SHAKO: Medal of Honor Controversy
Congressman Asks ‘Why So Few?’
In an Oct. 4 letter to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Rep. Duncan Hunter, a Republican member of the House Armed Services Committee, blames “onerous and intimidating” procedures for the sparse number of service members who have received the nation’s highest military award for bravery, POLITICO reports.
Since the decoration was created during the Civil War, there have been 3,458 recipients. During World War II (1941-1945) 467 medals of honor were awarded. There were 136 recipients during the Korean War (1950-1953) and 248 individuals were decorated for actions between the years 1963 and 1973 during the Vietnam War (1959-1975). But only 10 individuals serving in Iraq and Afghanistan were awarded the Medal of Honor – all but three of them posthumously, POLITICO noted.
Hunter, who served two tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan as a Marine Corps officer, wants the Defense Department to conduct a comprehensive review of hundreds of cases where, he says, the Medal of Honor appeared to be well-deserved but a different medal was awarded.
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.