SHAKO: Database Created for Highest Valor Medals
To Discourage Stealing Valor
The site — http://valor.defense.gov — is designed to honor the highest valor medal winners in the Army, Navy Marine Corps, Air Force and Coast Guard since Sept. 11, 2001.
Recognizing those who have served so honorably remains the crux of the department’s effort, said Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, adding: “One of the most important things we can do for all veterans is to honor the service of those who have gone above and beyond the call of duty.”
Those who received the Medal of Honor, the Army’s Distinguished Service Cross, the Navy Cross(also awarded to Marines) and the Air Force Cross will be listed on the site. Eventually the database will be expanded to include the other awards, starting with the Silver Star medal, the nation’s third-highest military decoration for bravery.
Erin C. Conaton, undersecretary of defense for personnel and readiness said the Pentagon is “working quickly to compile accurate information on the heroes of the post-9/11 conflicts. At the same time, we will work with the military services to identify and seek to address the challenges associated with compiling data from earlier conflicts.”
The Defense Department created the website about a week ago after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled the Stolen Valor Act of 2005 was unconstitutional. That legislation made it a crime to falsely claim that one had been awarded military decorations for bravery.
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SHAKO is an occasional 4GWAR posting on military history, traditions and culture. For the uninitiated, a shako is the tall, billed headgear worn by many armies from the Napoleonic era to about the time of the American Civil War. It remains a part of the dress or parade uniform of several military organizations like the corps of cadets at the U.S. Military Academy, West Point, New York.