List of post-Vietnam Medal of Honor recipients

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The Medal of Honor was created during the American Civil War and is the highest military decoration presented by the United States government to a member of its armed forces. The recipients must have distinguished themselves at the risk of their own life above and beyond the call of duty in action against an enemy of the United States.

Since the April 1975 end of American presence in Vietnam, the United States military has been involved in a number of conflicts and peacekeeping activities, including actions in the invasion of Grenada, Lebanese Civil War, invasion of Panama, the Yugoslav Wars, the Somali Civil War and elsewhere.[1][2] Following the September 11 attacks, the United States entered into a War on Terror against militant Islamists, the War in Afghanistan and the Iraq War.[3][4]

The Medal of Honor has been awarded to seventeen US servicemen for actions since Vietnam. Just eight were presented to living recipients.[5]

The first post-Vietnam Medal of Honor recipients were two Delta Force snipers who defended a downed helicopter pilot in the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu in Somalia; the medals were awarded posthumously.[6]

Recipients[edit]

Somalia[edit]

The Battle of Mogadishu (also referred to as the "Battle of the Black Sea") or for Somalis Ma-alinti Rangers (“The Day of the Rangers”) was a battle that was part of Operation Gothic Serpent that was fought on October 3 and 4, 1993, in Mogadishu, Somalia, by forces of the United States supported by UNOSOM II against Somali militia fighters loyal to warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. The battle is also referred to as the First Battle of Mogadishu to distinguish it from the Second Battle of Mogadishu in 2006.[7] The Medals were awarded to two Delta Force operatives who volunteered to attempt to save the pilot of one of the downed UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, despite facing hundreds, possibly thousands of rebels around the crash site.

      Lavender background and   indicates that the Medal of Honor was awarded posthumously

Image Name Service Rank Place of action Date of action Unit Notes[8]
Head and torso of a white man with dark hair, wearing a military jacket with an assortment of ribbon bars and badges on the left breast and chevrons and patches on the upper sleeve. Gordon, GaryGary Gordon  Army Master Sergeant Mogadishu, Somalia October 3, 1993 1st SFOD-D For volunteering to secure a helicopter crash site while under heavy enemy fire until relief could arrive
Head and torso of a white man standing erect and looking upwards, wearing a military jacket with an assortment of ribbon bars and badges on the left breast and chevrons and patches on the upper sleeve. Shughart, RandyRandy Shughart  Army Sergeant First Class Mogadishu, Somalia October 3, 1993 1st SFOD-D For volunteering to secure a helicopter crash site while under heavy enemy fire until relief could arrive

Afghanistan[edit]

The War in Afghanistan, which began on October 7, 2001, was launched by the United States, the United Kingdom, and NATO allies in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks. It was the beginning of the War on Terrorism. The stated purpose of the invasion was to capture Osama bin Laden, destroy al-Qaeda, and remove the Taliban regime which had provided support and safe harbor to al-Qaeda.[9] Since 2001, twelve American service members have received the Medal of Honor for actions in Afghanistan, three of them posthumously.

      Lavender background and   indicates that the Medal of Honor was awarded posthumously

Image Name Service Rank Place of action Date of action Unit Notes[10]
Corporal Kyle Carpenter Carpenter, KyleKyle Carpenter Marine Corps Corporal Marjah, Helmand Province November 21, 2010 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, 6th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, 1st Marine Division For risking his life by diving toward a grenade in an attempt to save a fellow Marine while their outpost was under attack. [11]
Staff Sergeant Ty Carter Carter, TyTy Carter Army Staff Sergeant Kamdesh District, Nuristan Province October 3, 2009 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division For repeatedly risking his life under enemy fire during the Battle of Kamdesh: administering life-extending first aid to wounded comrade, obtaining ammunition for firefight, helping carry wounded to aid station.
Head and torso portrait of a young white man in a formal military uniform with a U.S. flag in the background Giunta, SalvatoreSalvatore Giunta Army Staff Sergeant Korengal Valley, Kunar Province October 25, 2007 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team For risking his life to save a wounded soldier from being captured. Was the first living recipient since the Vietnam War.
Dakota L. Meyer.JPG Meyer, DakotaDakota Meyer Marine Corps Sergeant Ganjgal, Kunar Province September 8, 2009 Embedded Training Team 2-8 Defied order from superiors and rescued 23 Afghan Allies and 13 Americans in the Battle of Ganjgal.
Young white man in military fatigues Miller, Robert JamesRobert James Miller  Army Staff Sergeant Nari District, Kunar Province January 25, 2008 3rd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group Fatally shot while diverting gunfire from Taliban forces in Afghanistan so that his fellow soldiers could escape.
A white man with close-cropped blond hair standing with his hands in his pockets, wearing a camouflage uniform and a long blue and white scarf hanging untied around his neck. Behind him are a wall of sandbags, a tree and, in the distance, mountains. Monti, Jared C.Jared C. Monti  Army Sergeant First Class Gowardesh, Nuristan Province June 21, 2006 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division Killed while trying to rescue a wounded soldier from intense small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire
Top half of young man in circa 2000 dress U.S. Navy uniform of junior officer. Murphy, Michael P.Michael P. Murphy  Navy Lieutenant Near Asadabad, Kunar Province June 28, 2005 SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team 1 Led a four-man reconnaissance team in a fight against superior numbers, exposed himself to hostile fire in order to call for help
Headshot portrait of a man wearing an Army Combat Uniform and Army Ranger tan beret. Petry, LeroyLeroy Petry Army Sergeant First Class Paktia Province May 26, 2008 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment While shot through both legs, saved his fellow Rangers by picking up and throwing a live enemy grenade, thus amputating his hand.
SSGT Pitts half body shot.jpg Pitts, Ryan M.Ryan M. Pitts Army Staff Sergeant Kunar Province July 13, 2008 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team For his courageous actions while serving as a Forward Observer.[12]
Clinton Romesha 2013.jpg Romesha, ClintonClinton Romesha Army Staff Sergeant Kamdesh, Nuristan Province October 3, 2009 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division For risking his life to save fellow soldiers and organize and repel an attack against Taliban forces during the Battle of Kamdesh.
WilliamSwensonMOHspeech20131015.jpg Swenson, William D.William D. Swenson Army Captain Ganjgal, Kunar Province September 8, 2009 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division For risking his life, under enemy fire, to render medical aid to a fellow wounded soldier, and rescue others and recover fallen comrades, during the Battle of Ganjgal.
Kyle White.jpg White, KyleKyle White Army Sergeant Nuristan Province November 9, 2007 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team For repeatedly risking his life under enemy fire to render life saving medical aid to wounded comrades, and radioing situation reports to enable counterattack and rescue.

Iraq War[edit]

The Iraq War, also known as the Second Gulf War,[13] Operation Iraqi Freedom (US),[14] Operation TELIC (UK)[15] or the occupation of Iraq,[16] was a conflict which began on March 20, 2003 with the United States-led invasion of Iraq by a multinational coalition composed of U.S. and U.K. troops supported by smaller contingents from Australia, Poland, and other nations.[17] Four service members have posthumously received the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq: two from the Army, one from the Marine Corps and one from the Navy.

      Lavender background and   indicates that the Medal of Honor was awarded posthumously

Image Name Service Rank Place of action Date of action Unit Notes[18]
Head and shoulders of serious young man in circa 2000 U.S. Marine dress uniform. Dunham, JasonJason Dunham  Marine Corps Corporal Iraq, near Syrian border April 14, 2004 3rd Battalion 7th Marines Fought hand-to-hand with the enemy and hurled himself on a grenade to protect fellow Marines
Head and shoulders of a smiling young man in circa 2000 U.S. Army uniform with beret, before a large American flag. McGinnis, Ross A.Ross A. McGinnis  Army Specialist Adhamiyah, Iraq December 4, 2006 C Company, 1-26th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division Saved the lives of four soldiers by diving on a grenade while inside HMMWV (Humvee)
Soldier in action in circa 2000 U.S. camouflage battle dress, carrying a combat rifle and wearing sunglasses and helmet. Behind him in the dusty air is a similarly equipped soldier. Monsoor, Michael A.Michael A. Monsoor  Navy Master-at-Arms Second Class Ramadi, Iraq September 29, 2006 SEAL Team Three, Delta Platoon Saved the lives of his fellow SEALs at his sniper position by diving on a grenade
Head and shoulders of smiling man in circa 2000 U.S. Army battle dress. Smith, Paul R.Paul R. Smith  Army Sergeant First Class then-Saddam International Airport April 4, 2003 B Company, 11th Engineer Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division Held the enemy at bay allowing for the wounded to be carried out, died in the process

References[edit]

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army Center of Military History.
  1. ^ Stewart, Richard W. (23 May 2006). "Rebuilding the Army Vietnam to Desert Storm". Center of Military History. United States Army. Retrieved 31 January 2013. 
  2. ^ Bullington, James R. (September 1999). "The Coming American Retreat from Global Military Interventions". American Diplomacy. University of North Carolina. Retrieved 31 January 2013. 
  3. ^ Stewart, Dona J. (2012). The Middle East Today: Political, Geographical and Cultural Perspectives. Routledge. p. 251. ISBN 9780415782432. 
  4. ^ "Iraq War". Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. 2013. Retrieved 31 January 2013. 
  5. ^ "A Brief History — The Medal of Honor". Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ). Department of Defense. August 8, 2006. Retrieved February 9, 2010. 
  6. ^ "Medal of Honor Recipients Somalia". Center of Military History. United States Army. 26 June 2011. Retrieved 28 January 2013. 
  7. ^ Bowden, Mark (2000). Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War. Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-028850-3. 
  8. ^ "Medal of Honor recipients". American Medal of Honor recipients for Somalia. United States Army Center of Military History. June 8, 2009. Retrieved June 8, 2009. 
  9. ^ "The United States Army in Afghanistan". Operation Enduring Freedom. United States Army. March 17, 2006. Retrieved February 15, 2010. 
  10. ^ "Medal of Honor recipients". American Medal of Honor recipients for the Afghanistan War. United States Army Center of Military History. January 7, 2010. Retrieved February 15, 2010. 
  11. ^ http://www.whitehouse.gov/live/president-obama-awards-corporal-william-kyle-carpenter-us-marine-corps-ret-medal-honor
  12. ^ http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/06/23/president-obama-award-medal-honor
  13. ^ "Rescue Operations in the Second Gulf War". Air & Space Power Journal. Spring 2005. 
  14. ^ "Operation Iraqi Freedom". Retrieved August 2, 2007. 
  15. ^ Ministry of Defence. "Operations in Iraq: History of the military campaign in Iraq". Retrieved February 11, 2010. 
  16. ^ Fattah, Hassan M. (March 2007). "Saudi King Condemns U.S. Occupation of Iraq". New York Times. Retrieved May 8, 2010. 
  17. ^ Schifferes, Steve (March 18, 2003). "US Names Coalition of the Willing". BBC News. Retrieved November 3, 2007. 
  18. ^ "Medal of Honor recipients". American Medal of Honor recipients for the Iraq War. United States Army Center of Military History. June 8, 2009. Retrieved June 8, 2009.