Thursday, May 20, 2010

147 years later- a Medal of Honor

Lt Alonzo Cushing is going to be awarded the Medal of Honor for his battery's stand at Pickett's Charge. A noble deed. His first sergeant had already been given the award, so now they have decided (after much lobbying) to approve it for Cushing.

I have a problem with this. I in no way have anything against the guy, but it opens the door to political meddling in such awards.

There was a rule that after X years you just could not qualify for a medal. Then they went back and retroactively awarded them to folks who were possibly denied medals for racial reasons. This opens the door to other retroactive awards. Like the recent move to get a MOH for Captain Winters of 506th fame just as he had been portrayed in a movie.

I guess if I had enough money I could start up a big campaign to get my dad one- drop tons of money on congressmen, make a movie about what he did, have books written, and so on.

A while back I had a conversation with one of the guys who did the basic work on the racially awarded MOH's. He had piles of names of guys who were deserving- some being turned down for being Jewish (seriously), or having drinking problems out of combat.

The most interesting one was a guy who was at first on the list as he was thought to have been Hispanic, then when the committee found out he was half Indian, they bumped him as their mandate was to only find Hispanics to award the medal to.

I encouraged him to write a book on it (and I suggested the title "close but no cigar".

No, I think it is just too dangerous to allow these after the fact awards, with the one exception being if a guy was going to have been awarded it at the time, but the paperwork really did get lost or mis-laid or something.

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