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Minority veterans of World War I to be considered for Medals of Honor 

By Caitlin M. Kenny
via the Stars and Stripes web site

WASHINGTON — Minority World War I veterans whose actions during the war were overlooked because of their race or religion could have their service records reviewed to determine whether some of them deserve the Medal of Honor.

09 007 5Members of the 369th Infantry, formerly the 15th New York Guard Regiment, arrive in New York City in 1919. The regiment has been known as the Famous 369th, the Harlem Hellfighters and the Black Rattlers. War Department photo.The 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, if it is passed and signed into law, would require the service secretaries to re-examine the records of African American, Asian American, Hispanic American, Jewish American and Native American veterans of World War I who earned medals for valor and decide whether any of them should be upgraded to the nation’s highest military honor.

The World War I Valor Medals Review Act spearheaded the effort to review the service records and is included in the final version of the NDAA. The bill was originally introduced in the House in April by Rep. French Hill, R-Ark.

“The World War I Valor Medals Review Act provides an opportunity to correct this injustice for countless American heroes and their families. This bill ensures that minorities who served in World War I are honored with the recognition they deserve on behalf of a grateful nation,” Hill said in a news release after his bill was included in the NDAA, which directs policy and spending plans for the Defense Department.

The review would look at minority veterans who were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Navy Cross, or the Croix de Guerre with Palm awarded by the French government, for actions that occurred between April 6, 1917 to Nov. 11, 1918. The review would also determine whether the Defense Department has records for minority veterans who had been recommended for a Medal of Honor during that time period.

Read the entire article on the Stars and Stripes web site.

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