More than 150 years after he gave his life at Gettysburg leading the effort to repel Pickett’s Charge, 1st Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing is finally on track to get the Medal of Honor after Congress last month approved waiving the time limit for the nation’s top military honor.Cushing served with Battery A, 4th United States Artillery.
The waiver was one of a half-dozen included in the massive defense policy bill — legislation that also began to tweak the Medal of Honor system, standardizing the amount of time a nomination may be considered and removing a cap that, in recent years, had said nobody could win the medal more than once.
Now that the Cushing nomination is officially pending, the Pentagon would not comment on his chances, nor those of the five other troops from long-ended wars in Vietnam and Korea whom Congress also made eligible to receive the Medal of Honor or the Distinguished Service Cross, which is the second-highest honor for a soldier.
Time-limit waivers for the Medal of Honor were also authorised for Sfc Bennie G Adkins, Special Forces Detachment A–102, for actions in Vietnam during March of 1966, and for Sp4/c Donald P Sloat, 1st Infantry Regiment (196th Light Infantry Brigade, Americal Division), for actions in Vietnam in January of 1970. Waivers for the Distinguished Service Cross were authorised for Sfc Robert F Keiser, 2nd Infantry Division (Korea, Nov 1950), Sfc Patrick N Watkins Jr, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) (Vietnam, Aug 1968), and Sp4/c Robert L Towles, 7th Cavalry (Vietnam, Nov 1965).
Whether any of these medals will actually be awarded remains to be seen.
From the same article:
Pentagon officials did say, however, that they asked for two of the changes that could affect current troops.The complete text of the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2014 can be found here.
In one change, the law now allows service members to earn multiple Medals of Honor if their actions merit it.
The other major change was to set a standard time frame for all of the services. The law sets time limits for how long after the combat action someone can be recommended and awarded the medal, but the limits varied among the services.
Now, all of the services will have three years to make the recommendation and five years to issue the award.