Congressional Medal of Honor Society
Statistics & FAQs
Number of Medals of Honor Awarded
What is the name of the Medal? Is the "Medal of Honor" or the "Congressional Medal of Honor"?
The name of the Medal is simply “Medal of Honor” — the word “Congressional” is sometimes mistakenly used because the Medal was created by Congress; however, the Medal is purely a military award. The Congressional Medal of Honor Society was chartered by Congress, which is why the word Congressional precedes the Society’s name.
Why are they called Recipients and not Winners?
The living Recipients do not view the Medal of Honor as something that was won, like one might win a race. They view the Medal as something that was bestowed upon them to carry as a symbol of the sacrifices of all who have served. In the past, “Winner” might have been used, but out of respect for those who currently wear the Medal, please use the term “Recipient.”
Are most Medals of Honor are awarded posthumously?
No. Overall, only 18.5% of Medals of Honor have been awarded posthumously.
Are the Unknown Soldiers interred at Arlington National Cemetery in Arlington, VA, are Medal of Honor Recipients?
Yes. All four of the U.S. Unknown Soldiers have been presented a Medal of Honor in recognition of their sacrifice and the sacrifices of all who serve the country.
Do you have to be a U.S. citizen to receive the Medal of Honor?
No. You do not have to be a citizen, but you do have to serve in the U.S. military. In addition, there have been at least 764 foreign-born Recipients, and not all of them chose to become citizens. Ireland and Germany are the most common non-U.S. birth locations.
Has anyone serving in a foreign country's military received the Medal of Honor?
Yes – following World War I, the U.S. Congress passed special legislation allowing the Medal of Honor to be presented to the Unknown Soldiers of some of the U.S.’s allies from that war.
Thus the Unknown Soldiers of Belgium, France, Great Britain, Italy, and Rumania [Romania] all are listed as Recipients of the Medal of Honor.
This is the only time members of a foreign country’s military have been awarded the Medal of Honor.
How is a Recipient accredited to a specific state?
A Recipient is accredited to the state from which they entered the military service.
Which U.S. states have the most Recipients accredited to them?
New York: 674
How many Medals of Honor have been awarded for each military service branch?
Marine Corps: 300
Air Force: 19
Coast Guard: 1
Do Medal of Honor Recipients receive special benefits from the government?
Yes. The Recipients receive a special monthly pension, travel on military aircraft on space-available basis, access to base commissaries, guaranteed burial at Arlington National Cemetery, and admittance for their children to the military service academies. Some states offer special license plates and tax benefits.
Is it illegal to buy or sell the Medal of Honor?
Yes. The Stolen Valor Act of 2013 (Public Law 113-12 § 3) makes it illegal to buy or sell the Medal of Honor, its ribbon or its rosette, including replicas or reproductions. The Law also applies to historical versions and designs of the Medal.
Can someone receive more than one Medal of Honor?
Yes. There have been 19 servicemen who have received two Medals of Honor.
Has anyone ever had their Medal of Honor rescinded or revoked?
Yes. In 1916, Congress asked that all Medals awarded up to that point be reviewed to ensure that they met the high standards required for the award.
A review board of five Army generals examined all of the 2,625 Army Medals of Honor that had been awarded up to that point in time. To do so, each award was assigned a number and reviewed along with the documents that supported the award.
As a result, 911 Medals of Honor were rescinded, most of which belonged to the 27th Maine Volunteer Infantry Regiment and President Lincoln’s Funeral Guard. Both of those groups were awarded the Medal of Honor as groups – the review board decided their actions did not meet the necessary criteria for the award.
The board also revoked the Medals of several individuals who were civilians at the time of their gallant actions. As the Medal of Honor was intended for military service members, the board reasoned they were technically ineligible for the award.
Later in the century, the Army reinstated 6 of the awards to civilian members.
Are there classified or "secret" Medal of Honor awards?
No. There are no classified or “secret” Medal of Honor awards.
Presentations of the Medal of Honor follow President Theodore Roosevelt’s 1905 Executive Order stating that “the presentation of a Medal of Honor … will always be made with formal and impressive ceremonial.” They are always presented publicly.
In addition, all citations for the Medal, describing to whom and why it is being awarded, are officially published in the General Orders of the associated service branch. These General Orders are freely available to the public and all service members.
What percentage of Medal of Honor Recipients were enlisted? What percentage were officers?
For the military service members for whom we have ranks, 77% of Medals of Honor have gone to enlisted personnel; 23% to officers.
Is the Medal of Honor the same thing as the Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom?
No. There are many differences. The Medal of Honor is the highest military award for valor in combat. Please see our information page about these prestigious national awards.