The prestigious Medal of Honor has been awarded by the President of United States to over 3,400 recipients. Some of the bravest and the most selfless Coast Guardsmen, Marines, Airmen, Sailors and Soldiers receive this decoration to pay tribute to their acts of heroism and bravery. All soldiers deserve our respect and honor because they do what most of us are scared of doing- putting ourselves in danger to protect our country.
These brave women and men have incredible courage and they survive in the face of adversity and danger. They spend months away from their friends and family and sacrifice everything for the good of their country. They often make the ultimate sacrifice- their life, so they can save a fellow soldier, a civilian, a total stranger and to protect the country they love.
Today, we take a moment to pay tribute to some of these brave and selfless Medal of Honor Recipients:
Jacklyn Harold Lucas
Affectionately known as Jack Lucas, this incredible man always wanted to fight the Japanese. To make it happen he fraudulently enlisted in the forces when he was just 14. In 1945, he found himself in Iwo Jima where he saved the lives of fellow soldiers by hurling himself on two grenades. However, he survived miraculously and was honored with the Medal of Honor for his heroic act.
Ernest E. Evans
Lieutenant Commander displayed one of the most inspiring acts of bravery in WWII. In 1944, he led the USS Johnston, his destroyer, right into a Japanese naval fleet in Leyte Gulf. He refused to surrender to the enemies even when he was struck by the blasts and had his fingers ripped off. Throughout the battle, he displayed amazing bravery, fighting with all he could. Evans’ fate is still unknown since he was not found among the navy survivors that were rescued from the water.
Corporal Tony Stein was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Iwo Jima battle. Along with his battalion, Stein charged into the assault. He stood upright and deliberately drew enemy fire towards himself to save the marines pinned down. He picked up wounded men on his shoulders and ran to the beach to take them to safety. He continued to do the same for 8 more times. Unfortunately, he was killed by a sniper two weeks later.
Kenneth Michael Kays
Private First-Class Kays did whatever he could to avoid being drafted for the war. However, when he found himself in a non-combatant position as a medic, he did something amazing. In 1970, Kays was in Vietnam’s Thua Thien-Hue Province. When a number of men in his platoon were killed and wounded under attacked by the enemy, he ran to help them even when he was hit by explosions and fire that severed his leg. Without any regard for his own safety and even with the unimaginable pain that was suffering, he continued to drag the wounded soldiers to safety. He even shielded a friend from enemy fire by using his body as a shield.
Roy P. Benavidez
In 1968, a battalion of 1000 NVA soldiers attacked 12 Green Berets in Loc Ninh in South Vietnam. When Benavidez heard about the attack he hopped on a rescue helicopter and jumped into the fire zone with just a knife. He was shot four times by the time he reached his fellow soldiers. However, he continued to administer first aid and drag the wounded men to the helicopter. While doing all of this, he threw several grenades, shot several enemies and even engaged in hand to hand combat with a few of them despite losing a lot of blood.
We would like to take a moment to remember these brave human beings. Thanks for taking the time to acknowledge them.
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