Conflict Periods

Valor awards were presented for actions comitted during the following conflicts:

World War II

In the spring of 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt ordered the Navy to patrol ship lanes to Europe. By July, U.S. warships were conveying, and by September were attacking German submarines. In November, the Neutrality Act was partially repealed to protect U.S. military aid to Britain. On December 8, 1941, the United States declared war with Japan, on Dec. 11 with Germany and Italy, and on June 5, 1942, with Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania. The United States declared war against Japan after the surprise bombing of Pearl Harbor, and against Germany and Italy after those nations, under the dictators Hitler and Mussolini, declared war against the United States.

106021 citations

Vietnam War

U.S. military advisers had been in South Vietnam a decade, and their numbers had increased as the military position of the Saigon government became weaker. After the attacks on U.S. destroyers in the Tonkin Gulf, President Lyndon Johnson asked for a resolution expressing U.S. determination to support freedom and protect peace in Southeast Asia. Congress responded with the Tonkin Gulf Resolution, expressing support for "all necessary measures" the president might take to repel armed attacks against U.S. forces and prevent further aggression. After this resolution, and following a Communist attack on a U.S. installation in central Vietnam, the United States escalated its participation in the war to a peak of 543,000 in April 1969.

26242 citations

Korean War

The United States responded to the North Korean invasion of South Korea by going to its aid, pursuant to United Nations Security Council resolutions.

25061 citations

World War I

On April 6, 1917, the United States declared war with Germany, and on Dec. 7, 1917, with Austria-Hungary. Entrance of the U.S. into the war was precipitated by Germany's submarine warfare against neutral shipping.

19383 citations

Peace Time Awards

Awards presented in between periods of conflict.

10283 citations

Global War on Terror

Troops deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan after terrorist attacks on the United States on Sept. 11, 2001.

7077 citations

Cold War

Soviet intransigence, as demonstrated in Germany, Korea and other nations, stymied American hopes for Great Power unity. The USSR, Winston Churchill warned in a speech in Missouri early in 1946, was lowering an "iron curtain" across Europe. It quickly drew eastern Germany, Poland, Hungary, Rumania, Bulgaria, Yugoslavia and Albania behind that curtain. In Greece, where political and economic disorder led to civil war, the rebels received support from Albania, Bulgaria and Yugoslavia. In the Near East, the Soviets kept a grip on Iran by holding troops there. They also tried to intimidate Turkey into giving them privileges in connection with the strategic Dardanelles. In Asia, besides insisting on full control in northern Korea, the USSR, it appeared, had turned Manchuria over to the Chinese Communists under Mao Tse-tung and was encouraging Mao in his renewed effort to wrest power from Chiang Kai-shek and the Kuomintang government.

2700 citations

Civil War

The Civil War

1808 citations

Indian Campaigns

The following campaigns were known as the Indian Campaigns: Southern Oregon, Idaho, Northern California, and Nevada between 1865 and 1868; against the Comanches and confederate tribes in Kansas, Colorado, Texas, New Mexico, and Indian Territory between 1867 and 1875; the Modoc War from 1872 to 1873; against the Apaches in Arizona in 1873; against Northern Cheyenne and Sioux from 1876 to 1877; the Nez Perce War in 1877; the Bannock War in 1878; against the Northern Cheyenne from 1878 to 1879; against the Sheep-Eaters, Paiutes and Bannocks from June to October 1879; against the Utes in Colorado and Utah from September 1879 to November 1880; against the Apaches in Arizona and New Mexico from 1885 to 1886; against the Sioux in South Dakota from November 1890 to January 1891; and against native Americans in any other action in which United States troops were killed or wounded from 1865 to 1891.

444 citations

Philippine Insurrection

During the Spanish-American War, U.S. forces in the Philippines and Filipino forces led by revolutionary leader Emilio Aguinaldo had a common enemy in Spain. As hostilities ended and the United States emerged from the war victorious, Aguinaldo and his supporters were eager for Philippine independence. However, as a result of the Treaty of Paris, Dec. 10, 1898, the United States gained the Philippines as a U.S. territory. Many in the islands were not eager to see one colonial power replaced by another. This desire for independence soon resulted in armed resistance against the U.S. The Philippine Insurrection began with a skirmish on the night of February 4, 1899, just outside of Manila.

307 citations

Spanish-American War

On April 25, 1898, the United States declared war with Spain. The war followed a Cuban insurrection against Spanish rule and the sinking of the U.S.S. Maine in the harbor at Havana.

307 citations

Gulf War

During the first seven months of 1990, Iraqi troop movements and presidential bombast foreshadowed the impending crisis. But, as in Saudi Arabia and Kuwait, the United States did not recognize the imminence of the Iraqi threat until it was too late. On 2 August 1990, when Iraqi tanks rolled through Kuwait to the Saudi border and Saddam Hussein's government declared that Kuwait no longer existed as an independent country, perceptions quickly changed. President George Bush upheld the Carter Doctrine and committed the United States to direct military action.

243 citations

Second Nicaraguan Campaign

Civil war broke out in Nicaragua during the first months of 1926, and U.S. naval landing parties went ashore to establish a neutral zone for the protection of American citizens.

147 citations

Russian Civil War

The Russian Civil War (1917 to 1923) was a multi-party war that occurred within the former Russian Empire after the Russian provisional government collapsed and the Soviets under the domination of the Bolshevik party assumed power, first in Petrograd (St. Petersburg) and then in other places.
In July 1918, against the advice of the War Department, Woodrow Wilson agreed to the limited participation of 5,000 U.S. Army soldiers in the campaign as the "American North Russia Expeditionary Force" (a.k.a. the Polar Bear Expedition) who were sent to Arkhangelsk, while another 8,000 soldiers, organised as the American Expeditionary Force Siberia, were shipped to Vladivostok from the Philippines and from Camp Fremont in California. - From Wikipedia

105 citations

China Relief

American troops participated in operations to protect foreign lives during the Boxer Uprising, particularly at Beijing. For many years after this experience, a permanent legation guard was maintained in Beijing. It was strengthened at times as trouble threatened.

88 citations

Dominican Republic Occupation

From 1898 to 1934, the United States created, trained and equipped small military/constabulary forces for five Latin American countries: Cuba, Panama, Haiti, the Dominican Republic and Nicaragua. Each force was expected to provide virtually all aspects of the nation's security, was designed to be apolitical, and was meant to reduce opportunities for corruption. It was further hoped, if not expected, that these forces would provide the stability needed to avoid future U.S. armed interventions. The forces thus created, far from becoming supporters of democratic stability, spawned predatory dictatorships. The United States thus found itself intervening again — twice with military force in Haiti and once in the Dominican Republic, as well as one major and several minor interventions in Panama, several limited interventions in Cuba (plus the indirect efforts of the Bay of Pigs operation), and indirectly in Nicaragua via the Contra project. In all but the Dominican Republic, the created forces were destroyed by Marxist revolutionaries in Cuba and Nicaragua and by U.S. military intervention in Haiti and Panama.

65 citations

United Nations Operations in Somalia II

While U.S. and allied forces maintained the peace in Somalia, U.S. leaders were working hard to push the United Nations into establishing a new mission in Somalia to take over most of the responsibility of running the relief effort, while allowing the United States to reduce the size of its committed forces and handle only limited aspects of security and logistics. On 26 March 1993, the United Nations passed Resolution 814, which considerably broadened its mandate to intervene in another country's affairs. The U.N. was now intervening militarily in a peacemaking role under Chapter VII of its charter. The more frequently used Chapter VI addressed only the deployment of peacekeeping troops to reinforce a previously agreed-upon settlement between warring parties. But Chapter VII dealt with peace enforcement and not merely peacekeeping. The resolution underlined the charters of the first UNOSOM mission and Operation Restore Hope and that of the new mission UNOSOM II.

26 citations

Operation Allied Force

The objectives were to damage the military and security structure that Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic had used to degrade the Albanian majority in Kosovo, and to stop his government's violence and repression.

24 citations

Mexican Border Wars

Undeclared Mexican-American hostilities followed the USS Dolphin affair (in which a party from the Dolphin was detained for a time) and Pancho Villa's raids. The hostilities included the capture of Vera Cruz, and later Gen. John Pershing's expedition into northern Mexico.

20 citations

U.S.S. Liberty Incident

The U.S.S. Liberty was attacked by Israeli forces two days after the Six-Day War between Israel and several Arab nations commenced. The Israeli government apologized for the incident that killed 34 members of the crew and wounded 171, claiming their fighters had mistaken it for an Egyptian vessel. Purportedly, in order to avoid further embarrassing the government of Israel, William McGonagle's Medal of Honor was quietly presented in a simple ceremony at the Washington Navy Yard, as was a posthumous award of the Navy Cross to the ship's Executive Officer and a member of the crew. This may be the only Medal of Honor ever awarded to an American serviceman for heroism in action against a nation that was not at war with the United States.

16 citations

Marine Amphibious Landing in Korea

The American minister to China, Frederick Ferdinand Low, was instructed in 1870 to secure a treaty for the protection of shipwrecked mariners and, should the opportunity present itself, to obtain commercial advantages in Korea. He sailed from Nagasaki for Boisée Island (Chagyakto) on the Salée (Yom) River in May 1871 onboard the USS Colorado, flagship of Rear Admiral John Rodgers, then commanding the Asiatic Squadron. The squadron boasted a fleet of nine ships mounting 97 guns, and a meager force to guard the lives and property of American citizens over the vast expanse of water and coastline that comprised the Asiatic Station of 1871. A single shot from the forts initiated heavy fire from masked batteries as well as forts along the face of the hill. Despite complications caused by the swift current and jagged rocks, fire was promptly returned by all American vessels, and the Korean guns were soon silenced. No apology was offered. So, on 9 June — the eve of the attack — Commander H.C. Blake received orders from Rodgers "to take and destroy the forts which have fired on our vessels, and to hold them long enough to demonstrate our ability to punish such offenses at pleasure." The force detailed totaled 759 Marines and sailors, but the actual number of troops put ashore was 651 men.

15 citations

Incursion into Panama

On 15 December 1989, Gen. Manuel Noriega, commander of the Panama Defense Forces, was appointed by his handpicked legislative assembly to be the nation's "maximum leader." In his acceptance speech, Noriega announced that "the Republic of Panama is declared to be in a state of war" with the United States. Although he stopped short of advocating an armed response to his imaginary conflict, his incendiary language reflected the tension that had grown between his government and the U.S. over the previous three years. Noriega had involvement with drug trafficking, repressive political activities, and numerous treaty violations and documented episodes of PDF provocations that had helped to escalate the crisis. His speech set the tone among his followers, who would soon provide the catalyst for a U.S. military intervention into Panama named Operation Just Cause.

14 citations

Invasion of Grenada

Grenada, one of the smallest independent nations in the Western Hemisphere and one of the southernmost Caribbean islands in the Windward chain, has an area of only 133 square miles. The population is 110,000. But size is not necessarily the determining factor when governments consider strategic military locations. The Cuban government knew the value of Grenada's location when it decided to utilize the former British colony as a holding place for arms and military equipment, complete with a major airport. Eastern Caribbean nations fully understood the implication of the communist threat and called upon the United States for help. The response was Urgent Fury, a multinational, multiservice effort.

13 citations

Second Haitian Campaign

U.S. forces maintained order during a period of chronic and threatened insurrection.

12 citations

Second Korean Conflict

From November 1966 to December 1969, American and South Korean forces battled North Korean special operations teams across the length and breadth of the peninsula. The Second Korean Conflict featured small-scale skirmishes along the uneasy Demilitarized Zone, spectacular terrorist strikes, the seizure of the USS Pueblo, and several determined North Korean efforts to foment a viable insurgency. The United States and the Republic of Korea prevailed.

8 citations

U.S. Invasion and Occupation of Haiti

President Woodrow Wilson sent the Marines into Haiti to restore order and maintain political and economic stability in the Caribbean after the assassination of Haitian President Guillaume Sam in July 1915. This occupation continued until 1934.

8 citations

Samoan Civil War

U.S. forces were landed to protect American citizens and the consulate during a native civil war.

4 citations

Chinese Civil War

The Communists, led by Mao Zedong, and the Nationalists, led by Chiang Kai-shek and backed by some Western nations, fought to remake China. More than a million Chinese died in this war. The Nationalists eventually wound up in Taiwan. Mao soon extended China’s regional influence by tipping the balance in neighboring civil wars, first in Korea, then in Vietnam.

3 citations

Salvadoran Civil War

The civil war in El Salvador, which lasted from 1980 to 1992, was one of the largest and bloodiest insurgencies the Western Hemisphere has seen. An estimated 100,000 people died — in a country of only 5 million people.

1 citations

Congo Crisis

Soon after 1 July 1960, when the Republic of the Congo became independent, Congolese soldiers mutinied and, with the aid of civilian mobs, raised havoc, attacking white settlers and plundering property. A United Nations task force sent to the Congo on 16 July brought stability. In March 1964, when plans for the withdrawal of the U.N. forces were announced for the end of June, tribal rivalries in outlying areas culminated in revolts against the government. Early in November 1964, after the armed forces of the government were augmented by European and African mercenaries, they launched a two-pronged offensive against the so-called People's Republic of the Congo, which had received Communist support, particularly from China, and threatened the rebel capital of Stanleyville. The rebel president announced that he had taken 60 Americans and 800 Belgians as hostages to prevent further attacks. On 9 November, he broadcast that he could no longer guarantee the lives and property of American and Belgian citizens. Almost immediately, horror stories emanating from the area indicated the reality of the threat. The rebels killed Dr. Paul Carlson, an American medical missionary, wrongly claiming that he was a spy.

1 citations