How long it is going to be before we award an MoH to a living recipient?
Now, before everyone gets all crazy about what I am talking about here, let me explain.
I have seen the complaint by many in the blogosphere and elsewhere that based on the number of years at war with the Islamofascists and the number of MoH's awarded (in comparison to the other conflicts we have fought), that we are way behind in recognizing our heroes for their selfless acts of heroism that give of themselves for their country, and for the men and women who are standing next to them on that midnight raid or walking patrol somewhere outside the wire.
And for years, the military has unfortunately suffered from a belief that medal quotas are the way to ensure that medals and awards are fairly awarded, and not cheapened by giving everyone some shiny metal and colored ribbon. I fail to see how a quota is fair or equitable, that may be a whole other topic though. I was on a deployment once that the criteria was actually spelled out the break down via rank about who would be awarded what; E1 - E4 got an Achievement medal, E5 - E6 got a Commendation Medal, E7 and Above got a Meritorious Service Medal.
My problem with that was (and still is), what if an E-3 did something to deserve a Meritorious Service Medal? Would he get it? Some sacrifices or actions above and beyond the call are more worthy than any others; and because of some artificial limit on how many medals or awards can be awarded and who they can be awarded to, someone who deserves an award may not be recognized.
Many of us in the military have been the victim of this, and yes, it sucks. But I don't do it for the ribbons or the medals, and many of the soldiers I have served with feel the same. Additionally, the sacrifices of Jason L. Dunham, Paul R. Smith, Mike Murphy, and now, Mike Monsoor are not to be in any way minimized or pushed aside based upon the comparison of their actions to the actions of others in combat. The heroic individual actions that this medal are awarded for cannot be quantified or added up to get a definite answer.
And that is exactly my point. You just know what it takes to get the MoH when you see it.
For instance, would something like this merit an MoH?
I found this on the CJTF-82 Website under the "Heroes" area. Recently, Army Medic Sgt Robert Fortner of 2/B/1-91 CAV, 173rd Airborne Brigade Combat Team performed the following in Afghanistan on 27 July 2007 near Saret Koleh Village in Nuristan Province.
An American patrol near the village of Saret Koleh, Nuristan, came under fire from more than 100 insurgents dug into high ground on either side of the road. Turning his attention to two troopers wounded in the initial volley, Sergeant Fortner moved forward up the mountainside to treat the wounded where they fell. After removing a machinegun bullet from his own arm, Sergeant Fortner continued to treat and evacuate casualties, refusing medical aid and insisting on staying with his platoon. Sergeant Fortner continued to treat casualties in the engagement area, at times crawling on his belly to avoid the withering enemy fire, and refusing evacuation until all the other casualties were extracted.
Sergeant Fortner’s extraordinary heroism and medical aid rendered under enemy fire, saved the lives of more than 10 of his comrades and represents the finest traditions of heroism in combat.
I don't know if his chain of command has nominated him for an MoH, but they should. If he was my soldier, I would. I think personally that this Sergeant deserves some serious consideration for the award.
And just for a point of reference on medics who have received the MoH, here are some excerpts of citations from the AMEDD website for the MoH awarded to medics throughout the history of the Medal...
This one from Vietnam...
Disregarding the intense enemy fire and ground assault, Private Kays began moving toward the perimeter to assist his fallen comrades. In doing so he became the target of concentrated enemy fire and explosive charges, one of which severed the lower portion of his left leg. After applying a tourniquet to his leg, Private Kays moved to the fire-swept perimeter, administered medical aid to one of the wounded, and helped move him to an area of relative safety. Despite his severe wound and excruciating pain, Private Kays returned to the perimeter in search of other wounded men. He treated another wounded comrade, and, using his own body as a shield against enemy bullets and fragments, moved him to safety. Although weakened from a great loss of blood, Private Kays resumed his heroic lifesaving efforts by moving beyond the company's perimeter into enemy-held territory to treat a wounded American lying there. Only after his fellow wounded soldiers had been treated and evacuated did Private Kays allow his own wounds to be treated.
or this one from WWII...
PFC Hawks, nevertheless, crawled 50 yards through a veritable hail of machine-gun bullets and flying mortar fragments to a small ditch, administered first aid to his fellow aidman who had sought cover therein, and continued toward the two wounded men 50 yards distant. An enemy machine-gun bullet penetrated his helmet, knocking it from his head, momentarily stunning him. Thirteen bullets passed through his helmet as it lay on the ground within 6 inches of his body. PFC Hawks, crawled to the casualties, administered first aid to the more seriously wounded man and dragged him to a covered position 25 yards distant. Despite continuous automatic fire from positions only 30 yards away and shells which exploded within 25 yards, PFC Hawks returned to the second man and administered first aid to him. As he raised himself to obtain bandages from his medical kit, his right hip was shattered by a burst of machine-gun fire and a second burst splintered his left forearm. Displaying dogged determination and extreme self control, PFC Hawks, despite severe pain and his dangling left arm, completed the task of bandaging the remaining casualty and with superhuman effort dragged him to the same depression to which he had brought the first man. Finding insufficient cover for 3 men at this point, PFC Hawks crawled 75 yards in an effort to regain his company, reaching the ditch in which his fellow aidman was lying.
Both of these men turned out to be living recipients of the Medal. I think that everyone that visits here (with the exception of some of the nuttahs) understand that the level of heroism that a soldier has to aspire to is something that you can't just check the blocks on, and see that it meets the level. This is something that you just know when you see it.
And I don't know if this is the case or not, but if the military chiefs are afraid of the Congress, the politics of the Dems, the Old Media, and the Libtard Left in regards to the awarding of the MoH to a living recipient; then the awarding of this medal to a service member who could tell their story of heroism before the cameras and microphones to the world is being politicized, and that makes said politicization wrong.
I hope that is not the case, and my sincere hope is that some of our soldiers one day are standing in formation on some post somewhere prepared for inspection by their command with their Platoon Sergeant, Sergeant First Class Fortner, standing at the front.
And they get the pleasure of of getting to see a general stand at attention and salute him.
Here is hoping that something like this happens soon....