Five Secrets Behind Military Medals

The United States is the great country it is today thanks largely to the United States Military!

When you ask the every day American who their heroes of the country are, chances are they will say the United States Military!

When someone dedicates their service to the United States Military, they are putting their life on the line every single day. As a way to respect the sacrifices of these service members, the Military has established a range of medals, badges, flags and honors to bestow upon their members. 

These honors are something that service members and their families will want to hold on to and cherish forever—usually becoming family heirlooms. 

But did you know that there are a collection of secrets around various military medals? We are going to reveal the top five to you. 

  • The Medal of Honor does not have another name 

Many people often think that the Medal of Honor has another name, often being referred to as the Congressional Medal of Honor. This is the most prestigious award that the United States Military has offer and is only awarded by the President of the United States. Often, which the President is awarding this medal, he says “…in the name of Congress.” This is where the misconception came that the award is also called the Congressional Medal of Honor. But no, this award has one name, and one name only—the Medal of Honor. 

  • The Coast Guard has a secret award that they have never given out

It is a commonly known fact that the Medal of Honor has three different versions—that being one for the Army, one for the Navy and one for the Air Force. But a little known secret is that the Coast Guard has also had their version government approved. It is just that they have never awarded one of their members with that specific honor. Instead, personnel in the Coast Guard are given the Navy version of the decoration. 

  • One woman has won the top honor

Did you know that only one woman has ever been awarded the Medal of Honor? Her name was Mary Edwards Walker. And for a brief period of time, that award was taken away from her. She was initially given it for her services as a surgeon in the Union during the Civil War and her bravery during the Battle of Bull Run. It was only decades later that the accolade was given back to her. 

  • An 11-year-old once won a military medal

Yes, you read that correctly. 11-year-old Willie Johnston was enlisted in the Union as a child during the Civil War as a drummer boy for the 3rd Vermont infantry. During a certain attack in which the group was becoming overpowered, most soldiers got rid of their gear to allow them to flee faster, but little Willie Johnston marched on with his drum in hand. He became an instant hero for his bravery and was given the Medal of Honor by President Abraham Lincoln, which he was finally given at age 13.

  • It is illegal to wear someone else’s military medal 

Yup, and it makes sense if you think about it. A military medal represents what a specific person has accomplished and is what other military personnel often refer to when first meeting a fellow service member. To protect the integrity of military medals, the United States government has rightfully made the rule that it is illegal to wear someone else’s military medal. 

The list could go on and on about all the secrets of the United States military medals. But what is not so secret is that only the most honorable and deserving ever get awarded these incredible honors.