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Medal of Honor

Highest award in the United States Armed Forces / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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The Medal of Honor (MOH) is the United States Armed Forces' highest military decoration and is awarded to recognize American soldiers, sailors, marines, airmen, guardians and coast guardsmen who have distinguished themselves by acts of valor.[1][7] The medal is normally awarded by the president of the United States, but as it is presented "in the name of the United States Congress", it is sometimes erroneously referred to as the "Congressional Medal of Honor".[2][8][9][10]

Quick facts: Medal of Honor, Type, Awarded for, Presented ...
Medal of Honor
Medals of honor of the three military departments
TypeMilitary medal with neck ribbon
(decoration)
Awarded forConspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty[1][2][lower-alpha 1]
Presented byThe president of the United States in the name of the United States Congress[3]
EligibilityUnited States Armed Forces service members
StatusCurrently awarded
EstablishedNaval Service: December 21, 1861
Army: July 12, 1862
Air and Space Forces: April 14, 1965
First awardedMarch 25, 1863[lower-alpha 2]
Last awardedJuly 5, 2022[4]
Total awarded posthumously618[5]
Total recipients3,525[6]


Precedence
Next (lower)Army: Distinguished Service Cross
Naval Service: Navy Cross
Air and Space Forces: Air Force Cross
Coast Guard: Coast Guard Cross
Close

There are three distinct variants of the medal: one for the Army, awarded to soldiers, one for the Naval Service, awarded to sailors, marines, and coast guardsmen, and one for the Air and Space Forces, awarded to airmen and guardians.[1][11] The Medal of Honor was introduced for the Naval Service in 1861, soon followed by the Army's version in 1862. The Air Force used the Army's version until they received their own distinctive version in 1965.[12] The Medal of Honor is the oldest continuously issued combat decoration of the United States Armed Forces.[13] The president typically presents the Medal of Honor at a formal ceremony intended to represent the gratitude of the American people, with posthumous presentations made to the primary next of kin.[14][15][16]

According to the Medal of Honor Historical Society of the United States, there have been 3,530 Medals of Honor awarded to 3,511 individuals since the decoration's creation, with over 40% awarded for actions during the American Civil War.[6] In 1990, Congress designated March 25 annually as "National Medal of Honor Day".[17]