ZUI this article from the Washington Post:
The Pentagon has recommended that the White House consider awarding the Medal of Honor to a living soldier for the first time since the Vietnam War, according to U.S. officials.
The soldier, whose nomination must be reviewed by the White House, ran through a wall of enemy fire in Afghanistan's Korengal Valley in fall 2007 in an attempt to push back Taliban fighters who were close to overrunning his squad. U.S. military officials said his actions saved the lives of about half a dozen men.
It is possible that the White House could honor the soldier's heroism with a decoration other than the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest award for valor.
The nomination comes after several years of complaints from lawmakers, military officers and Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates that the Pentagon had become so cautious that only troops whose bravery resulted in death were being considered for the Medal of Honor. Gates "finds it impossible to believe that there is no one who has performed a valorous act deserving of the Medal of Honor who has lived to tell about it," said Pentagon spokesman Geoff Morrell, who declined to comment on specific nominations.
George W. Bush similarly lamented during the latter days of his second term as president that he had never had an opportunity to present the award to a living recipient.
There are at least three Medal of Honor nominations, including the one at the White House, working through the system. The three nominees served in sparsely populated valleys in eastern Afghanistan that U.S. troops have abandoned in recent years.
The valleys, which are within 30 miles of each other, are dominated by treacherous, mountainous terrain that frequently allowed enemy fighters to move within close range of U.S. forces before launching their attack. The remote nature of the valleys meant that troops often had to fight for an hour before attack helicopters arrived on the scene to drive back the enemy.
It is perhaps worth noting that of the four Victoria Crosses (including one Victoria Cross for New Zealand and on Victoria Cross for Australia) awarded for Iraq and Afghanistan, three went to living recipients.