• Vietnam War veterans and Medal of Honor recipients, (left to right)  Spc4 Santiago Erevia, Staff Sgt. Melvin Morris, and Sgt. 1st Class Jose Rodela get applause from the audience during the �"Valor 24" Hall of Heroes induction ceremony at the Pentagon March 19, 2014.  (DoD Photo by Marvin Lynchard)

    Hall of Fame inductees

    Vietnam War veterans and Medal of Honor recipients, (left to right) Spc4 Santiago Erevia, Staff Sgt. Melvin Morris, and Sgt. 1st Class Jose Rodela get applause from the audience during the �"Valor 24" Hall of Heroes induction ceremony at...

  • U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen.Raymond T. Odierno addresses the audience during the �"Valor 24" Hall of Heroes induction ceremony in the Pentagon auditorium March 19, 2014.  (DoD Photo by Marvin Lynchard)

    Hall of Heroes auditorium

    U.S. Army Chief of Staff Gen.Raymond T. Odierno addresses the audience during the �"Valor 24" Hall of Heroes induction ceremony in the Pentagon auditorium March 19, 2014. (DoD Photo by Marvin Lynchard)

  • Vietnam War veterans and Medal of Honor recipients (left to right) former Sgt. Santiago Erevia, retired Sgt. 1st Class Melvin Morris, and retired Master Sgt. Jose Rodela, hold their encased Medal of Honor flags, presented to them at the Pentagon, March 19, 2014, one day after they received the nation's highest award for valor.

    Pentagon inducts 24 MOH recipients into Hall of Heroes

    Vietnam War veterans and Medal of Honor recipients (left to right) former Sgt. Santiago Erevia, retired Sgt. 1st Class Melvin Morris, and retired Master Sgt. Jose Rodela, hold their encased Medal of Honor flags, presented to them at the Pentagon, March...

  • (left to right) Secretary of the Army John McHugh, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Ray Odierno, and Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III, induct the newest Medal of Honor recipients into the Pentagon Hall of Heroes, March 19, 2019.

    Pentagon inducts 24 MOH recipients into Hall of Heroes

    (left to right) Secretary of the Army John McHugh, Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Ray Odierno, and Sgt. Maj. of the Army Raymond F. Chandler III, induct the newest Medal of Honor recipients into the Pentagon Hall of...

  • Medal of Honor recipient retired Master Sgt. Jose Rodela receives an encased Medal of Honor flag at the Pentagon, March 19, 2014, one day after he received the nation's highest military award for valor for his actions in Vietnam.

    Pentagon inducts 24 MOH recipients into Hall of Heroes

    Medal of Honor recipient retired Master Sgt. Jose Rodela receives an encased Medal of Honor flag at the Pentagon, March 19, 2014, one day after he received the nation's highest military award for valor for his actions in Vietnam.

  • Medal of Honor recipient retired Master Sgt. Jose Rodela listens as his Medal of Honor citation is read at the Pentagon, March 19, 2014, one day after he received the nation's highest military award for valor for his actions in Vietnam.

    Pentagon inducts 24 MOH recipients into Hall of Heroes

    Medal of Honor recipient retired Master Sgt. Jose Rodela listens as his Medal of Honor citation is read at the Pentagon, March 19, 2014, one day after he received the nation's highest military award for valor for his actions in Vietnam.

  • Medal of Honor recipient and former Sgt. Santiago Erevia (center) listens while his Medal of Honor citation is read at the Pentagon, March 19, 2014, one day after he received the nation's highest military award for valor.

    Pentagon inducts 24 MOH recipients into Hall of Heroes

    Medal of Honor recipient and former Sgt. Santiago Erevia (center) listens while his Medal of Honor citation is read at the Pentagon, March 19, 2014, one day after he received the nation's highest military award for valor.

  • Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Secretary of the Army John McHugh unveil a display for nine Korean War Soldiers being inducted into the Pentagon Hall of Heroes, March 19, 2014.

    Pentagon inducts 24 MOH recipients into Hall of Heroes

    Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel and Secretary of the Army John McHugh unveil a display for nine Korean War Soldiers being inducted into the Pentagon Hall of Heroes, March 19, 2014.

  • Medal of Honor recipient retired Sgt. 1st Class Melvin Morris receives an encased Medal of Honor flag, March 19, 2014, one day after he received the nation's highest military award for valor.

    Pentagon inducts 24 MOH recipients into Hall of Heroes

    Medal of Honor recipient retired Sgt. 1st Class Melvin Morris receives an encased Medal of Honor flag, March 19, 2014, one day after he received the nation's highest military award for valor.

  • Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Ray Odierno speaks at the Pentagon Hall of Heroes event, March 19, 2014, honoring 24 Soldiers from the Vietnam War, Korean War, and World War II, who received the Medal of Honor the previous day.

    Pentagon inducts 24 MOH recipients into Hall of Heroes

    Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Ray Odierno speaks at the Pentagon Hall of Heroes event, March 19, 2014, honoring 24 Soldiers from the Vietnam War, Korean War, and World War II, who received the Medal of Honor the previous day.

  • Secretary of the Army John McHugh speaks at the Pentagon Hall of Heroes event, March 19, 2014, honoring 24 Soldiers from the Vietnam War, Korean War, and World War II, who received the Medal of Honor the previous day.

    Pentagon inducts 24 MOH recipients into Hall of Heroes

    Secretary of the Army John McHugh speaks at the Pentagon Hall of Heroes event, March 19, 2014, honoring 24 Soldiers from the Vietnam War, Korean War, and World War II, who received the Medal of Honor the previous day.

  • Secretary of the Army John McHugh recognizes the three living Medal of Honor recipients from the Valor 24 group, former Sgt. Santiago Erevia, retired Sgt. 1st Class Melvin Morris, and retired Master Sgt. Jose Rodela, at the Pentagon, March 19, 2014.

    Pentagon inducts 24 MOH recipients into Hall of Heroes

    Secretary of the Army John McHugh recognizes the three living Medal of Honor recipients from the Valor 24 group, former Sgt. Santiago Erevia, retired Sgt. 1st Class Melvin Morris, and retired Master Sgt. Jose Rodela, at the Pentagon, March 19, 2014.

  • Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Ray Odierno speaks at the Pentagon Hall of Heroes event, March 19, 2014, honoring 24 Soldiers from the Vietnam War, Korean War, and World War II, who received the Medal of Honor the previous day.

    Pentagon inducts 24 MOH recipients into Hall of Heroes

    Chief of Staff of the Army Gen. Ray Odierno speaks at the Pentagon Hall of Heroes event, March 19, 2014, honoring 24 Soldiers from the Vietnam War, Korean War, and World War II, who received the Medal of Honor the previous day.

WASHINGTON (Army News Service, March 19, 2014) -- The newest Medal of Honor recipients -- 24 veterans who received the honor decades after their extraordinary heroism in three wars -- have been inducted into the Pentagon Hall of Heroes.

The veterans from World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War were honored at a ceremony at the Pentagon, today, one day after receiving the nation's highest award for valor in a White House ceremony.

"We are here this morning to celebrate the heroism of 24 selfless individuals -- 24 Soldiers whose acts of gallantry in battle merit our highest recognition," said Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel at the event in the Pentagon auditorium.

"We are also here to correct an injustice of history -- to help right 24 wrongs that should have never occurred," he said.

More than a decade ago, Congress mandated a review of Distinguished Service Cross awards to ensure that heroism wasn't overlooked due to prejudice or discrimination.

During that review, the 24 Soldiers -- who are Hispanic, Jewish, and African-American -- were identified as deserving the medal.

Three of the recipients are living: Santiago Erevia, Melvin Morris, and Jose Rodela. They fought in the Vietnam War.

"This induction serves as the largest single induction of Medal of Honor honorees since World War II," said Secretary of the Army John McHugh. "Twenty-four amazing Soldiers who will finally take their rightful place in our Hall of Heroes."

Each of their stories alone is "truly breathtaking," said McHugh.

"But taken together, they really form an incredible volume of history -- one that details the service, the sacrifice, and most of all, the courage of the American Soldier," he said.

The nation is great because of the acts of these men who sacrificed so much for their country, said Army Chief of Staff Gen. Ray Odierno.

"It's an honor for me to stand here today wearing this uniform, representing all Soldiers past and present in honoring our comrades," he said.

"In the faces of our recipients and their relatives, we see the faces of 24 heroes," he said.

The honorees represent a diverse Army and nation, he said. They have strengthened and defended the nation and shaped its history.

"Our nation and our Army are strong because in every war, in every generation, men and women, citizens and immigrants, have raised their right hand to defend the Constitution of the United States," he said.

Each of the 24 heroes is different, whether their rank, age, unit, war, or ethnic or religious background, he said.

"But they all bound together as Soldiers," Odierno said.

They were "ordinary men who, under the most chaotic and difficult conditions, displayed extraordinary courage at the risk of their own lives," he said.

"It is because of men like them, through the generations, that I'm so proud," Odierno said.

At the event, each of the 24 Medal of Honor citations was read as the recipient or their representative stood reverently on stage. The recipient or representative -- spouse, child, or other relative -- was then presented with an encased Medal of Honor flag.

The Hall of Heroes is a special room in the Pentagon that contains the name of each Medal of Honor recipient.

(For more ARNEWS stories, visit http://www.army.mil/ARNEWS, or Facebook at www.facebook.com/ArmyNewsService)

Page last updated Tue June 3rd, 2014 at 13:08