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That few cases make it that far doesn't surprise retired Army Lt. I don't know. But there is a raising of the bar in this force, in everything we do. Soldiers are held to a higher standard in everything they do, not just the Medal of Honor. In the end, however, the integrity of the awards can be marred by inconsistency in determining which actions merit the MoH and which do not.

Nicholas Eslinger was an Army second lieutenant and platoon leader in the st Airborne Division in October when he and his soldiers were on a dismounted patrol in Samarra, Iraq. An insurgent threw a grenade into their formation, and Eslinger sprinted six feet to the grenade, picked it up and threw it back; it exploded as he yelled for his men to take cover.

Leroy Petry. On May 26, , Petry and his fellow Rangers came under attack as they moved to clear a courtyard in Afghanistan.

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Petry was shot in both legs. A grenade exploded and knocked down two of the other Rangers. When a second grenade landed a few feet away, the wounded Petry moved forward, picked it up and hurled it away from his fellow soldiers. But as he released the grenade, it exploded, blowing off Petry's right hand at the wrist and peppering him with shrapnel. The difference between Eslinger and Petry had less to do with bravery than injury. Eslinger was fortunate enough to have more time, and came away unscathed. Petry just had less time to do exactly the same thing.

Then there is the case of Sgt. James Witkowski, an Army reservist who gave his life to save others on Oct. Witkowski was a gunner in a Humvee turret, riding in a vehicle supply convoy to Forward Operating Base Suse northeast of Kirkuk, Iraq. As the convoy rumbled down the road, several improvised explosive devices went off, and the convoy was peppered with rocket-propelled grenades, small-arms fire, mortars and armor-piercing rounds. Witkowski was firing back with the. He kept shooting, then laid his body on the grenade, absorbing the blast. His story is similar to that of Army Pfc.

Ross McGinnis, who was also manning the. Then he covered the grenade with his body.

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He, too, died of his wounds. Bush presented to his parents at a White House ceremony. The process for nominating troops for the Medal of Honor varies slightly among the services, but all nominations are reviewed and endorsed by the chairman of the Joint Chiefs and the secretary of defense before they are submitted to the president for a final decision. Army commanders have forwarded only seven Medal of Honor nominations; all but one were approved that one was downgraded to a Distinguished Service Cross.

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Army commanders have two years from the date of the action to nominate a soldier for the Medal of Honor, while Marine commanders have three years. The medal, if approved for a soldier, must be awarded within three years from when the action took place, said Lt.

A medal for a Marine must be awarded within five years, Freund said. Army Maj. Reuben Jones is now deputy commander for operations at Installation Management Command but served from to as the adjutant general of the Army, where he was responsible for the processing and managing of awards nominations.

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He acknowledges that the awards process is subjective. The process, he said, "is bureaucratic, but I think a lot of that bureaucracy is there to ensure we get it absolutely right. Sometimes it's the service member's chain of command that submits an award nomination, only to later realize that their troop likely should have been nominated for a higher-level award. When the enemy again attacked shortly after dawn, despite his wounds, Sfc. Duke repeatedly braved withering fire to ensure maximum defense of each position.

Threatened with annihilation and with mounting casualties, the platoon was again ordered to withdraw when Sfc. Duke was wounded a third time in both legs and was unable to walk. Realizing that he was impeding the progress of two comrades who were carrying him from the hill, he urged them to leave him and seek safety. He was last seen pouring devastating fire into the ranks of the onrushing assailants. The consummate courage, superb leadership, and heroic actions of Sfc. Duke, displayed during intensive action against overwhelming odds, reflect the highest credit upon himself, the infantry, and the U.

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Gardner's platoon was advancing to relieve a company of the 1st Battalion that had been pinned down for several hours by a numerically superior enemy force in the village of My Canh, Vietnam. The enemy occupied a series of strongly fortified bunker positions which were mutually supporting and expertly concealed.

Approaches to the position were well-covered by an integrated pattern of fire including automatic weapons, machine guns, and mortars. Air strikes and artillery placed on the fortifications had little effect. Gardner's platoon was to relieve the friendly company by encircling and destroying the enemy force. Even as it moved to begin the attack, the platoon was under heavy enemy fire.

During the attack, the enemy fire intensified.

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Leading the assault and disregarding his own safety, 1st Lt. Gardner charged through a withering hail of fire across an open rice paddy.

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  • On reaching the first bunker he destroyed it with a grenade and without hesitation dashed to the second bunker and eliminated it by tossing a grenade inside. Then, crawling swiftly along the dike of a rice paddy, he reached the third bunker. Before he could arm a grenade, the enemy gunner leaped forth, firing at him. Gardner instantly returned the fire and killed the enemy gunner at a distance of six feet. Following the seizure of the main enemy position, he reorganized the platoon to continue the attack.

    Advancing to the new assault position, the platoon was pinned down by an enemy machine gun emplaced in a fortified bunker. Gardner immediately collected several grenades and charged the enemy position, firing his rifle as he advanced to neutralize the defenders. He dropped a grenade into the bunker and vaulted beyond. As the bunker blew up, he came under fire again. Rolling into a ditch to gain cover, he moved toward the new source of fire. Nearing the position, he leaped from the ditch and advanced with a grenade in one hand and firing his rifle with the other.

    He was gravely wounded just before he reached the bunker, but with a last valiant effort he staggered forward and destroyed the bunker, and its defenders, with a grenade. Although he fell dead on the rim of the bunker, his extraordinary actions so inspired the men of his platoon that they resumed the attack and completely routed the enemy. Gardner's conspicuous gallantry were in the highest traditions of the U. Exposed himself to great danger by voluntarily making his way through the enemy's lines to communicate with Gen. While rendering this service he was captured, but escaped; again came in contact with the enemy, was again ordered to surrender, but escaped by dashing away under fire.

    Charged alone an insurgent outpost with his pistol, killing one, wounding two, and capturing three insurgents with their rifles and equipment. While attached to the U. Pampang, Harrison was one of a shore party moving in to capture Mundang, on the island of Basilan, P. Harrison instantly responded to the calls for help when the advance scout party investigating a group of nipa huts close to the trail was suddenly taken under point-blank fire and rushed by approximately 20 enemy Moros attacking from inside the huts and from other concealed positions.

    Armed with a double-barreled shotgun, he concentrated his blasting fire on the outlaws, destroying three of the Moros and assisting in the rout of the remainder. By his aggressive charging of the enemy under heavy fire and in the face of great odds, Harrison contributed materially to the success of the engagement. For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at risk of life above and beyond the call of duty, in action on 8 February , near Carano, Italy. Huff volunteered to lead a six-man patrol with the mission of determining the location and strength of an enemy unit which was delivering fire on the exposed right flank of his company.

    The terrain over which he had to travel consisted of exposed, rolling ground, affording the enemy excellent visibility. As the patrol advanced, its members were subjected to small-arms and machine-gun fire and a concentration of mortar fire, shells bursting within 5 to 10 yards of them and bullets striking the ground at their feet. Moving ahead of his patrol, Cpl. Huff drew fire from three enemy machine guns and a mm weapon.

    Realizing the danger confronting his patrol, he advanced alone under deadly fire through a minefield and arrived at a point within 75 yards of the nearest machine-gun position. Under direct fire from the rear machine gun, he crawled the remaining 75 yards to the closest emplacement, killed the crew with his submachine gun, and destroyed the gun. During this act he fired from a kneeling position which drew fire from other positions, enabling him to estimate correctly the strength and location of the enemy.

    Still under concentrated fire, he returned to his patrol and led his men to safety. As a result of the information he gained, a patrol in strength sent out that afternoon, one group under the leadership of Cpl.

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    • Huff, succeeded in routing an enemy company of men, killing 27 Germans, and capturing 21 others, with a loss of only three patrol members. Huff's intrepid leadership and daring combat skill reflect the finest traditions of the American infantryman.

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      Jenkins then Pfc. Jenkins unhesitatingly maneuvered forward to a perilously exposed position and began placing suppressive fire on the enemy. When his own machine gun jammed, he immediately obtained a rifle and continued to fire into the enemy bunkers until his machine gun was made operative by his assistant. He exposed himself to extremely heavy fire when he repeatedly both ran and crawled across open terrain to obtain resupplies of ammunition until he had exhausted all that was available for his machine gun.

      Displaying tremendous presence of mind, he then armed himself with two antitank weapons and, by himself, maneuvered through the hostile fusillade to within 20 meters of an enemy bunker to destroy that position. Jenkins moved forward to a position providing no protection and resumed placing accurate fire on the enemy until his ammunition was again exhausted. During this time he was seriously wounded by shrapnel. Undaunted and displaying great courage, he moved forward meters to aid a friendly element that was pinned down only a few meters from the enemy.

      This he did with complete disregard for his own wound and despite having been advised that several previous rescue attempts had failed at the cost of the life of one and wounding of others.