19 Minorities to Receive Overdue Medal of Honor

Pentagon review found they were overlooked because of backgrounds
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 21, 2014 3:39 PM CST
File photo of the Medal of Honor.   (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)

(Newser) – President Obama will award the Medal of Honor to 24 veterans next month—19 of whom were previously overlooked because of their Hispanic, Jewish, or African-American backgrounds, reports the Washington Post. Only three of those 19 are still alive. The move comes after the Pentagon conducted an exhaustive 12-year review to determine whether any vets missed out on the nation's highest honor for valor in combat because of discrimination. They looked at troops who had previously received the second highest military award in their respective branches but weren't deemed worthy of the greater honor.

The 19 recipients served in WWII, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, and the Military Times has the full list here. The three living recipients, as per WhiteHouse.gov:

  • Specialist Four Santiago J. Erevia "for his courageous actions while serving as radio telephone operator" during a "search and clear mission" in Vietnam.
  • Staff Sergeant Melvin Morris for his courage while commanding a strike force near Chi Lang, Vietnam, on Sept. 17, 1969.
  • Sergeant First Class Jose Rodela for his courage while commanding a company during combat operations in Phuoc Long Province, Vietnam, on Sept. 1, 1969.

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