The Medal of Honor

The Medal of Honor is the nation’s highest medal for valor in combat that can be awarded to members of the armed forces.

The medal was first authorized in 1861 for Sailors and Marines, and the following year for Soldiers as well. Since then, more than 3,500 Medals of Honor have been awarded to members of all Department of Defense services.

Medals of Honor are awarded sparingly and are bestowed only to the bravest of the brave; and that courage must be well documented.

There are only 71 living recipients of the Medal of Honor. This week on veterans Radio we have the privilege of talking with two of Michigan’s newest Medal of Honor recipients. Vietnam veterans LTC (ret)Charles “Chuck” Kettles and Army medic Pfc.James McCloughan.

MEdal of Honor Charles Kettles Vietnam ArmyLTC (ret) Charles “Chuck” Kettles

“During the early morning hours of May 15, 1967, personnel of the 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, were ambushed in the Song Tra Cau riverbed by an estimated battalion-sized force of the North Vietnamese army with numerous automatic weapons, machine guns, mortars and recoilless rifles. Upon learning that the 1st Brigade had suffered casualties during an intense firefight with the enemy, then-Maj. Charles S. Kettles, volunteered to lead a flight of six UH-1D helicopters from the 176th Aviation Company (Minutemen) to carry reinforcements to the embattled force and to evacuate wounded personnel. As the flight approached the landing zone, it came under heavy enemy attack. Deadly fire was received from multiple directions and soldiers were hit and killed before they could reach the arriving lift helicopters…”.Read his entire citation here.

Medal of Honor James McCloughan Army Vietnam

PFC James C. McCloughan

And Army medic James McCloughan: “Private First Class James C. McCloughan distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty from May 13 – 15, 1969, while serving as a combat medic with Company C, 3d Battalion, 21st Infantry, 196th Light Infantry Brigade, Americal Division. The company air assaulted into an area near Tam Ky and Nui Yon Hill. On May 13th, with complete disregard for his life, he ran 100 meters in an open field through heavy fire to rescue a comrade too injured to move and carried him to safety” Read his entire citation here.

 

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All Gave Some. Some Gave All. Always Remember

National Medal of Honor Day

The United States Congress has designated March 25th of each year as National Medal of Honor Day, a day dedicated to Medal of Honor recipients. (Public Law 101-564) 

The date of March 25th was chosen to highlight this special day because it was on March 25, 1863, that the first Medals of Honor were presented to six members of Andrews’ Raiders, all soldiers from Ohio. 

On our site there are readings of Medal of Honor stories,  produced and recorded by Ken Rogge for Veterans Radio. Click on the MORE INFORMATION button to listen to these stories.