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The Living Recipients

of the

Medal of Honor

 

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The Medal of Honor may well be our Nation's rarest "gem", and the men who wear it are certainly our most "endangered species".  Even most military veterans have never actually SEEN a Medal of Honor, much less met one of the few men authorized to display it around his neck.   Since it was established in 1862 at the beginning of the Civil War, it has only been awarded to 3,487 heroes...almost half of them Civil War soldiers.

Since the beginning of World War II, only 892 Medals of Honor have been awarded.  Over half that number died in their moment of heroism.  Only 338 soldiers, sailors, marines and airmen from Pearl Harbor to the Global War on Terrorism have survived to actually wear the Medal.  Today only 79 of them are still with us.   The information below details the 892 Medals awarded from World War II to present.   (There are no surviving World War I Medal of Honor recipients today.)

WWII

Korea

Vietnam

Somalia

WOT

Total Recipients

472

146

257

2

15

Posthumous

274

108

162

2

7

Surviving
Recipients

198

38

95

0

8

Died Since

191

29

40

0

0

Living
Today

7

9

55

0

8

Of 892 Recipients since December 7, 1941

It is often lamented that our Nation needs REAL heroes, role models for us to admire and emulate.   The men who have received our Nation's highest award for heroism certainly meet the criteria.  In an age that worships sports heroes, movie stars, and the rich and famous, Medal of Honor recipients stand out.  Their claim to the title "hero" comes not from athletic prowess, a celebrity fan club, or financial success.  These men attained their title for caring enough about their Nation and their comrades in arms, to risk and often sacrifice their life, that others might live.   That quality of character defines a REAL hero.

WHY DO MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENTS MAKE SUCH GOOD ROLE MODELS?

Beyond the obvious answer to this question are some often over-looked criteria.  First, no matter who YOU are, there is bound to be a Medal of Honor recipient YOU can identify with.  You can find your heroes on the sports field, but deep in your heart you know you can never be like them.  You realize that it is unrealistic to think you would ever have an arm like John Elway, be the size of  "Magic" Johnson, or have the speed of Carl Lewis.  Medal of Honor recipients are ordinary people...people just like YOU...who in one moment of terror found within themselves the character and courage to do the unthinkable.  From 5'2" John Baker, Jr.  (who passed away in 2012) to 6'7" General Robert Foley, these men who define the word "HERO" come in all shapes, sizes, ages, and from every situation imaginable. 

"Poor is the nation that has no heroes, but BEGGARD is the nation that has and FORGETS THEM!"

Imagine for a moment what it would be like to visit Mount Rushmore, and suddenly hear the voices of the Presidents memorialized there.  Imagine what it would be like to hear from and ask questions of heroes like Abraham Lincoln, George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, and Theodore Roosevelt.   Sadly, these symbols of American greatness, no longer can tell us their thoughts, encourage us in moments of despair, or inspire us to new levels of service and achievement.  The few remaining living Medal of Honor recipients may be the ONLY such tribute from our history that still has a voice...yet many Americans don't even know who they are.

Today there are 79 of them, most over the age of 70.  Sadly we are loosing them far too quickly...and it is important that we move swiftly to share their part of our heritage with our youth before it is too late.

 

The Living Medal of Honor Recipients

WWII

Korea

Vietnam

GWOT

TOTALS

Army

5

5

36

6

52

Navy

-

1

6

 

7

USMC

2

3

9

2

16

USAF

-

-

4

 

4

TOTALS

7

9

55

8

79

Living MOH by War

World War II 9 %
Korea 12 %
Vietnam 71 %
War on Terrorism 8 %

Living MOH by Branch of Service

Army 66 %
Air Force 5 %
Navy 9 %
Marines 20 %

The Living Recipients by AGE:

AVERAGE AGE OF 
ALL LIVING RECIPIENTS:

71 Years of Age

Breakdown by Age

Aged 25 - 35 8 Recipients
Aged 60 - 69

26 Recipients

Aged 70 - 79 21 Recipients
Aged 80 - 89 18 Recipients
Aged 90 - 99 6 Recipients

The pages in this part of the Wall of Honor exhibit will acquaint you with the remaining heroes.  You can visit the various pages and  learn more about them.  We've also included TWO very special ideas pages.   One of these two pages provides ideas for schools and teachers to help them with historical lesson plans and projects to introduce their students to our remaining Medal of Honor recipients.  The other page is designed to afford every thankful citizen the opportunity to send their regards to a real hero.

 

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Living Recipients by branch of service: [Army] [Navy] [USMC] [USAF]

Living Recipients by war [WWII]  [Korea]  [Vietnam] [GWOT]

Living Recipients by   [State of Current Residence]

[Birthdays]  [Medal of Honor Action Birthday]

 

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FOOTNOTES
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