February 21, 2014, 03:23 pm
Obama to award Medal of Honor to 24 veterans
By Kristina Wong
President Obama will award the Medal of Honor to 24 Army veterans, including 19 Jewish, Hispanic and African-American veterans previously overlooked because of their ethnicity.
“Each of these Soldiers’ bravery was previously recognized by award of the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second highest military award; that award will be upgraded to the Medal of Honor in recognition of their gallantry, intrepidity and heroism above and beyond the call of duty,” the White House announced in a statement Friday.
The act is the culmination of a 12-year Pentagon review ordered by Congress into whether some Hispanic and Jewish service members were discriminated against for the award between the years 1941 and 2001, The Washington Post reported.
The event will mark the largest batch of Medal of Honor recipients since World War II. The recipeints' service spans World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Only three of those to be honored are alive.
The veterans will be awarded an upgrade from the Distinguished Service Cross to the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest commendation for combat valor.
Five of the two dozen were identified as “caucasian.” Military officials said their ethnicity or religious affiliation is uncertain, but their actions were found to deserve an upgrade.