1 Examining the Equity 1 EXAMINING THE EQUITY OF THE AWARDING OF THE MEDAL OF HONOR Examining the Equity of the Awarding of the Medal of Honor to Veterans of the Global War on Terror Gary Soots Indiana State University
2 Abstract Examining the Equity 2 Of 848 Medals of Honor awarded during World War II, Korea, Vietnam and The Global War on Terror (GWOT), only 5 were presented to GWOT Veterans. This resulting percentage reveals GWOT Veterans received less than 1% of the total medals awarded and indicates an inequity in the awarding process. Literature from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, the Center of Military History, Department of Defense Web sites and current nonfiction literature were analyzed for relevance. The findings are that GWOT Veterans have received an inequitable amount of awards of the Medal of Honor than veterans of World War II, Korea and Vietnam.
3 CHAPTER 1 Examining the Equity 3 INTRODUCTION "The willingness with which our young people are likely to serve in any war, no matter how justified, shall be directly proportional to how they perceive veterans of early wars were treated and appreciated by our nation." - George Washington As President Washington remarked more than 200 years ago, it is important for our national security and dignity that we recognize the sacrifices of our nation s veterans. One such way to recognize these veterans is through the awarding of the Medal of Honor. The Medal of Honor is the Nation's highest award for valor in combat that can be presented to members of the armed forces. It is used to recognize acts of valor that are carried out above and beyond the call of duty and at great risk of life. The medal was first authorized in 1861 by Act of Congress and since then more than 3,400 Medals of Honor have been awarded (Congressional Medal of Honor Society, 2009). This study was designed to assess the equitable distribution of the awarding of the Medal of Honor during three major conflicts of the Twentieth Century and the Global War on Terror. The three conflicts are World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War. Have the veterans of The Global War on Terror been recognized with a disproportionally lower percentage of awards of the Medal of Honor as compared to veterans of these other major conflicts? If so, then do we as a nation risk jeopardizing the willingness of future generations to serve in times of great need in future conflicts? Is the nation upholding the sacred trust of showing appreciation for the sacrifices of these veterans as President Washington discussed so many years ago?
4 Problem Statement Examining the Equity 4 Since September 11, 2001, there have been five awards of the Medal of Honor to Global War on Terror Veterans. All five of these awards have been made posthumously. Two awards were to members of the United States Army, two were awarded to members of the United States Navy, and one award was made to a member of the United States Marines. While it is good that these awards have been presented, the number of Medals of Honor awarded during the current conflict is significantly lower than the three comparative conflicts. In World War II, 464 Medals of Honor were presented, 133 during the Korean War, and 246 during the Vietnam War (Congressional Medal of Honor Society, 2009). Of major concern is the fact that of 848 Medals of Honor awarded during these four conflicts, less than one percent has been awarded during the Global War on Terror. Research Questions There were three questions requiring research: 1. Is the percentage of awards of the Medal of Honor to the veterans of the Global War on Terror correct? If correct, why do the numbers appear so low? What are some factors that create the appearance of such a low percentage? 2. Should this percentage be higher? If so, what are some reasons the Global War on Terror numbers are so low? Why have there not been more awards of the Medal of Honor? 3. Is the percentage too high? If the percentage is too high, then why do the numbers appear so low?
5 Examining the Equity 5 By researching the answers to these three questions, it can be determined if there has been an inequitable distribution of awards of the Medal of Honor to veterans serving in the Global War on Terror. Significance of Study It is important to know whether veterans of the Global War on Terror are being recognized in an equitable manner to ensure their sacrifices are properly acknowledged. Furthermore, since this conflict is ongoing, it is important to identify if a correction is needed so service members now and in the future will be equally considered and recognized if deserving. To accomplish this one must first determine if the inequity exists and, if so, a formal request could then be made through Congress asking that the Department of Defense research measures to resolve the situation. There have been two similar studies conducted in the past for veterans of World War II. The first was in regards to the absence of any awards of the Medal of Honor to African Americans who fought during this conflict. In 1993 the Army contracted Shaw University of Raleigh, North Carolina, to research and prepare a study "to determine if there was a racial disparity in the way Medal of Honor recipients were selected" (Center of Military History, 2009). Though all five recipients during the Global War on Terror are Caucasian, race is not the central issue for research in this study. However, the Shaw study represents a precedent in relooking disparate awarding of the Medal of Honor. Following the African American project, and as part of the 1996 National Defense Authorization Act, there was a congressionally mandated project to review disparate awards of the Medal of Honor to Asian American Veterans of World War II (Center of Military History, 2009). As a result of these two studies, 28 additional veterans from World War II were added to the list of recipients of the Medal of Honor,
6 Examining the Equity 6 seven from the African American project and 21 from the Asian American Project. These two studies ensured that 28 Veterans, who may have been otherwise overlooked, received the proper recognition they deserved. This study was conducted in the same spirit of equality and it is hoped that Veterans of the Global War on Terror are similarly recognized if so deserving. Limitations One of the factors that may have affected the results of this study is that Department of Defense regulations prohibit premature public disclosure of information concerning recommendations, processing and approval or disapproval actions of the Medal of Honor (Manual of Military Decorations and Awards, 2006). Meaning, that there may be recommendations now pending that would affect the percentages of the numbers of Medals of Honor being awarded. Every attempt was made to use the most current data publicly available at the time of this study. Delimitations The three conflicts compared with the Global War on Terror were chosen for research because the criteria for the Medal of Honor have been the same for all military action from World War II forward. Prior to and during World War I, the requirements for award of the Medal of Honor were different. Additionally, it was during World War I that two lesser but significantly important awards were established. These two awards are the Distinguished Service Cross and the Silver Star, originally known as the Citation Star (Institute of Heraldry, 2009). Prior to World War I there was no option for awarding one of these lesser awards in lieu of the Medal of Honor. By limiting the sampling to the conflicts of World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War, a more accurate comparison was made.
7 Definitions of Key Terms Examining the Equity 7 Medal of Honor is the Nation s highest award for valor during action against an enemy of the United States (The Institute of Heraldry, 2009). There are actually three different versions of the Medal of Honor. In order of authorization they are: 1. The Navy Medal Of Honor given to members of the United States Navy, United States Marine Corps and the United States Coast Guard. 2. The Army Medal of Honor given to Members of the United States Army. 3. The Air Force Medal of Honor Given to members of the United States Air Force. In the context of this research study, the term Medal of Honor is used when referring to one, all, or a combination of the three. Service Cross is the second highest award for valor during action against an enemy of the United States. There are three versions of service crosses. As listed in order of authorization they are: 1. The Distinguished Service Cross. 2. The Navy Cross. 3. The Air Force Cross. Silver Star is the third highest award for valor during action against an enemy of the United States (The Institute of Heraldry, 2009). The Silver Star is awarded to all branches of the United States Armed Forces, no separate versions exist. World War II, with respect to this study, is the period of war beginning on December 7, 1941, and ending on December 31, 1946 (Title 38, United States Code, 2007). Korean War, with respect to this study, is the period of war beginning on June 27, 1950, and ending on January 31, 1955 (Title 38, United States Code, 2007).
8 Examining the Equity 8 Vietnam War, with respect to this study, is the period of war beginning on February 28, 1961, and ending on May 7, 1975 (Title 38, United States Code, 2007). The Global War on Terror is a term used to define the United States response to the terrorist acts of September 11, Since the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, the United States has initiated three military operations (Department of Defense, 2006): Operation Enduring Freedom covering Afghanistan and other Global War on Terror operations ranging from the Philippines to Djibouti that began immediately after the 9/11 attacks and continues; Operation Noble Eagle providing enhanced security for U.S. military bases and other homeland security that was launched in response to the attacks and continues at a modest level; and Operation Iraqi Freedom that began in the fall of 2002 with the build up of troops for the March 2003 invasion of Iraq and continues with counter-insurgency and stability operations. Additionally, with respect to this study, The Global War on Terror is the period of war beginning September 11, 2001 and ending on a date to be determined.
9 CHAPTER 2 Examining the Equity 9 REVIEW OF LITERATURE Introduction Since September 11, 2001, there have been five awards of the Medal of Honor presented to Global War on Terror Veterans (Center of Military). The result is that less than one percent of all awards of the Medal of Honor presented since World War II have been presented to Global War on Terror veterans. This seemingly points to an inequity of recognition. The literature reviewed as part of this study is used to help determine the cause of this inequality. Medals of Honor There are two main sources for Medal of Honor statistics used in this study, the Congressional Medal of Honor Society Web site (2009), and the Army Center of Military History (2009). The Congressional Medal of Honor Society lists all recipients and also lists a copy of their Medal of Honor Citation. These citations provide insight into actions of each recipient at the time of the act of valor for which they received their award. The Center of Military History also lists recipients and citations. Additionally, the Center lists information regarding the special awards of the African American Medal of Honor upgrade project and the Asian American Medal of Honor upgrade project. These two projects are precedent for relooking inequitable awarding of the Medal of Honor. Casualties The Department of Defense publishes casualty statistics for both Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom daily on their Defense Link (2009) Web site. While these daily figures are effective for providing the most up-to-date information on casualties for
10 Examining the Equity 10 both operations, the data is lumped as a whole. The data provided gives information for Military and Department of Defense Civilians killed or wounded. It also separates deaths into two categories, those killed in action and those who died for reasons other than hostile action. What is also helpful is determining the degree to which branch of service has played in the seemly low percentage of awards to veterans of the Global War on Terror. Statistics by branch are therefore needed. For the Global War on Terror, the Brookings Institute published a report on its findings of the Government of Iraq s progress in meeting specific reconstruction benchmarks (O Hanlon, 2009). In this report, there are figures for the casualties by branch of service in Iraq. While this is only a partial listing of Global War on Terror Veterans, it can be used to determine conflict intensity. And, just as there were multiple theaters of operation in World War II, so too are there in the Global War on Terror. The Veterans Administration publishes a fact sheet (2008) listing statistics for all major conflicts since the Revolutionary War. These statistics will be used for data relating to the conflicts of World War II, Korea and Vietnam. The Global War on Terror statistics are not published in this reference. Numbers Serving The Veterans Affairs Fact Sheet mentioned above will be used for determining the number of veterans serving in each of the three conflicts examined in this study. Global War on Terror information will be retrieved from the Brookings institute report also mentioned above. The documents are needed for determining ratios between the numbers of veterans serving in each conflict to the numbers of Medals of Honor Awarded.
11 Conflict Intensity Examining the Equity 11 One suggestion made for the low number of awards during the war on terror is that the intensity of the conflict is not as high as it was in wars such as Vietnam and World War II. However, in his book On Call in Hell, Lieutenant Richard Jadick, a Navy Surgeon participating in Operation Iraqi Freedom, describes the fierce fighting that took place in Al Anbar Province during the November through December 2004, Battle of Fallujah. Jadick discusses how the intensity of the battles fought in Fallujah was on par with the battle of Iwo Jima during World War II (2007). During the Battle of Iwo Jima, 27 Medals of Honor were awarded. Twenty of the awards were presented to Marines accounting for one-fourth of all Medals of Honor awarded to members of the Marine Corps during World War II (Alexander, 1994). Another comparison is between the 1968 Battle of Hue, Vietnam and Fallujah. The Battle of Hue was part of the Tet Offense conducted in February of 1968 and produced four awards of the Medal of Honor (CMOHS). In her interview with Lieutenant General John Stattler, Patricia Slayden Hollis (2006) writes: The battle was reputedly the most fierce urban fighting for the Marines since the Battle of Hue City in Vietnam in If the men who were fighting in Fallujah were fighting as intensely as the men on Iwo Jima and in Hue, how is it that no awards of the Medal of Honor were awarded for Fallujah? Summary This paper has reviewed literature regarding the awarding of the Medal of Honor. The statistics and other documents regarding the four wars in question will prove that an inequity of
12 Examining the Equity 12 awards to veterans of the Global War on Terror. If the battle of Fallujah was as intense as the battle of Iwo Jima and Hue, one must question why these brave men and women of the Global War on Terror have been recognized with less than one percent of the Medals of Honor presented in the last four major conflicts.
13 CHAPTER 3 Examining the Equity 13 METHODOLOGY Study Design The study uses a historical research design to review data covering World War II, the Korean War, the Vietnam War, and the Global War on Terror. Data will be gathered from the Center of Military History and the Congressional Medal of Honor Society regarding the numbers of Medals of Honor awarded for World War II, The Korean War, The Vietnam War, and the Global War on Terror. This data will be used to perform statistical analysis to draw comparisons between the percentages of Medals of Honor awarded during the four conflicts. This statistical information will be used to determine if a significant deviation exists in the number of awards given to Global War on Terror Veterans as compared to the three other conflicts. Population The study s population consists of veterans of the four wars mentioned. These veterans were chosen as they are most closely related in terms of requirements for the award of the Medal of Honor. The population was further broken down into four samples, one sample for each of the four respective conflicts. This was done to create comparisons between the groups in order to determine equity in the awarding of medals among the four conflicts. Variables Five variables were identified for study, one dependent and four independent. The dependent variable is the number of Medals of Honor that have been awarded during each of the conflicts. The independent variables are the conflicts, number of veterans serving in each conflict, number of casualties in each conflict, and the number of years each conflict lasted.
14 Statistical Analysis Examining the Equity 14 Selection of Variables The number of Medals of Honor awarded is the focus of the study therefore it is the dependent variable. The remaining four variables were chosen as they have an impact on the number of medals awarded. Without a conflict, no awards could be presented, so even though this variable has no numeric value, it is important to the study. The number of veterans serving in each conflict is important as it provides a ratio when examined with the numbers of medals awarded during each conflict. To accept the null hypothesis, no significant difference in the numbers of Medals of Honor awarded between the conflicts, these ratios should be somewhat similar, or of little or no significance. To reject the null hypothesis and accept the alternate hypothesis, the veterans of the Global War on Terror have been underrepresented in the number of Medals of Honor presented as compared to three major conflicts of the Twentieth Century, there should be a significant difference in this ratio. The number of casualties is an indicator of hostile action. As the Nation s highest award for valor, the act for which the award is presented must have occurred as a result of hostile action. It is assumed greater casualties would indicate a greater amount of hostile action during the conflict and more occasions for acts worthy of recommendations for the Medal of Honor. The number of years that a conflict lasts may increase the occasions for recommendations as well. Statistics The study will be conducted using descriptive statistics through mean percentages, and standard deviation, and inferential statistics using T-tests. Additionally, through the use of a scatter plot, an initial check can be made to validate the need for this study. By plotting the number of Medals of Honor as a ratio against the numbers
15 Examining the Equity 15 serving by conflict, a quick check can be made for outliers. The ratios for the four conflicts are shown in Table 1. Conflict Number of Veterans Serving Number of Medals of Honor Ratio WWII 16,112, :34,725 Korea 5,720, :43,008 Vietnam 8,744, :35,545 GWOT 1,312, :262,444 Table 2-1 Once the ratios are computed they are plotted as seen in Figure 2-1. Using this scatter plot as a quick check, the Global War on Terror ratio is shown as an outlier. Based on this information it can be concluded that the study is warranted and needed to determine the reason for the disparity. Ratio of Medals to Number Serving By Conflict 300, ,000 GWOT 200, , ,000 50,000 WWII Korea Vietnam 0 Figure 2-1 Data Cleaning Box Plots and Scatter Plots are often used as methods for data cleaning. An outlier as shown in Figure 2-1 may indicate a data error (Rugg and Petre, 2007). However, this is not the
16 Examining the Equity 16 case for this study as the data is primary data being used to compute secondary data. Based on the source of the primary data, it is assumed the data has already been cleaned. Purpose As stated in Chapter One, the purpose of this study is to determine if there has been an inequitable distribution of awards of the Medal of Honor to veterans serving in the Global War on Terror. And, if so, a formal request could then be made through Congress asking that the Department of Defense research measures to resolve the situation. By using the methods set forth in this chapter, the study will show an inequity in the awarding of Medals of Honor to veterans of the Global War on Terror.
17 Conclusion Examining the Equity 17 During the seven plus years of the Global War on Terror just five Medals of Honor have been presented. Although the numbers of individuals serving in the Global War on Terror are lower than in the four wars researched, the ratio of the medals awarded is significantly lower. This ratio is an indication of an inequity in the awarding of Medals of Honor to the Veterans of the Global War on Terror. The veterans of World War II, Korea, and Vietnam have been appropriately recognized with significant numbers of Medals of Honor for their sacrifices. These recipients inspire others to carry on the service that millions have undertaken since the first skirmish at Lexington Green in With so few recipients during our current conflict, and no living recipients, who will inspire those in future wars? If this inequity is allowed to continue will President Washington s remarks ring true? Or can this problem be corrected in time to appropriately recognize those that bear the wounds of protecting our Nation in the current conflict? The information contained in this study points to a problem that can be corrected. It must be corrected for the security and dignity of our Nation.
18 References Examining the Equity 18 Alexander, Joseph H Closing in: Marines in the Seizure of Iwo Jima. Washington, D.C.: History and Museums Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps. Belasco, Amy. (2007) The Cost of Iraq, Afghanistan, and Other Global War on Terror Operations Since 9/11. (Order Code RL33110) Washington, D.C.: Congressional Research Services. Casualty Update. Retrieved April 22, 2009, from Congressional Medal of Honor Society Full Archive. (2009) Retrieved April 22, 2009, from Fischer, Hannah, Klarman, Kim, & Oboroceanu, Mari-Jana M-J. (2008) American War and Military Operations Casualties: Lists and Statistics. (Order Code RL32492) Washington, D.C.: Congressional Research Services. Jaddick, Richard & Hayden, Thomas On Call in Hell: A Doctors Iraq War Story. New York: New American Library. North, Oliver American Heroes in the Fight Against Radical Islam. Nashville, TN: B&H Publishing. Rugg, Gordon & Petre, Marian A gentle Guide to Research Methods. New York: Open Universiy Press. Slayden Hollis, Patricia, (2006) Second Battle of Fallujah Urban Operations in a New Kind of War. Field Artillery (March-April 2006), pg Available: Veterans Administration Fact Sheet: America s Wars.