This afternoon, President Obama awarded the Medal of Honor to 24 Army veterans in recognition of their valor during major combat operations in World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War.
Each veteran honored today had already received the Distinguished Service Cross – the nation's second-highest military award – but 19 of them were previously overlooked for the Medal of Honor due to their racial or ethnic backgrounds. Today's ceremony follows a 12-year Pentagon review, ordered by Congress, of past discrimination in the military.
"No nation is perfect," the President said at today's ceremony. "But here in America, we confront our imperfections and face a sometimes painful past, including the truth that some of these soldiers fought and died for a country that did not always see them as equal."
At the ceremony, the President awarded the Medal of Honor to three living veterans, and 21 other veterans received the honor posthumously. Read more details on today's recipients here.
Living veterans honored at today's ceremony:
- Specialist Four Santiago J. Erevia
- Staff Sergeant Melvin Morris
- Sergeant First Class Jose Rodela
Veterans honored posthumously at today's ceremony:
World War II veterans
- Private Pedro Cano
- Private Joe Gandara
- Private First Class Salvador J. Lara
- Sergeant William F. Leonard
- Staff Sergeant Manuel V. Mendoza
- Sergeant Alfred B. Nietzel
- First Lieutenant Donald K. Schwab
Korean War veterans
- Corporal Joe R. Baldonado
- Corporal Victor H. Espinoza
- Sergeant Eduardo C. Gomez
- Private First Class Leonard M. Kravitz
- Master Sergeant Juan E. Negron
- Master Sergeant Mike C. Pena
- Private Demensio Rivera
- Private Miguel A. Vera
- Sergeant Jack Weinstein
Vietnam War veterans
- Sergeant Candelario Garcia
- Specialist Four Leonard L. Alvarado
- Staff Sergeant Felix M. Conde-Falcon
- Specialist Four Ardie R. Copas
- Specialist Four Jesus S. Duran