STAND-TO! Edition: Tuesday March 18, 2014


Today's Focus:

Medal of Honor awarded to 24 Army Veterans

What is it?

President Barack Obama will award the nation's highest award for valor to 24 United States Army veterans today. The Valor 24 Medal of Honor awards ceremony is the largest one conducted since World War II.

Seven Medal of Honor (MOH) awards are being given to World War II veterans, nine to Korean War veterans, and eight to Vietnam War veterans. All awards are posthumous with the exception of three living Vietnam veterans, Master Sgt. Jose Rodela, Sgt. 1st Class Melvin Morris, Sgt. Santiago J. Erevia.

While the living recipients will receive the medal in person at the White House ceremony, the awards for the 21 posthumous recipients will be presented to the recipients' families.

What has the Army done?

All 24 Soldiers, receiving the Medal of Honor, were previously awarded the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC), the nation's second highest award. This award is an upgrade of their DSC.

To honor these remarkable veterans, the Army created the Valor24 microsite, where viewers can access biographies, citations, and interviews about the recipients' heroism above and beyond the call of duty. In addition, the Army published exclusive #Valor24 content for each recipient on the Army Live blog and the Army's official Facebook page.

Why is this important to the Army?

A congressional review and the 2002 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) prompted a review of Jewish American and Hispanic American veteran war records from WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. During the review, records of several Soldiers of neither Jewish nor Hispanic descent were found to display criteria worthy of the Medal of Honor. The 2002 NDAA was amended to recognize these Soldiers with the upgrade - in addition to the Jewish and Hispanic American Soldiers.

The U.S. Army is proud of these Soldiers and glad to see their professionalism, service and sacrifice being recognized again - in full view of a new generation. This unique ceremony highlights the total Army's diversity and strength.

What continued efforts does the Army have planned for the future?

In addition to today's ceremony at the White House, Army senior leaders will recognize the 24 recipients during a Pentagon ceremony scheduled for Wednesday, March 19.

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Quotes from Vietnam veterans receiving the Medal of Honor today

(1) I never regret not one day of being in the military. Not one. The bad days are good and the good days are good ... Call of duty, I just couldn't get away from it ... I'm Army. That's it.

- Retired Sgt. 1st Class Melvin Morris, speaking about his strong devotion to duty and commitment to the nation. Morris has 23 years of distinguished service in the U.S. Army.

After more than four decades, Vietnam War hero to receive Medal of Honor

(2) Because you have the mission of giving them orders and they don't come back. I feel better keeping to myself.

- Retired Master Sgt. Jose Rodela, describes a lot of his wartime experiences as "painful memories."

Master Sgt. Jose Rodela to receive Medal of Honor

(3) Don't be a hero ... Just duck and hit the ground and raise your rifle and shoot toward the enemy. Don't try to be a hero.

- Former Sgt. Santiago J. Erevia, instilled in his son a sense of honor and duty and inspired his son's decision to join the Army

Vietnam hero to receive Medal of Honor

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