March 28, 2011
Someone who boasts of a military honor he didn't receive is contemptible, but is he a criminal? Congress thought so when it enacted the Stolen Valor Act, which provided for fines or prison time for anyone who "falsely represents himself or herself, verbally or in writing, to have been awarded any decoration or medal authorized by Congress for the armed forces of the United States. " But the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals has taken the wiser view, concluding that such misrepresentation, however offensive, is protected by the 1st Amendment.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
March 22, 2011 |
"Saints may always tell the truth, but for mortals living means lying. " Those were the words of Chief Judge Alex Kozinski in Monday's decision by the U.S. 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that the Stolen Valor Act is an unconstitutional restraint on free speech and a threat to every citizen who fibs to embellish his or her image, avoid embarrassment or perpetuate a child's belief in Santa Claus. The court struck down both the 2005 act of Congress and the fines and sentence meted out to a Pomona man convicted on criminal charges for falsely claiming to have been awarded the congressional Medal of Honor.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 28, 2011 |
Barney F. Hajiro, whose heroic actions as a World War II Army private during the rescue of the so-called Lost Battalion and in two other fierce battles in eastern France earned him a belated Medal of Honor nearly six decades later, has died. He was 94. Hajiro, who had been in declining health, died Jan. 21 at a nursing and rehabilitation center in Honolulu, said his son, Glenn. The Hawaiian-born son of Japanese immigrants, Hajiro was a member of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the highly decorated Army unit activated in early 1943 and made up mostly of Japanese Americans.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 23, 2010
Melvin E. 'Bud' Biddle Medal of Honor recipient Melvin E. "Bud" Biddle, 87, a World War II infantryman who received the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944, died Dec. 16 at Saint John's Medical Center in Anderson, Ind., where he lived. The cause was not given. On Dec. 23, 1944, Pfc. Biddle was acting as the lead scout for his unit during an Allied attack in frigid conditions that liberated the town of Hotton, Belgium, from the Germans.
November 17, 2010 |
Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, who rushed into enemy fire and pulled three wounded soldiers to safety in Afghanistan in 2007, on Tuesday became the first living soldier to be awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery in a conflict since the Vietnam War. At a White House ceremony, President Obama noted that nearly 40 years had passed since a recipient of the nation's highest award for valor in an ongoing conflict had received the award in person....
October 6, 2010 |
President Obama awarded the Medal of Honor on Wednesday to Army Staff Sgt. Robert J. Miller, who died in Afghanistan after exposing himself to enemy fire and saving the lives of more than 20 U.S. and Afghan troops. Obama presented the award ? the nation's highest military recognition ? to Miller's parents during a somber ceremony in the East Room of the White House. More than 100 of Miller's friends and family attended the ceremony. "You gave your oldest son to America, and America is forever in your debt," Obama told Miller's parents, Phil and Maureen Miller.
October 4, 2010 |
Even after President Obama approved Medal of Honor awards last month for two soldiers who fought in Afghanistan, the number of such honorees from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is far lower than for previous conflicts. Military veterans and at least one member of Congress have challenged the Pentagon to explain the discrepancy, and some critics have accused the military of politicizing the awards process. A study last year by the Army Times newspaper found that from World War I through World War II, Korea and Vietnam, the number of Medal of Honor recipients ranged from 23 to 29 per million troops.
September 21, 2010 |
During a secret mission in Laos 42 years ago, Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Richard L. Etchberger repeatedly braved hostile fire as he helped three wounded airmen onto a helicopter after their radar station was surrounded by North Vietnamese soldiers. Etchberger was the last to climb into the helicopter, but he was killed by ground fire as it took off. Etchberger's heroic acts were kept secret until details about the Vietnam-era secret mission were released more than two decades later.
September 10, 2010 |
The first living soldier to be awarded the Medal of Honor for actions in a conflict since the Vietnam War will receive the award from President Obama in a White House ceremony, the White House announced Friday. Army Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta, 25, will receive the nation's highest award for valor for rushing directly into enemy fire during a Taliban ambush in Afghanistan on Oct. 25, 2007, and pulling three wounded soldiers to safety, according to a Pentagon account. Giunta had been knocked down by a bullet that slammed into a thick plate of his body armor, but recovered in time to fire his automatic rifle and hurl a grenade at the attackers.
September 9, 2010 |
Army Staff Sgt. Robert Miller will be posthumously honored with the rare Medal of Honor on Oct. 6 for sacrificing himself to save the lives of his teammates and 15 Afghan National Army soldiers, the White House announced Thursday. The announcement said Miller "displayed immeasurable courage and uncommon valor" when he died during a firefight in Afghanistan on Jan. 25, 2008. The Medal of Honor, first awarded in 1863, is the government's highest military honor. Miller's mother, Maureen Miller of Oviedo, Fla., said the entire family is proud of Robert's courage and his achievements from his time spent in the Special Forces program.