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To the members of Post 539, I thought it would be fitting that we understand the history of the Medal of Honor. I would like to do this in a number of articles so that we can understand when the medal was established, why it was established, and who are the beneficiaries of the highest recognition by our country.

This medal may be awarded to recognize American Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airmen, Space Force Guardians and Coast Guard men who have distinguished themselves by acts of valor. The medal is normally awarded by the President of the United States, but it is presented "in the name of the United States Congress" and is often referred to as the Congressional Medal of Honor. It is also presented in the field by senior officers of that particular service.

There are three distinct variances of this medal. One for the Department of the Army awarded to Soldiers; one for the Department of the Navy awarded to Sailors, Marines and Coast Guard men of the Department of Homeland Security; and one for the Department of the Air Force, awarded to Airmen and Space Force Guardians. The Medal of Honor was introduced for the Department of the Navy on December 21, 1861, soon followed by the Department of the Army's version on July 12, 1862. The Department of the Air Force used the Department of the Army's version until they received their own distinctive version on April 14, 1965.

The Medal of Honor is the oldest continuously issued combat decoration of the United States Armed Forces. The President typically presents the Medal of Honor at a formal ceremony intended to represent the gratitude of the American people, with posthumous presentations made to the primary next of kin. Additional information concerning the medal will be presented in the following monthly Newsletters.


Dick Seale,

Post 539 Past Commander

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