Medal of Honor Recipients
The Medal of Honor is the nation's highest medal for valor in combat that can be awarded to members of the armed forces. It sometimes is referred to as the "Congressional Medal of Honor" because the President awards it on behalf of the Congress.
The medal was first authorized in 1861 for Sailors and Marines, and the following year for Soldiers as well. Since then, more than 3,400 Medals of Honor have been awarded to members of all DoD services and the Coast Guard, as well as to a few civilians who distinguished themselves with valor. Those deserving of the medal sometimes are not recognized for years after their heroic actions. So it was for 22 Asian-American World War II Soldiers, who finally received the Medal of Honor nearly six decades after the war, when former President Clinton bestowed the belated medals.
Private Jose B. Nisperos became the first Asian/Pacific American to be awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on September 24, 1911, while engaged in combat at Lapurap, Basilan, Philippine Islands. He served in the 34th Company, Philippine Scouts. In 1913, he having been badly wounded (his left arm was broken and lacerated and he had received several spear wounds in the body so that he could not stand), Private Nisperos continued to fire his rifle with one hand until the enemy was repulsed, thereby aiding materially in preventing the annihilation of his party.