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National Medal of Honor Day – March 25th


The three designs for the Medal of Honor: (l to r) Army, Navy, Air Force. Members of the Marine Corps and Coast Guard receive the Navy medal.

 Today, March 25, is National Medal of Honor Day, established by an act of Congress to honor those who have receive the nation’s highest military award. The Medal of Honor was first awarded on March 25, 1863, to six Union soldiers from a group known as Andrew’s Raiders, for their actions that disrupted rebel troop movements during the Civil War. Of the 3,460 Medal of Honor that have been awarded since, 1,522 were awarded during the Civil War, 124 during World War I and 464 during World War II. 135 were earned in Korea and 247 in Viet Nam. Four Medal of Honor have been awarded to service members serving in Iraq, and seven more for actions in Afghanistan. I found seven Montanans listed among the recipients:John McLennon- 1877

Cornelius Cole Smith – 1891

John E. Moran – 1910

William Wylie Galt – 1945

Laverne Parrish – 1945

Leo J. Powers – 1945

Donald Jack Ruhl – 1945

Henry Schauer – 1944

In all, twenty Medal of Honor recipients are buried in Montana, including several in the Custer National Cemetary at Little Big Horn National Monument.

A couple of interesting notes:

Living Medal of Honor Recipients receive invitations to all Presidential inaugurations and inaugural balls.

Although not required, members of the military of all ranks are encouraged to offer a salute to recipients wearing their Medal of Honor, whether in uniform or civilian dress. It is the only time a service member would be saluted by a member of higher rank.


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