List of Post Vietnam Medal of Honor Recipients
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List of Post Vietnam Medal of Honor Recipients

The Medal of Honor was created during the American Civil War and is the highest military decoration presented by the United States government to a member of its armed forces. The recipients must have distinguished themselves at the risk of their own life above and beyond the call of duty in action against an enemy of the United States.

Since the April 1975 end of American presence in Vietnam, the United States military has been involved in a number of conflicts and peacekeeping activities, including actions in the invasion of Grenada, Lebanese Civil War, invasion of Panama, the Yugoslav Wars, the Somali Civil War and elsewhere.[1][2] Following the September 11 attacks, the United States entered into a War on Terror against militant Islamists, the War in Afghanistan and the Iraq War.[3][4]

The Medal of Honor has been awarded to 27 U.S. servicemen for actions since Vietnam, sixteen to living recipients.

The first post-Vietnam Medal of Honor recipients were two Delta Force snipers, MSG Gary Gordon and SFC Randy Shughart, who volunteered to defend a downed helicopter pilot in the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu in Somalia; the medals were awarded posthumously.[5]

Recipients

Somali Civil War

The Battle of Mogadishu or for Somalis Ma-alinti Rangers ("The Day of the Rangers") was a battle that was part of Operation Gothic Serpent that was fought on October 3 and 4, 1993, in Mogadishu, Somalia, by forces of the United States supported by UNOSOM II against Somali militia fighters loyal to warlord Mohamed Farrah Aidid. The battle is also referred to as the First Battle of Mogadishu to distinguish it from the Second Battle of Mogadishu in 2006.[6] The Medals were awarded to two Delta Force operators, both snipers, who volunteered to attempt to save the pilot of one of the downed UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters, despite facing hundreds, possibly thousands of rebels around the crash site.

  Lavender background and   indicates that the Medal of Honor was awarded posthumously

Image Name Service Rank Place of action Date of action Unit Notes[7]
Head and torso of a white man with dark hair, wearing a military jacket with an assortment of ribbon bars and badges on the left breast and chevrons and patches on the upper sleeve.   Army Master sergeant Mogadishu, Somalia For volunteering to secure a helicopter crash site while under heavy enemy fire until relief could arrive
Head and torso of a white man standing erect and looking upwards, wearing a military jacket with an assortment of ribbon bars and badges on the left breast and chevrons and patches on the upper sleeve.   Army Sergeant first class Mogadishu, Somalia For volunteering to secure a helicopter crash site while under heavy enemy fire until relief could arrive

War in Afghanistan

The War in Afghanistan, which began on October 7, 2001, was launched by the United States, the United Kingdom, and NATO allies in response to the September 11, 2001 attacks. It was the beginning of the War on Terrorism. The stated purpose of the invasion was to capture Osama bin Laden, destroy al-Qaeda, and remove the Taliban regime which had provided support and safe harbor to al-Qaeda.[8]

Since 2001, 18 U.S. servicemen have received the Medal of Honor for actions in Afghanistan, four of them posthumously.

  Lavender background and   indicates that the Medal of Honor was awarded posthumously

Image Name Service Rank Place of action Date of action Unit Notes[9]
Chief petty officer Edward Byers Navy Chief special warfare operator Laghman province  -

SEAL Team Six For courageous actions while serving as part of a team that rescued a U.S. civilian being held hostage.[10]
Lance Corporal Kyle Carpenter Marine Corps Lance corporal Marjah, Helmand Province 2nd Battalion, 9th Marines, 6th Marine Regiment, Regimental Combat Team 1, 1st Marine Division For risking his life by diving toward a grenade in an attempt to save a fellow Marine while their outpost was under attack.[11]
Specialist Ty Carter Army Specialist Kamdesh District, Nuristan Province 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division For repeatedly risking his life under enemy fire during the Battle of Kamdesh: administering life-extending first aid to wounded comrade, obtaining ammunition for firefight, helping carry wounded to aid station.
SrA John Chapman   Air Force Technical Sergeant Paktia Province 24th Special Tactics Squadron Engaged two enemy bunkers during the Battle of Takur Ghar, enabling a pinned rescue team to move to cover and break enemy contact. Inadvertently, left behind after being knocked unconscious, he was later killed providing covering fire for an arriving quick reaction force.
Head and torso portrait of a young white man in a formal military uniform with a U.S. flag in the background Army Specialist Korengal Valley, Kunar Province 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team For risking his life to save a wounded soldier from being captured. Was the first living recipient since the Vietnam War.
Official portrait coming up. Army Captain Asadabad, Kunar Province 12th Infantry Regiment, 4th Infantry Division For risking his life by running toward a suicide bomber, grabbing him, and pushing him away before the bomb detonated, greatly minimizing casualties.
Dakota L. Meyer.JPG Corporal Ganjgal, Kunar Province Embedded Training Team 2-8 Defied order from superiors and rescued 23 Afghan Allies and 13 Americans in the Battle of Ganjgal.
Young white man in military fatigues   Army Staff sergeant Nari District, Kunar Province 3rd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group Fatally shot while diverting gunfire from Taliban forces in Afghanistan so that his fellow soldiers could escape.
A white man with close-cropped blond hair standing with his hands in his pockets, wearing a camouflage uniform and a long blue and white scarf hanging untied around his neck. Behind him are a wall of sandbags, a tree and, in the distance, mountains.   Army Sergeant first class Gowardesh, Nuristan Province 3rd Squadron, 71st Cavalry, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division Killed while trying to rescue a wounded soldier from intense small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire
Top half of young man in circa 2000 dress U.S. Navy uniform of junior officer.   Navy Lieutenant Near Asadabad, Kunar Province SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team 1 Led a four-man reconnaissance team in a fight against superior numbers, exposed himself to hostile fire in order to call for help
Headshot portrait of a man wearing an Army Combat Uniform and Army Ranger tan beret. Army Staff sergeant Paktia Province 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment While shot through both legs, saved his fellow Rangers by picking up and throwing a live enemy grenade, thus amputating his hand.
Ryan Pitts portrait.jpg Army Sergeant Kunar Province 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team For his courageous actions while serving as a Forward Observer during the Battle of Wanat.[12]
Clinton Romesha portrait.jpg Army Staff sergeant Kamdesh, Nuristan Province 3rd Squadron, 61st Cavalry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division For risking his life to save fellow soldiers and organize and repel an attack against Taliban forces during the Battle of Kamdesh.
Ronald J. Shurer II.jpg Army Staff sergeant Nuristan Province 3rd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group For his courageous actions while serving as a Combat Medic during the Battle of Shok Valley.
Master Chief Petty Officer Britt Slabinski Navy Senior chief special warfare operator Paktia Province SEAL Team Six Senior Chief Slabinski repeatedly exposed himself to deadly fire to personally engage the enemy and orient his team's fires in the furious, close-quarters firefight.[13]
WilliamSwensonMOHspeech20131015.jpg Army Captain Ganjgal, Kunar Province 1st Battalion, 32nd Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division For risking his life, under enemy fire, to render medical aid to a fellow wounded soldier, and rescue others and recover fallen comrades, during the Battle of Ganjgal.
Kyle White.jpg Army Specialist Nuristan Province 2nd Battalion (Airborne), 503rd Infantry Regiment, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team For repeatedly risking his life under enemy fire to render life saving medical aid to wounded comrades, and radioing situation reports to enable counterattack and rescue.
Matthew O. Williams official portrait.jpg Army Master sergeant Nuristan Province 3rd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group For his courageous actions during the Battle of Shok Valley.

Iraq War

The Iraq War, also known as the Second Gulf War,[14] Operation Iraqi Freedom (US),[15] Operation TELIC (UK)[16] or the occupation of Iraq,[17] was a conflict which began on March 20, 2003 with the United States-led invasion of Iraq by a multinational coalition composed of U.S. and British troops supported by smaller contingents from Australia, Poland, and other nations.[18] Five service members have posthumously received the Medal of Honor for actions in Iraq: three from the Army, one from the Marine Corps and one from the Navy. Army Staff Sergeant David Bellavia is currently the only living recipient of the Medal of Honor for his service during the Iraq war.

  Lavender background and   indicates that the Medal of Honor was awarded posthumously

Image Name Service Rank Place of action Date of action Unit Notes[19]
Head and shoulders of a man in U.S. Army uniform, before a large American flag.   Army Staff sergeant Yusufiyah, Iraq Company D, 2d Battalion, 14th Infantry, 10th Mountain Division Fought hand-to-hand with a suicide bomber and used his body to shield fellow soldiers from the subsequent bomb blast[20]
David G. Bellavia (2).jpg Army Staff Sergeant Fallujah, Iraq 2nd Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division For single-handedly clearing three stories of building from insurgents, even resorting to hand to hand combat to complete his task.[21]
Head and shoulders of serious young man in circa 2000 U.S. Marine dress uniform.   Marine Corps Corporal Iraq, near Syrian border 3rd Battalion 7th Marines Fought hand-to-hand with the enemy and hurled himself on a grenade to protect fellow Marines
Head and shoulders of a smiling young man in circa 2000 U.S. Army uniform with beret, before a large American flag.   Army Specialist Adhamiyah, Iraq C Company, 1-26th Infantry, 1st Infantry Division Saved the lives of four soldiers by diving on a grenade while inside HMMWV (Humvee)
Soldier in action in circa 2000 U.S. camouflage battle dress, carrying a combat rifle and wearing sunglasses and helmet. Behind him in the dusty air is a similarly equipped soldier.   Navy Master-at-arms second class Ramadi, Iraq SEAL Team Three, Delta Platoon Saved the lives of his fellow SEALs at his sniper position by diving on a grenade
Head and shoulders of smiling man in circa 2000 U.S. Army battle dress.   Army Sergeant first class Saddam International Airport B Company, 11th Engineer Battalion, 3rd Infantry Division Held the enemy at bay by throwing grenades and returning accurate small arms fire; allowing for the wounded to be carried out, died in the process

Operation Inherent Resolve

One soldier received the Medal of Honor during the fight against ISIL.

  Lavender background and   indicates that the Medal of Honor was awarded posthumously

Image Name Service Rank Place of action Date of action Unit Notes
Sgt. Maj. Thomas "Patrick" Payne Thomas Payne Army Sergeant First Class Hawija, Iraq 1st SFOD-D Rescued 70 Iraqi prisoners in a joint operation, conducted with the Kurdish CTG (Counter Terrorism Group). Payne ran into a collapsing building 3 times to make sure all hostages were out and safe while taking heavy enemy fire.

References

 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Army Center of Military History.
  1. ^ Stewart, Richard W. (23 May 2006). "Rebuilding the Army Vietnam to Desert Storm". Center of Military History. United States Army. Retrieved 2013.
  2. ^ Bullington, James R. (September 1999). "The Coming American Retreat from Global Military Interventions". American Diplomacy. University of North Carolina. Retrieved 2013.
  3. ^ Stewart, Dona J. (2012). The Middle East Today: Political, Geographical and Cultural Perspectives. Routledge. p. 251. ISBN 9780415782432.
  4. ^ "Iraq War". Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc. 2013. Retrieved 2013.
  5. ^ "Medal of Honor Recipients Somalia". Center of Military History. United States Army. 26 June 2011. Retrieved 2013.
  6. ^ Bowden, Mark (2000). Black Hawk Down: A Story of Modern War. Penguin Books. ISBN 0-14-028850-3.
  7. ^ "Medal of Honor recipients". American Medal of Honor recipients for Somalia. United States Army Center of Military History. June 8, 2009. Retrieved 2009.
  8. ^ "The United States Army in Afghanistan". Operation Enduring Freedom. United States Army. March 17, 2006. Archived from the original on February 1, 2010. Retrieved 2010.
  9. ^ "Medal of Honor recipients". American Medal of Honor recipients for the Afghanistan War. United States Army Center of Military History. January 7, 2010. Retrieved 2010.
  10. ^ "Dramatic Taliban hostage rescue earns Navy SEAL the Medal of Honor". USA today. February 3, 2016.
  11. ^ "President Obama Awards the Medal of Honor to Corporal William "Kyle" Carpenter". Obama White House Blog Archive at the Internet Archive. June 19, 2014. Retrieved 2017.
  12. ^ "President Obama to Award the Medal of Honor". 23 June 2014. Retrieved 2018.
  13. ^ "Navy SEAL Receives Medal of Honor for Afghanistan Actions in 2002". DoD. May 24, 2018.
  14. ^ "Rescue Operations in the Second Gulf War". Air & Space Power Journal. Spring 2005. Archived from the original on 2008-03-10. Retrieved .
  15. ^ "Operation Iraqi Freedom". Retrieved 2007.
  16. ^ Ministry of Defence. "Operations in Iraq: History of the military campaign in Iraq". Retrieved 2010.
  17. ^ Fattah, Hassan M. (March 2007). "Saudi King Condemns U.S. Occupation of Iraq". New York Times. Retrieved 2010.
  18. ^ Schifferes, Steve (March 18, 2003). "US Names Coalition of the Willing". BBC News. Retrieved 2007.
  19. ^ "Medal of Honor recipients". American Medal of Honor recipients for the Iraq War. United States Army Center of Military History. June 8, 2009. Retrieved 2009.
  20. ^ "President Donald J. Trump to Award the Medal of Honor". The White House. Retrieved 2019.
  21. ^ https://www.armytimes.com/news/your-army/2019/06/10/medal-of-honor-announced-for-soldier-who-fought-through-three-floors-of-insurgents-in-fallujah/

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