Medal of Honor recommendations are usually made within two years of the act of valor and heroism and within three years the medal must be presented to the recipient. In this case, Congress granted an exemption for the President to award the men the metal since the Vietnam War was so many years ago. During the opening speech of the ceremony, President Obama said:
“Even the most extraordinary acts on the battlefield can get lost in the fog of war or the passage of time.”
The President first awarded the metal to Army Spc. Donald P. Sloat. However, Sloat was killed in action on Jan. 17, 1970 and died at 20 years old. His brother, William, accepted the medal on his behalf.
Sloat was awarded the medal for sacrificing his body on a live grenade that was about to detonate to shield the blast from his fellow soldiers, ultimately, giving his life.
Second, The President awarded the medal to Army Command Sgt. Maj. Bennie G. Adkins. There to accept the medal, Adkins faced the audience as Obama spoke of the soldier’s heroic tale.
Adkins was on his second tour in Vietnam when he encountered enemy fire and spent four days trying to escape from the enemy line. During those days, Adkins carried wounded comrades to safety from the battlefield, shielded a wounded soldier from enemy fire, and fought the enemy alone in the jungle…all while wounded.
Thank you to all Vietnam veterans and servicemen and women everywhere.
President Obama awards two Vietnam veterans the Medal of Honor. Find out what they did to deserve the highest honor!