Obama to award Medal of Honor to 24 Army veterans

2/21/2014

WASHINGTON (AP) — Seeking to correct potential acts of bias spanning three wars, President Barack Obama will award the Medal of Honor to 24 Army veterans following a congressionally mandated review to ensure that eligible recipients were not bypassed due to prejudice.

WASHINGTON (AP) — Seeking to correct potential acts of bias spanning three wars, President Barack Obama will award the Medal of Honor to 24 Army veterans following a congressionally mandated review to ensure that eligible recipients were not bypassed due to prejudice.

The unusual ceremony, scheduled for March 18, will honor veterans, most of Hispanic or Jewish heritage, who had already been recognized with the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation's second highest military award.

The Army conducted the review under a directive from Congress in the 2002 National Defense Authorization Act. The law required the record of each Jewish- and Hispanic-American veteran who received a Service Cross during or after World War II be reviewed for possible upgrade to Medal of Honor.

The Pentagon said the Army reviewed the cases of the 6,505 recipients of the Distinguished Service Cross from World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars and found an eligible pool of 600 soldiers.

Of the 24, eight fought in the Vietnam War, nine in the Korean War and seven in World War II.

The three living recipients are all veterans of the Vietnam War: Spc. 4 Santiago J. Erevia of San Antonio, Staff Sgt. Melvin Morris of Cocoa, Fla., and Sgt. 1st Class Jose Rodela of San Antonio.

Posthumous recipients:Sgt. Candelario Garcia, Spc. 4 Leonard L. Alvarado, Staff Sgt. Felix M. Conde-Falcon, Spc. 4 Ardie R. Copas, Spc. 4 Jesus S. Duran, Cpl. Joe R. Baldonado, Cpl. Victor H. Espinoza, Sgt. Eduardo C. Gomez, Pfc. Leonard M. Kravitz, Master Sgt. Juan E. Negron, Master Sgt. Mike C. Pena, Pvt. Demensio Rivera, Pvt. Miguel A. Vera, Sgt. Jack Weinstein, Pvt. Pedro Cano, Pvt. Joe Gandara, Pfc. Salvador J. Lara, Sgt. William F. Leonard, Staff Sgt. Manuel V. Mendoza, Sgt. Alfred B. Nietzel, and 1st Lt. Donald K. Schwab.

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AP National Security Writer Robert Burns contributed to this report.

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