The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration for the US military and is the only military award worn around the neck.
It is often referred to as the Congressional Medal of Honor as the President awards the decoration in the name of Congress and due to the nature of the award it is usually awarded posthumously to survivors of the decorated operator.
The award is made personally by the President to those who ..conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in action against an enemy of the United States…
History & Background information on Congressional Medal of Honor
The Congressional Medal of Honor is one of the most revered awards given to valiant soldiers and pilots in war. This medal is provided to the US Navy SEALs for their brave acts during war with an enemy. The medal is conferred by the President of the US and is given in the name of the Congress thereby getting its name – Congressional Medal of Honor.
The Congressional Medal of Honor has a certain symbolism and meaning attached to the shape and the motifs inside it. For example the inverted 5 pointed star has a cluster of leaves of laurel along with oak on each point. These leaves signify victory, while the oak symbolizes strength. Both these attributes are absolutely essential in any officer going for a Navy SEALs mission. Outside the circular insignia are 34 stars which stand for the number of stars in the US flag. Within the circle are two engravings. On the right is Minerva the Roman Goddess of War. Perched on her helmet is an owl which again symbolizes wisdom. Moving away from Minerva is a man who is carrying a bunch of snakes in his hands. He is known as Discord. The Congressional Medal of Honor thus symbolically represents the soldiers as Minerva who are trying to remove discord between the states and help in the preservation of the Union.
An impressive past
It might be surprising but the Congressional Medal of Honor has a rich past spanning over 140 years. It was during 21st December in 1861 that the first 200 medals of honor were produced. Then a few months later in February 17th 1862, there was a bill passed to authorize the President of the US to distribute the medals. This bill was then signed by President Abraham Lincoln and it was then that the Army Medal of Honor was created. During 17th September more than 20 army soldiers of US performed heroic acts on a Navy SEALs operation which got recognized later. On 25th March 1863 six of the first Medals of Honor were presented by Edwin Stanton, the Secretary of War to 6 surviving members of Andrews Raiders. On 6th April in the year 1865 almost 56 soldiers won Medals of Honor in Deatonsville at Sailors Creek in VA. One of them was the brother of the famous General Custer – second Lt. Thomas Custer. The first Medals of Honor to be ever given on foreign soil was on 9th June in the year 1871. Three soldiers received these Medals of Honor for their bravery in Korea. Over the course of the next 2 days more than twelve Americans, comprising 6 marines and 9 sailors won these Medals of Honor.
Among the more recent achievements in the last century on 20th July in the year 1950, General William F. Dean as well as George Dalton Libby were the first recipients to earn the Medals of Honor for their contribution in the Korean war. While Libby succumbed to his injuries during the war, Dean was taken hostage as prisoner. However no matter what the cause all Navy SEALs soldiers dream of receiving the Congressional Medal of Honor some day.
This Article is written by James Kara Murat