Soldier's Medal

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Soldier's Medal
SoldMedal.gif
Awarded by United States Army
Type Medal (Decoration)
Awarded for Distinguishing oneself by heroism not involving actual conflict with an enemy
Status Currently awarded
Statistics
First awarded October 17, 1927
Precedence
Next (higher) Distinguished Flying Cross
Equivalent Navy & Marine Corps - Navy and Marine Corps Medal
Air Force - Airman's Medal
Coast Guard - Coast Guard Medal
Next (lower) Bronze Star Medal
Soldier's Medal ribbon.svg
Service ribbon

The Soldier's Medal is an individual decoration of the United States Army. It was introduced as Section 11 of the Air Corps Act, passed by the Congress of the United States on July 2, 1926.[1][2] The criteria for the medal are: "The Soldier's Medal is awarded to any person of the Armed Forces of the United States or of a friendly foreign nation who, while serving in any capacity with the Army of the United States distinguished himself or herself by heroism not involving actual conflict with an enemy."[3]

History[edit]

A need to recognize acts of heroism in 1922 resulted in the War Department's issuing orders for acts of bravery during peacetime. This led to an Act of Congress (Public Law 446-69th Congress, July 2, 1926 (44 Stat. 780)) which established the Soldier’s Medal for acts of heroism not involving actual conflict with an enemy. The Secretary of War directed that the Quartermaster General prepare and submit appropriate designs of the Soldier’s Medal per letter signed by The Adjutant General dated 11 August 1926.[2] The Soldier's Medal is considered to be equivalent to the Navy and Marine Corps Medal, Airman's Medal, and the Coast Guard Medal.

The first Soldier's Medals were awarded on October 17, 1927 to John F. Burns and James P. Martin[4] for their heroism during a fire and to James K. Wilson[5] and Cleophas C. Burnett[6] for saving people from drowning.[7]

The period of time when the most Soldier's Medals were awarded was World War II (at least hundreds were awarded).

Criteria[edit]

The distinguishing criterion for awarding the Soldier's Medal, per Army Regulation 600-8-22, para 3-13, is "The performance must have involved personal hazard or danger and the voluntary risk of life under conditions not involving conflict with an armed enemy. Awards will not be made solely on the basis of having saved a life."[3] It is the highest honor a soldier can receive for an act of valor in a non-combat situation, held to be equal to or greater than the level which would have justified an award of the Distinguished Flying Cross had the act occurred in combat. Any enlisted American servicemember who is eligible for retirement pay will receive an increase of 10 percent in retirement pay, if the level of valor was equal to that which would earn the Distinguished Service Cross. Additional awards of the medal are denoted by oak leaf clusters worn on the suspension and service ribbon of the medal.[2][3]

Appearance[edit]

The bronze medal is issued as a 1 3/8 inch wide Bronze octagon with an eagle displayed, standing on a fasces, between two groups of stars of six and seven, above the group of six a spray of leaves. On the reverse is a shield paly of 13 pieces, on the chief the letters “US”, supported by sprays of laurel and oak, around the upper edge the inscription “SOLDIER’S MEDAL” and across the face the words “FOR VALOR.” In the base is a panel for the name of the recipient to be engraved. The medal is suspended from the ribbon by a rectangular-shaped metal loop with corners rounded.

The ribbon is 1 3/8 inches wide and consists of the following stripes: 3/8 inch Ultramarine Blue 67118 on each side and the center containing 13 White and Red stripes of equal width (7 White 67101 and 6 Old Glory Red 67156).[2]

Notable recipients[edit]

U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter presents the Soldier's Medal to Alek Skarlatos on September 17, 2015.
  • Edith Ellen Greenwood of the United States Army Nurse Corps (ANC) during World War II was the first female recipient of the Soldier's Medal.
  • Colin Powell, who, during his second tour of duty in the Vietnam War, was injured in a helicopter crash and, despite his wounds, rescued two comrades from the burning wreckage.
  • Marty Allen, USAAF, was awarded the Soldier's Medal for bravery during a plane fire.
  • Otto Kerner, Jr., US Army, was awarded the Soldier's Medal for rescuing a drowning soldier off the coast of Sicily.
  • Henry Mucci, US Army, was awarded the Soldier's Medal for rescuing a soldier in danger of drowning in 1943.[8]
  • Hugh Thompson, Jr., Lawrence Colburn, and Glenn Andreotta were awarded the Soldier's Medal for their intervention in the My Lai Massacre (1968), which included threatening to fire on their own comrades if they didn't stop the killings.
  • In 2001, the U.S. Army awarded 28 Soldier's Medals to personnel who risked their own lives to assist their comrades in the wake of the September 11 attack on the Pentagon.
  • Joseph Yorio, US Army, was awarded the Soldier's Medal for rescuing two people from a fiery car crash.
  • Alek Skarlatos was awarded the Soldier's Medal after thwarting a terrorist attack on a train in France.[9]
  • Peter Tarr Macy, USA, awarded the Soldier's Medal for risking his life rescuing a neighbor from a burning building in Hempstead, New York.
  • Samuel L Wigley, CPT USA Army, awarded the Soldier's Medal for risking his life to shutdown a crashed helicopter on Texas A&M University campus
  • Dan H. Heidenreich (Green Beret) awarded the Soldier's Medal for thwarting a grenade attack ; 1999. Dan was assigned to the infamous 2/505 PIR while earning the Soldier's Medal.
  • Tom Surdyke, a first year West Point cadet, received the Soldier's Medal posthumously after dying while saving a civilian from drowning while on vacation.[10]
  • Laurance Burgess, Air Sergeant (2 Squadron South African Air Force), received his medal from Col. William H. Clark, Wing Commander of the 18th FBW in Korea. The citation read: While Burgess was on duty at the 18th Wing's forward operating location, a F-51 Mustang fully combat loaded with bombs, rockets and machine gun ammunition pancacked in and was in imminent danger of exploding. Sgt . Burgess, with complete disregard for his personal safety, rushed to the aircraft and rendered safe the bombs and rockets, thereby reflecting great credit on himself and the traditions of the South African Air Force. [11]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mooney, Charles C. and Layman, Martha E. (1944). "Organization of Military Aeronautics, 1907-1935 (Congressional and War Department Action)" (PDF). Air Force Historical Study No. 25. AFHRA (USAF). Retrieved 14 Dec 2010. , Appendix 5, p. 126.
  2. ^ a b c d "Soldiers's Medal". The Institute of Heraldry: Office of the Administrative Assistant to the Secretary of the ARMY. Retrieved 2013-12-21. 
  3. ^ a b c "Personnel-General Military Awards" (PDF). Department of the Army. 2013-06-24. Retrieved 2014-02-09. 
  4. ^ "James P. Martin". Military Times. Retrieved October 8, 2015. 
  5. ^ "James K. Wilson". Military Times. Retrieved October 8, 2015. 
  6. ^ "Cleophas C. Burnett". Military Times. Retrieved 8 October 2015. 
  7. ^ ""For Heroism...." The Soldier's Medal". United States Army. February 2, 2010. Retrieved October 8, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Henry Andrews Mucci". Military Times. Retrieved October 8, 2015. 
  9. ^ Cooper, Helene (September 17, 2015). "A Hero's Welcome at the White House". The New York Times. Retrieved October 8, 2015. 
  10. ^ Jahner, Kyle. "West Point cadet earns Soldier's Medal for his dying act". ArmyTimes. Retrieved 7 July 2016. 
  11. ^ SAAF Museum - newspaper article on recipient

External links[edit]