Frequently Asked Questions

Questions and Answers
Has a woman ever been awarded the Medal of Honor?
Yes, Mary Walker was the only woman awarded the Medal of Honor at Bull Run on July 21,1861
Who was the only Coast Guard Medal of Honor recipient?
Douglas Munro was the only Coast Guard recipient. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions at Point Cruz, Guadalcanal, on September 27, 1942.
How many Air Force Medal of Honor recipients are there?
Since the formation of a separate Air Force in 1947 there have been eighteen recipients. Prior to 1963 members of the Army Air Corps and the Air Force were awarded the Army Medal. In 1963 the Air Force acquired its own MOH design.
How many double recipients are there?
There are nineteen double recipients.
Is it required to be a U.S. citizen in order to be awarded the Medal of Honor?
It is not required to be a U.S. citizen, but you must be in the U.S. military in order to qualify for the Medal of Honor.
Who was the first recipient?
The earliest actions for which the Medal was awarded took place before the Civil War had even begun, February 13-14, 1861 in what is now Arizona. Bernard J.D. Irwin was an Assistant Surgeon in the Army when he voluntarily led a command of troops to relieve a surrounded detachment of the 7th Infantry. Irwin’s Medal was not awarded until January 24,1894, over 30 years after he had performed his deed. But on March 25, 1863 Pvt. Jacob Parrott was the first of a group of 6 men awarded the Medal for their actions in "The Great Locomotive Chase" in April 1862. They were the first ever to wear the Medal of Honor.
Who was the first African-American recipient?
William Carney was the first African-American recipient. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on July 18,1863 at Fort Wagner, SC.
Is the Medal of Honor only awarded to enlisted personnel?
Originally the Medal of Honor was only presented to the enlisted, but on March 3, 1863 this was extended to officers as well.
Is it illegal to sell the Medal of Honor?
It is illegal to buy, sell, barter, or manufacture any decorations or medals authorized by Congress for the United States armed forces. 

In General.— Whoever knowingly purchases, attempts to purchase, solicits for purchase, mails, ships, imports, exports, produces blank certificates of receipt for, manufactures, sells, attempts to sell, advertises for sale, trades, barters, or exchanges for anything of value any decoration or medal authorized by Congress for the armed forces of the United States, or any of the service medals or badges awarded to the members of such forces, or the ribbon, button, or rosette of any such badge, decoration or medal, or any colorable imitation thereof, except when authorized under regulations made pursuant to law, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.

Title 18 U.S. Code § 704 (Public Law 113-296).
What are the guidelines for which the medal could be awarded?
On July 25,1963 Congress established a set of guidelines under which the Medal of Honor could be awarded:
    a.)   while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States;
    b.)   while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or,
    c.)   while serving with friendly forces engaged in armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.
What was the last action that was recognized with the Medal of Honor?
On June 1, 2007 Staff Sergeant Travis W. Atkins performed a heroic action in Iraq.

How many minority recipients of the MOH have been awarded (African-American, Hispanic-American, Asian-American and Native-American)?
There have been 88 African-American MOH Recipients.
There have been 59 Hispanic-American MOH Recipients.
There have been 33 Asian-American MOH Recipients.
There have been 32 Native-American MOH Recipients.