The Marine Corps Medal Of Honor

The Navy and Marine Corps' Medal of Honor is our country's oldest continuously awarded decoration, even though its appearance and award criteria has changed since it was created for enlisted men by Secretary of the Navy Gideon Welles on 16 December 1861. Legislation in 1915 made naval officers eligible for the award.

Although originally awarded for both combat and non-combat heroism, the Medal of Honor today is presented for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life, above and beyond the call of duty.

The design of our highest military decoration is rooted in the War Between the States. Crafted by the artist Christian Schuller, the central motif is an allegory in which Columbia, in the form of the goddess Minerva uses the shield of the republic to put down the figure of discord, plainly a reference to the unfolding split in our nation. The design is encircled by 38 stars, representing the states of the Union at the time of the outbreak of the Civil War.

The illustration shows the evolution of the medal's design since 1861. In the top row, left, is the original 1861 design, which largely mirrors the Army design but was created six months earlier. In the top center and right is the ribbon design that debuted in the 1896 and was awarded from the Spanish-American War until World War I. At lower left is the "Tiffany Cross" Medal of Honor created for combat heroism award. At lower right is the medal design that was instituted in 1942 and, with minor modification, serves to this day. The 1942 changes also streamlined award criteria and made the Medal of Honor an award for combat heroism only.

Posted by admin on Monday 12 March 2007 - 22:14:47 | LAN_THEME_20

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