Chris Hagemeister.jpg Hagemeister, Charles C.Charles C. Hagemeister Army August 21, 1946(1946-08-21) (age 75) [24]
Frank a Herda.jpg Herda, Frank A.Frank A. Herda Army September 13, 1947(1947-09-13) (age 74)
Robert Ingram crouching.jpg Ingram, Robert R.Robert R. Ingram Navy January 20, 1945(1945-01-20) (age 76) [25]
Joe Jackson in 2010 Jackson, Joe M.Joe M. Jackson Air Force March 14, 1923(1923-03-14) (age 98) [17]
Jack H Jacobs aboard Roosevelt.jpg Jacobs, Jack H.Jack H. Jacobs Army August 2, 1945(1945-08-02) (age 76) [26]
Don J Jenkins 2010.jpg Jenkins, Don J.Don J. Jenkins Army April 18, 1948(1948-04-18) (age 73) [6]
Head of a white man in a suit with a medal hanging from a blue ribbon around his neck Kelley, Thomas G.Thomas G. Kelley Navy May 13, 1939(1939-05-13) (age 82) [27]
Allan J Kellogg Medal of Honor recipient.jpg Kellogg, Allan J.Allan J. Kellogg Marine Corps October 1, 1943(1943-10-01) (age 78) [28]
Head and torso of a white man in a dark suit speaking and gesturing Kerrey, BobBob Kerrey Navy August 27, 1943(1943-08-27) (age 78) [8]
Head and torso of elderly white man in military dress uniform with the President standing behind him, placing a medal with a blue ribbon around his neck Kettles, CharlesCharles Kettles Army January 9, 1930(1930-01-09) (age 91) [29]
Lee HV.jpg Lee, Howard V.Howard V. Lee Marine Corps August 1, 1933(1933-08-01) (age 88) [30]
Peter C Lemon.jpg Lemon, Peter C.Peter C. Lemon Army June 5, 1950(1950-06-05) (age 71) [31]
3MoH's in Iraq.jpg Littrell, Gary L.Gary L. Littrell Army October 26, 1944(1944-10-26) (age 77) [32]
Livingston JE.jpg Livingston, James E.James E. Livingston Marine Corps January 12, 1940(1940-01-12) (age 81) [33]
Allen Lynch 1984.jpg Lynch, Allen JamesAllen James Lynch Army October 28, 1945(1945-10-28) (age 76) [20]
Walter Marm 2006.jpg Marm, Jr., Walter JosephWalter Joseph Marm, Jr. Army November 20, 1941(1941-11-20) (age 80) [34]
James C. McCloughan.jpg McCloughan, James C.James C. McCloughan Army April 30, 1946(1946-04-30) (age 75) [35]
Modrzejewski in 2011 Modrzejewski, Robert J.Robert J. Modrzejewski Marine Corps July 3, 1934(1934-07-03) (age 87) [36]
MelvinMorris300.jpg Morris, MelvinMelvin Morris Army January 7, 1942(1942-01-07) (age 79) [37]
Thomas Norris 2008.jpg Norris, Thomas R.Thomas R. Norris Navy January 14, 1944(1944-01-14) (age 77) [17]
Head and shoulders of a white man with a pointed mustache, wearing a star-shaped medal on a blue ribbon around his neck. O'Malley, Robert EmmettRobert Emmett O'Malley Marine Corps June 3, 1943(1943-06-03) (age 78) [10]
Patterson in 2012 Patterson, Robert MartinRobert Martin Patterson Army April 16, 1948(1948-04-16) (age 73) [38]
Profile of a dark-haired man with a star-shaped medal hanging from his neck Rascon, Alfred V.Alfred V. Rascon Army September 10, 1945(1945-09-10) (age 76) [8]
Ronald Eric Ray.jpg Ray, Ronald E.Ronald E. Ray Army December 7, 1941(1941-12-07) (age 80) [39]
Moh roberts.JPG Roberts, Gordon RayGordon Ray Roberts Army June 14, 1950(1950-06-14) (age 71)
JoseRodela300.jpg Rodela, JoseJose Rodela Army June 15, 1937(1937-06-15) (age 84) [40]
A color image showing 2nd Lieutenant Gary M. Rose from the chest up in his military uniform with ribbons. Rose, Gary M.Gary M. Rose Army October 17, 1947(1947-10-17) (age 74) [41]
A gray-haired black man standing at a microphone, wearing a medal on a blue ribbon around his neck. Sasser, ClarenceClarence Sasser Army September 12, 1947(1947-09-12) (age 74) [42]
MOH-Sprayberry.jpg Sprayberry, James M.James M. Sprayberry Army April 24, 1947(1947-04-24) (age 74) [43]
Kenneth Stumpf 2013.jpg Stumpf, Kenneth E.Kenneth E. Stumpf Army September 28, 1944(1944-09-28) (age 77) [44]
100px Taylor, James AllenJames Allen Taylor Army December 31, 1937(1937-12-31) (age 84) [45]
Brian Thacker 2008.jpg Thacker, BrianBrian Thacker Army April 25, 1945(1945-04-25) (age 76) [10]
MichaelEThornton.jpg Thornton, Michael E.Michael E. Thornton Navy March 23, 1949(1949-03-23) (age 72) [8]
Vargas USMC MOH.jpg Vargas, Jay R.Jay R. Vargas Marine Corps July 29, 1938(1938-07-29) (age 83) [36] [46]
Brady, Packett, and Wetzel.jpg Wetzel, GaryGary Wetzel Army September 29, 1947(1947-09-29) (age 74) [47]

War in Afghanistan[edit | edit source]

The War in Afghanistan began on October 7, 2001 and was the beginning of the War on Terrorism. The war was launched by the United States, the United Kingdom, and NATO allies in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks. The stated purpose of the invasion was to capture Osama bin Laden, destroy al-Qaeda, and remove the Taliban regime which had provided support and safe harbor to al-Qaeda.[48] Since 2001, twelve American service-members have received the Medal of Honor for actions in Afghanistan, three of them posthumously.

Image Name Branch Birth date and age References
Kyle Carpenter portrait.jpg Carpenter, KyleKyle Carpenter Marine Corps October 17, 1989(1989-10-17) (age 32)
Ty Carter portrait.jpg Carter, TyTy Carter Army January 25, 1980(1980-01-25) (age 41) [49]
Head and torso portrait of a young white man in a formal military uniform with a U.S. flag in the background Giunta, SalvatoreSalvatore Giunta Army January 21, 1985(1985-01-21) (age 36) [50]
Dakota L. Meyer.JPG Meyer, DakotaDakota Meyer Marine Corps June 26, 1988(1988-06-26) (age 33) [51]
Leroy Petry Petry, LeroyLeroy Petry Army July 29, 1979(1979-07-29) (age 42) [52]
SSGT Pitts half body shot.jpg Pitts, Ryan M.Ryan M. Pitts Army 1985 (age 35–36)
Clinton Romesha 2013.jpg Romesha, ClintonClinton Romesha Army August 1981 (age 39) [53]
Ronald J. Shurer.jpg Shurer, Ronald J.Ronald J. Shurer Army 1978 (age 42–43) [54]
Britt Slabinski 180525-A-SS368-007.jpg Slabinski, Britt K.Britt K. Slabinski Navy December 1, 1969(1969-12-01) (age 52) [55]
WilliamSwensonMOHspeech20131015.jpg Swenson, William D.William D. Swenson Army November 2, 1979(1979-11-02) (age 42)
Sergeant Kyle J. White White, KyleKyle White Army 1987 (age 33–34) [56]

Recently deceased[edit | edit source]

Recipients who died within the last twelve months are listed below.[57]

Image Name Branch Conflict Birth date Death date Place of death References
Thomas J. Hudner 2008.jpg Hudner Jr., Thomas J.Thomas J. Hudner Jr. Navy Korean War August 31, 1924 November 13, 2017 Concord, Massachusetts [58]
Col Wesley L Fox.jpg Fox, Wesley L.Wesley L. Fox Marine Corps Vietnam War September 30, 1931 November 24, 2017 Blacksburg, Virginia [59]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. United States Department of the Army (July 1, 2002). "Section 578.4 Medal of Honor". Code of Federal Regulations Title 32, Volume 2. Government Printing Office. http://edocket.access.gpo.gov/cfr_2002/julqtr/32cfr578.4.htm. Retrieved 2006-07-23. 
  2. "A Brief History — The Medal of Honor". Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). Department of Defense. August 8, 2006. http://www.defenselink.mil/faq/pis/med_of_honor.html. Retrieved October 17, 2013. 
  3. Congressional Medal of Honor Society
  4. 4.0 4.1 "Medal of Honor recipients". Statistics of Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, and Coast Guardsmen who received the Medal of Honor. United States Army Center of Military History. June 8, 2009. http://www.history.army.mil/html/moh/mohstats.html. Retrieved October 17, 2013. 
  5. "Group of Military Veterans Endorse Wamp For Governor". Chattanooga, Tennessee. June 29, 2009. Archived from the original on June 4, 2010. http://www.webcitation.org/5qFA5pWO3. 
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  7. Wolffis, Susan Harrison (November 11, 2006). "Muskegon's Medal of Honor winner 'just doing his job'". Muskegon, Michigan. http://www.leatherneck.com/forums/showthread.php?t=36933. Retrieved June 4, 2010. 
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 "Medal of Honor - Recipients Bios". Arlington, Virginia: WETA-TV. 2010. http://www.weta.org/about/press/kits/85128/additional/85241. Retrieved June 21, 2010. 
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  10. 10.0 10.1 10.2 Williams, Rudi (June 14, 2004). "Nine Medal of Honor recipients Attend Gala". United States Department of Defense. Archived from the original on May 27, 2010. http://www.webcitation.org/5q3N6YOUp. 
  11. "Medal of Honor statistics". Medal of Honor citations archive. United States Army Center of Military History. June 8, 2009. Archived from the original on 2010-12-14. http://www.webcitation.org/5uyUFEgJQ. Retrieved October 17, 2013. 
  12. Murphy, 1987, pp. 13–23
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  16. "Army Cadet Henson Wins Medal of Honor Scholarship". Potsdam, New York: Clarkson University. September 18, 2006. Archived from the original on May 30, 2010. http://www.webcitation.org/5q7bFJrc1. 
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  29. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named patch20151112
  30. Mishalov, Neil. "List of Living Medal of Honor Recipients". Neil Mishalov. http://www.mishalov.com/Living_MoH_Recipients.html. Retrieved 15 July 2014. 
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  50. Obert, Lori (February 10, 2012). "Blackhawk lands at Pepsi Center". Denver, Colorado: KUSA. Archived from the original on February 11, 2012. http://www.webcitation.org/65NjeMJby. 
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  53. Ogden, Eloise (January 12, 2013). "Minot man to receive Medal of Honor". http://www.minotdailynews.com/page/content.detail/id/572334/Minot-man-to-receive-Medal-of-Honor.html?nav=5010. Retrieved February 10, 2013. 
  54. Vanden Brook, Tom; Jackson, David (September 21, 2018). "President Donald Trump Award Medal of Honor". USA Today. https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2018/09/21/president-donald-trump-award-medal-honor-heroic-combat-medic/1383318002. Retrieved September 22, 2018. 
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  58. Thomas J. Hudner, war hero and veterans’ affairs commissioner, dies at 93
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