Limited Edition Hero Cards to Commemorate Medal of Honor Recipients
The Congressional Medal of Honor (CMOH) honors the brave men and women who serve and protect our country. From Independence Day to Labor Day, Limited Edition Hero Cards will feature a different Medal of Honor recipient’s story of American heroism.
Medal of Honor History
First established in December 1981, the U.S. Senate authorized 200 medals of honor to acknowledge “gallantry in action and other seamanlike qualities during the present war (Civil War)” to recognize the merits of exceptional Naval officers. Originally produced to promote the Navy, today the Medal of Honor is bestowed to all three U.S. military branches including the Army and Air Force as well as the Marines and Coast Guard.
Each deserving CMOH recipient is a distinguished member of the military, awarded for
“action against an enemy of the United States,
…while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force, or
…while serving with friendly forces….”
Since its establishment, nearly 3,500 Medal of Honor recipients have been recognized for great valor, gallantry and leadership while serving their country. Private Jacob Parrott of the U.S. Army received the first award on Mar. 25, 1863, for capturing a railroad train in enemy territory during the Civil War. The most recent Medal of Honor was made July 18, 2016 to Major Charles S. Kettles, who gallantly rescued an airborne infantry unit under heavy fire during the Vietnam War.
The following Heroes demonstrated selflessness and devotion to duty during various conflicts both domestic and overseas.
Week 2: Corporal Freddie Stowers
The only African American soldier to receive a Medal of Honor for his heroism in World War I, U.S. Army Corporal Freddie Stowers heroically gave his life and inspired the eventual capture of Hill 188 at Champagne Marne Sector, France. He served as a squad leader in the segregated Company C, 371st Infantry Regiment, 93d Division.
One of the only colored units allowed to sustain combat during WWI, the 93d Division was assigned to provide much needed reinforcements to the 157th French Army. On the morning of Sept. 28, 1918, Cpl. Stowers led Company C in an advance at Hill 188 near Ardeuil-et-Montfauxelles in France.
As the attack began, German troops appeared to surrender but instead opened fire when Company C emerged from their trenches. Demoralized by the killing of their commander in the surprise counterattack, Cpt. Stowers took charge and encouraged his rifle squad to take out a German machine gun nest. As they advanced toward a second line of trenches, the squad leader was mortally struck after being hit twice but continued to push his men until he succumbed to his wounds. Inspired by his heroism, Company C went on to successfully drive the Germans from Hill 188.
For his final heroic acts on the battlefield, Cpl. Stowers was recommended for a Medal of Honor by his commanding officer not long after. The recommendation was claimed lost by the board until a 1990 review uncovered institutional racism. The Army Decorations Board approved Cpl. Stowers’ overdue Medal of Honor nearly one century after he died in his moment of valor. The medal was awarded to his two surviving sisters.
“It’s been said that the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience but where he stands at times of challenge,” said President George H.W. Bush at the posthumous presentation of the Medal of Honor. “On Sept. 28, 1918, Cpl. Freddie Stowers stood poised on the edge of such a challenge and summoned his mettle and his courage.”
Cpl. Freddie Stowers was laid to rest at the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery and Memorial.
Week 1: Petty Officer Douglas Albert Munro
Petty Officer Douglas Albert Munro was the first and only U.S. Coast Guard member to earn a Medal of Honor. Originally from Vancouver, Canada, Officer Munro served as a signalman first class for the U.S. Coast Guard during World War II. The Medal of Honor was posthumously bestowed upon the young Canadian for his final valiant acts in organizing the successful evacuation of Marines stranded in the Solomon Islands.
On Sept. 27, 1942, the 7th Marines planned an advance to drive Japanese troops from the beach at Point Cruz Guadalcanal, where the enemy forces were building a strategically located airfield in the South Pacific.
In an unanticipated ambush, three companies landing at Point Cruz to overtake the beach were struck by a Japanese bombing raid and overwhelming gunfire. Answering the frantic call for help, Petty Officer Munro volunteered to lead a small force back to shore, positioning his own exposed craft as a barrier to provide desperately needed cover for nearly 500 Marines. As the Coast Guard was completing the withdrawal of the 7th Marines, Petty Officer Munro was struck in the base of the skull and died before reaching the operating base, just two weeks before his 23rd birthday
Petty Officer Douglas Albert Munro was posthumously awarded a Medal of Honor for nobly carrying out the Coast Guard motto of “Semper Paratus,” or “Always Ready.”
To collect all Limited Edition Hero Cards, shop at overnightprints.com between July 4 and September 4.