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Today's Medal of Honor Moment for 28 December

 Today is a very unusual day for the Medal.  There are none awarded for actions on this day.  Which, of course, doesn't mean there weren't any earned - there just weren't any actions where there were two eyewitnesses (other perhaps than the enemy) who survived the action to tell anyone about it.

Medal of Honor Statistics from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.  Notice how much harder it is to get a Medal if you survived the event:
 
 
War
Totals
Army
Navy
Marines
Air Force
Coast Guard
Posthumous
Civil War
15221198307170032
Indian Campaigns
426426000013
Korea 1871
15096000
Spanish American
110316415001
Samoa
4013000
Philippine Insurrection
806956004
Philippine Outlaws
6150000
Boxer Rebellion
5942233001
Mexican Campaign
561469000
Haiti
6006000
Dominican Republic
3003000
World War I
124952180033
Haiti 1919-1920
2002000
Nicaraguan Campaign
2002000
World War II
464324578201266
Korean War
133807424095
Vietnam
2461601657130154
Somalia
2200002
Afghanistan
2110002
Iraq
4211004
Non-Combat
19331855005
Unknowns
9900009
 
GRAND TOTALS34682403747297171621
        

These figures reflect the total number of Medals of Honor awarded. Nineteen (19) men received a second award: fourteen of these men received two separate Medals for two separate actions; five received both the Navy and the Army Medals of Honor for the same action.

Source:Congressional Medal of Honor Society, 40 Patriots Point Rd, Mt Pleasant SC 29464


2 Comments

Interestingly, if you look at the subset of the time period during which other awards were available - basically, WWI and later, when the DCS/NC/AFC and other awards were available, and all MOHs were for combat - there's a distinct shift - but that shift doesn't happen until WWII.

WWI - 124 total MOHs, 33 posthumous, 26.6%
WWII - 464 MOHs, 266 posthumous, 57.3%
Korea - 133 MOHs, 95 posthumous, 71.4%
Vietnam - 246 MOH, 154 posthumous, 62.6%
Post Vietnam - 6 MOHs, 6 posthumous, 100%

The trend, since the introduction of lesser awards for valor, has been an increasing percentage of posthumous awards of the MOH, with the one exception of Vietnam, where the rate blipped downward by about 9%.

A side thought: I wonder how much of the increasing rate of posthumous MOHs has to do with the increasing lethality of the tools of battle?  The advent of truly man-portable fully automatic weapons, ever nastier explosives, air warfare, etc may just be making the necessary level of heroism that much less survivable.  How likely is it that Corporal Alvin York would have survived his heroics, had all the combatants been equipped with assault rifles and RPGs?
 
On the enemy witnesses: I believe there was a Sunderland pilot who got a posthumous VC on the recommendation of the Captain of the enemy u-boot.