LogiCore employee Stefan (Steve) Henderson, Senior Logistics Specialist supporting HQ AMC G3/4 Readiness Team, won 2nd Place Award in the HQ AMC 2018 African American Black History Month Essay Contest. His essay provides a history lesson on the award of the United States Medal of Honor awarded to African Americans.
The Medal of Honor, instituted on March 25, 1863, is the United States of America’s highest and most prestigious personal military decoration awarded to recognize U.S. military service members who distinguished themselves by acts of valor. Of the 3,498 Medals awarded, 88 have been awarded to African Americans: Civil War (25); Indian Wars (18); Spanish-American War (6); World War I (2).
A 1992 study conducted by Shaw University and commissioned by the U.S. Dept. of Defense and the United States Army found that due to systematic racial discrimination in the award criteria used to select Medal of Honor awardees no Medals of Honor were awarded to African Americans after World War I.
After an exhaustive review of the file, several Distinguished Service Crosses awarded to African Americans since January 2, 1918, were upgraded to the Medal of Honor. On January 13, 1997, more than fifty years after the end of World War II, President Bill Clinton awarded the Medal of Honor to seven African American World War II veterans.
Since that time, the Medal of Honor has been awarded to 30 additional African Americans: The Korean War (2); Vietnam (20); and Peacetime, 1880 – 1901 (8).
SSG Melvin Morris was the last African American to be awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions during the Vietnam War. SSG Morris received the Medal of Honor for valorous action on September 17, 1969, while commanding the Third Company, Third Battalion of the IV Mobile Strike Force near Chi Lang, Vietnam. SSG Morris led an advance across enemy lines to recover the body of a fallen sergeant. SSG Morris single-handedly destroyed an enemy force with a bag of grenades in a series of bunkers that was pinning his battalion down. SSG Morris was shot three times during that engagement. Morris received the Medal of Honor from President Barack Obama in a March 18, 2014, ceremony in the White House.