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American Military Patches, Other Insignia and Decorations of World War Two by Dr. Howard G. Lanham c.2004

Medals of the Second World War

Navy Medal of Honor

Medal of Honor
Navy Medal of Honor

The Congress of the United States established the Navy Medal of Honor on December 21, 1861. Thus, the establishment of the Navy Medal of Honor preceded that of the Army. It has long been recognized as the highest and for many years was the only decoration awarded to sailors and marines. It was not until 1915 that officers were eligible for the award. The award is made by the President in the name of Congress for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity involving risk of life above and beyond the call of duty in action against the enemy. In many cases the award is posthumous.

The design of the decoration has been changed several times since 1861. On August 7, 1942 Congress authorized a return to a design almost identical to the original 1861 design. The ribbon is blue with thirteen white stars and was first used in 1913. The prior version of the Navy Medal of Honor was in use 1919-1942 and included the dates 1917-1918. This may have been appropriate for awards given during World War One, but would have been somewhat misleading for actions happening after 1918. The award is also referred to as the Congressional Medal of Honor.

MORE: Congressional Medal of Honor Society Link
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