Because freedom is watered by the blood of those willing to defend it, the following article is cross-posted from Outrun Change.

Congress has waived the time limit to award the Medal of Honor for another three heroes. The President will soon issue the Medals, each for amazing and tremendous service far above and way beyond the call of duty.

Here is my feeble tribute to these incredible men.

1st Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing

Lt Cushing, West Point class of 1961, stood his ground at the battle of Gettysburg. His artillery unit of six cannons and 110 men was reduced to two cannon, himself, and a few soldiers by the extended Confederate artillery prep in advance of Pickett’s Charge. He was wounded several times, including taking some shrapnel in his abdomen, which reduced him to holding his guts in place so he could continue the defense. He led what was left of his unit until the rebels were 100 yards away and a bullet round in the throat killed him. His leadership and the resulting firm stand contributed greatly to holding “the Angle” on July 3, 1863. I cannot imagine the courage needed to command a unit while keeping your intestines from falling out.

From the White House press release:

First Lieutenant Cushing was killed in action on July 3, 1863, at the age of 22.  On that day, the third day of the battle, in the face of Longstreet’s Assault, also known as Pickett’s Charge, First Lieutenant Cushing’s battery took a severe pounding by Confederate artillery.  As the rebel infantry advanced, he manned the only remaining, and serviceable, field piece in his battery.  During the advance, he was wounded in the stomach as well as in the right shoulder.  Refusing to evacuate to the rear despite his severe wounds, he directed the operation of his lone field piece continuing to fire in the face of the enemy.  With the rebels within 100 yards of his position, Cushing was shot and killed during this heroic stand.  His actions made it possible for the Union Army to successfully repulse the Confederate assault. First Lieutenant Cushing is buried with full honors at his alma mater, West Point.

Command Sergeant Major Bennie G. Adkins

During a 38 hour firefight in March 1966, Command Sergeant Major Adkins repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire to move from one key position to another delivering mortar fire or small arms fire as needed, retrieve ammunition, retrieve fallen comrades, and one time retrieve air-dropped supplies that landed outside the walls of the compound. Near the end of the battle, he was retrieving yet another soldier and thus missed the last evacuation helicopter. He rallied the troops in the communications bunker, destroyed the equipment and classified material, dug his way out the back of the bunker, and escaped the camp. Rallying the surviving troops, he evaded the enemy for 48 hours before being rescued by helicopter. I am utterly unable to comprehend fighting a 38 hour firefight followed by 48 hours of E&E, let alone leading the effort.

From the White House press release:

Command Sergeant Major Adkins will receive the Medal of Honor for his actions while serving as an Intelligence Sergeant assigned to Detachment A-102, 5th Special Forces Group, 1st Special Forces.  Then-Sergeant First Class Adkins distinguished himself during combat operations at Camp A Shau, Republic of Vietnam, on March 9 through March 12, 1966.

Specialist Four Donald P. Sloat

Specialist Sloat was on patrol January 17, 1970 southwest of Danang, Vietnam. The lead soldier in the patrol tripped a grenade booby-trap. The grenade rolled downhill to Specialist Sloat. He picked it up to throw it away from the patrol but realized there wouldn’t be time to get it far enough away from the squad to protect them. Instead he shielded the grenade with his body, killing himself and saving the rest of the squad. If you ever wonder what love-in-action or a real hero looks like, remember Specialist Sloat.

From the White House press release:

Specialist Four Donald P. Sloat will receive the Medal of Honor posthumously for his actions while serving as a Machine gunner with Company D, 2nd Battalion, 1st Infantry Regiment, 196th Light Infantry Brigade, American Division.  Specialist Four Sloat distinguished himself during combat operations in the vicinity of Hawk Hill Fire Base, Republic of Vietnam, on January 17, 1970.

Gentlemen, thank you.

Update:  The Medals awarded to Command Sergeant Major Adkins and the brother of Donald Sloat on September 15, 2014.

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