Politics

Recent Medal of Honor recipients

Updated 12:49 PM ET, Mon July 18, 2016
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Army Lt. Col. Charles Kettles 0718Army Lt. Col. Charles Kettles 0718
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President Barack Obama presents the Medal of Honor to retired Army Lt. Col. Charles Kettles, 86, of Ypsilanti, Michigan, during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House in Washington July 18. Kettles displayed extraordinary daring and bravery when he landed his helicopter in the middle of a battle near Duc Pho, Vietnam to save eight soldiers who had been left behind after an initial rescue mission. He then managed to pilot the severely overloaded helicopter to safety. Jacquelyn Martin/AP
President Barack Obama presents Navy Senior Chief Edward Byers Jr., 36, with the Medal of Honor during a ceremony in the East Room of the White House February 29, 2016. A member of Navy SEAL Team 6, Byers received the Medal of Honor for his role in rescuing an American hostage from the Taliban in Afghanistan in December 2012. Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images
Army Capt. Florent A. Groberg receives the Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama during a White House ceremony on November 12 for his actions in Afghanistan. Groberg was born in France, lived in Spain and later moved with his family to the United States, where he became a naturalized U.S. citizen in 2001. Groberg saved lives when he tackled a suicide bomber in August 2012. pool
President Barack Obama announced on Monday, May 13, that he will posthumously award Medals of Honor to two World War I soldiers. Pvt. William Henry Johnson, of the 369th Infantry Regiment (known as the Harlem Hellfighters), fought off a German raiding party using his bowie knife. U.S. Army
Sgt. William Shemin, of the 4th Infantry Division, will also receive a Medal of Honor. The Army says he repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire to rescue wounded troops during the 1918 Aisne-Marne Offensive in France. U.S. Army
Army Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie G. Adkins is cited for his action at Camp A Shau in Vietnam in 1966, where the Army says he killed 135 to 175 enemy troops during a battle. U.S. Army
The Army says Spec. Donald Paul Sloat shielded his comrades from a grenade blast at the cost of his own life near Danang, Vietnam, in 1970. Sgt. 1st Class Kendall James/US Army/AP
Lt. Alonzo Cushing (center, back row) is shown with others at Antietam, Maryland, in 1862. He died at Gettysburg in July 1863 and is cited for defending Union positions against Pickett's Charge. He was killed during the action. From Library of Congress
President Obama awarded 24 U.S. Army veterans, including Spc. Santiago J. Erevia, pictured, with the Medal of Honor on March 18, 2014. The soldiers, only three of whom were still alive, received the country's highest military award for their courageous actions during Vietnam, Korea and World War II. Erevia was honored for his actions while serving as a radiotelephone operator in Vietnam on May 21, 1969. He is credited with tending to injured comrades when his position came under attack. He then charged the enemy before returning to care for the injured troops he left behind. Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Sgt. 1st Class Melvin Morris was recognized for his heroic actions on September 17, 1969, near Chi Lang, Vietnam, where the Army Green Beret ignored his safety on no less than three occasions, charging into a hail of gunfire to save his injured comrades and retrieve the bodies of the fallen. He was wounded three times as he ran back toward friendly lines with casualties, but he did not stop until he reached safety. from us army
Sgt. 1st Class Jose Rodela was recognized for his heroic actions on September 1, 1969, in Phuoc Long Province, Vietnam, while commanding a mobile strike force. He was wounded in the back and head while trying to save a comrade. He then single-handedly assaulted a rocket position before returning to lead his men. Of the 24 recipients Tuesday, only Rodela, Morris and Erevia are still alive. Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Sgt. Candelario Garcia distinguished himself on December 8, 1968, while serving as a team leader during a company-size reconnaissance-in-force mission near Lai Khe, Vietnam. When his company came under intense fire, leaving several men wounded and trapped in the open, he single-handedly took out two machine gun bunkers. He then joined his company in an assault, which overran the remaining enemy positions. From US Army
Spc. Leonard L. Alvarado was recognized for his actions as a rifleman on August 12, 1969, when he disrupted an enemy attack that targeted an American platoon pinned down in Vietnam's Phuoc Long province. He crawled through a fusillade of fire to save several comrades and advanced on the enemy, laying down suppressive fire before dying from his wounds. From US Army
Staff Sgt. Felix M. Conde-Falcon is credited with leading soldiers in an advance on an extensive enemy bunker complex, later identified as a battalion command, on April 4, 1969, in Ap Tan Hoa, Vietnam. When they came under fire, Conde-Falcon single-handedly assaulted a fortification until he ran out of ammunition. While taking up another position, he was mortally wounded by an unseen assailant. From US Army
Spc. Ardie R. Copas was recognized for his actions in the early morning hours of May 12, 1970, while he served as a machine gunner near Ph Romeas Hek, Cambodia. Copas took to the machine gun on a burning vehicle, laying down fire so four of his wounded comrades could be saved. He continued firing at the enemy troops until he was mortally wounded. From US Army
Spc. Jesus S. Duran was honored for his selflessness on April 10, 1969, while he served as a machine gunner during a search-and-destroy mission during the Vietnam War. When his platoon was ambushed during the mission, he put himself in the direct line of fire to save a number of comrades. From US Army
Cpl. Joe R. Baldonado, a machine gunner, is credited with repelling an enemy attack at Hill 171 in Kandong, Korea, on November 25, 1950 -- an act that was chronicled in the book "Disaster in Korea: The Chinese Confront MacArthur." With most of the platoon out of ammunition, Baldonado laid down withering fire in an exposed position, forcing the enemy to retreat. As they fled, a grenade was thrown that killed Baldonado. His body was never found. From US Army
Cpl. Victor H. Espinoza was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on August 1, 1952, during what became known as the third Battle of Old Baldy in Chorwon, Korea. With his unit pinned down by enemy forces, Espinoza single-handedly took out a machine gunner and his crew, discovered and destroyed an enemy tunnel, and wiped out two bunkers. From US Army
Sgt. Eduardo C. Gomez was recognized for heroic actions on September 3, 1950, at Tabu-dong, Korea, where his company was attacked while readying defensive positions. He maneuvered across open ground to take out a tank. Wounded, he refused medical care and manned his post where his weapon overheated and burned his hands. He stayed at his post, providing protective fire as the troops were ordered to withdraw. From US army
Pfc. Leonard M. Kravitz was recognized for his actions on March 6-7, 1951, in Yangpyeong, Korea, when his unit was overrun by enemy forces and forced to withdraw. He voluntarily remained at his position to provide suppressive fire for retreating troops, which forced the enemy to concentrate their attack on his position and saved his platoon. He was fatally wounded. from us army
Master Sgt. Juan E. Negron distinguished himself on April 28, 1951, near Kalmaeri, Korea, where he refused to leave his post after learning enemy forces had broken through a roadblock and were advancing. He held his post throughout the night, hurling grenades and laying down fire to halt the enemy attack. He held the position until an allied counterattack was organized and launched. from us army
Master Sgt. Mike C. Pena was posthumously honored for his actions on September 4, 1950, near Waegwan, Korea, where he led a counterattack after his unit was attacked. When his troops began to run out of ammunition, he ordered his unit to retreat and then manned a machine gun to cover their withdrawal. Single-handedly, he held back the enemy troops until the early hours the following morning when he his position was overrun and he was killed. from us army
Pvt. Demensio Rivera was recognized for his actions on May 22-23, 1951, in Changyongi, Korea, where he held his forward position during an enemy attack. When his rifle became inoperable, he used a handgun and grenades. He then turned to hand-to-hand combat, using his last grenade as the enemy troops closed in. When his position was retaken, he was found wounded, lying among the bodies of four dead or dying enemy soldiers. CNN
Pvt. Miguel A. Vera was posthumously honored for his actions on September 21, 1952, while volunteering for an assault in the Battle of Mount Baldy in Chorwon, Korea. He and others climbed a bare, rocky slope and got within 20 yards of enemy forces before they were forced to pull back because of intense fire. He remained behind to cover his comrades as they withdrew before being mortally wounded. from us army
Sgt. Jack Weinstein was recognized for his actions on October 19, 1951, near Kumsong, Korea, where he is credited with single-handedly holding his position during an enemy counterattack to allow his men to withdraw. Wounded in the leg, he held the position until a platoon relieved him and pushed the enemy back. from us army
Pvt. Pedro Cano was honored for his action in the Battle of Hurtgen Forest near Schevenhutte, Germany, in December 1944. During a two-day period, he eliminated 30 enemy troops, according to the Army. Sometime later, when his platoon was attacked, he laid motionless on the ground until enemy soldiers closed in. Then he tossed a grenade, wounding or killing all of them. From US Army
Pvt. Joe Gandara was recognized for heroic actions on June 9, 1944, in Amfreville, France, where his detachment came under enemy fire from German forces. The men were trapped for hours until Gandara advanced voluntarily and alone toward the German position, where he destroyed three machine gun positions before being fatally wounded. From US Army
Pfc. Salvador J. Lara was honored for his extraordinary heroism in action on May 27-28, 1944, near Aprilia, Italy, during the Battle of Anzio when his unit came under fire by German forces. He is credited with leading his rifle company to inflict a large number of enemy casualties. He was wounded during the fighting but did not stop to receive medical attention. As the fighting continued, he was credited with saving a number of U.S. troops after he crawled alone to a machine gun pit where he killed three German soldiers. from us army
Sgt. William F. Leonard was honored for his actions while serving as a squad leader on November 7, 1944, near St. Die, France, where he led the eight survivors of his platoon, which had been decimated by enemy fire, in assault over a hill. Killing two snipers at ranges of 50 and 75 yards, he continued to fight even after being shot in the back. He knocked out a machine gun pit. After being stunned by a bazooka shell, he continued his advance and took out another machine gun pit and captured their objective -- a roadblock. from us army
Staff Sgt. Manuel V. Mendoza was recognized for his action on October 4, 1944, in Mount Battaglia, Italy, where he is credited with single-handedly breaking up a German counterattack. Mendoza, already wounded in the arm and the leg in the attack, grabbed a submachine gun and opened fire on German troops advancing up a hill. When the German soldiers retreated, he grabbed a number of weapons dropped in the retreat. He also captured a wounded enemy soldier. from us army
Sgt. Alfred B. Nietzel distinguished himself on November 18, 1944, in Heistern, Germany, where he is credited with holding his position long enough during a German assault to allow for reinforcements to arrive and stop the advance. As the enemy closed in on his position, he ordered the three remaining members of his squad to retreat and get reinforcements while he continued firing. He was killed by enemy grenade. CNN
First Lt. Donald K. Schwab distinguished himself with his actions on September 7, 1944, when led his company over 400 yards of open ground near Lure, France, in an assault that was credited with leaving German troops so disorganized that it broke their line. As part of it, he attacked a machine gun nest, hit the German gunner with the butt of his rifle and dragged him back through a hail of fire to friendly lines. from us army