President Barack Obama honored 24 brave Americans who were awarded the Medal of Honor for their valor and heroism in service to their country. The veterans span three wars, World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. The individuals were uncovered by a Congressional-mandated review to determine if anybody was overlooked for the award based on race or other factors. Of those 6,505 that were reviewed, 24 were deemed to have originally been overlooked and will now receive the award!
Months after enlisting in the U.S. Army in 1944, Pedro Cano found himself in a German forest, surrounded by Nazi soldiers. He sent nearly 30 to their deaths and lived to tell about it.
Joe Gandara found himself and his Army detachment pinned by enemy fire in Amfreville, France. After four hours, the 20-year-old ran alone toward the Nazi machine gunners, taking out three before being killed.
Leonard Kravitz’s unit was overrun by enemy troops in Korea in 1951. He stayed at his machine gun position long enough to give his fellow soldiers cover to retreat. Many of them survived, though Kravitz, who was just 20, did not.
Their stories are among 24 true tales of bravery and heroism that will be honored today when President Obama awards two dozen Medals of Honor to 24 Army veterans — mostly Jewish, Hispanic or African-American — who fought in World War II, Korea and Vietnam. The Tuesday ceremony follows a congressionally-mandated review to ensure that eligible recipients were not bypassed due to prejudice. Some 6,505 winners of the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second-highest military award, were reviewed, with 24 singled out for the Medal of Honor.
Eight of the soldiers served in Vietnam, nine in the Korean War and seven in World War II. Three of the soldiers are still living.
“I never really did worry about decorations,” said Melvin Morris of Cocoa, Fla., who was commended for courageous actions while a staff sergeant during combat operations on Sept. 17, 1969, in the vicinity of Chi Lang, South Vietnam.