Congress Standardizes MOH Process

The 2014 National Defense Authorization Act changed the review process for awarding the nation’s highest military honor for valor in combat. Specifically, the bill lifted a long-standing restriction that prevented a service member from earning multiple Medals of Honor, even if the award was deserved more than once. All military services also now have three years from the combat action to recommend an individual for the MOH, and five years from the date of the action to present the honor, according to the NDAA. Previously, time limits varied among the services, evoking criticism by some members of Congress who questioned the MOH review process for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. However, the bill also approved a waiver to this rule, authorizing the MOH to be awarded to 1st Lt. Alonzo Cushing, who as commander of Battery A, 4th United States Artillery, gallantly fought to his death on Gettysburg’s Cemetery Ridge on on July 3, 1863—the third day of the Battle of Gettysburg during the Civil War.