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17 Latino and 5 Jewish vets to be Awarded MOH

On Tuesday, President Barack Obama will award the Medal of Honor to 24 Army veterans — 17 Latinos (including Sgt. Eduardo C. Gomez, Master Sgt. Mike C. Pena and Pvt. Miguel A. Vera) plus five Jewish vets.

The ceremony ends a Congress-ordered review of old battlefield heroism potentially overlooked by past commanders due to ethnic prejudices.

But when it comes to that elite, gold-plated star — awarded for valor “beyond the call of duty” — some Latino veterans say such racial biases remain entrenched at the Pentagon.

“This recognition was long overdue. Too bad only three of the 24 are still living,” said Richard Valdez, 66, head of the Disabled American Veterans in California and a retired Marine. “I suspect there are others” of Latino descent who are similarly worthy.

The latest recipients served in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. All previously had earned the military’s second-highest decoration, the Distinguished Service Cross. Since the Civil War, fewer than 3,500 of the Medals of Honor have been granted. But some critics have long asserted the top commendation has been steered by ethnic favoritism

March 18, 2014, 10:12am / 30

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Marine Private First Class Bernardo A. Blazek (of Viroqua, Wisconsin) stands atop a prime mover for an enemy 122mm artillery piece captured by the 9th Marine Regiment

Marine Private First Class Bernardo A. Blazek (of Viroqua, Wisconsin) stands atop a prime mover for an enemy 122mm artillery piece captured by the 9th Marine Regiment

(Source: Flickr / usmcarchives)

March 17, 2014, 12:00pm / 73

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Captain Elbridge G Fish II, Commander of F Troop, 2 Sqdn, 11 Armored Cavalry Regiment (the Blackhorse Regiment), US Army, orders a reconnaissance by fire as the Regiment’s M-113 Armored Personnel Carriers advance in line at the base of Hill 95 in the Fish Hook area, 15 June 1970.

Captain Elbridge G Fish II, Commander of F Troop, 2 Sqdn, 11 Armored Cavalry Regiment (the Blackhorse Regiment), US Army, orders a reconnaissance by fire as the Regiment’s M-113 Armored Personnel Carriers advance in line at the base of Hill 95 in the Fish Hook area, 15 June 1970.

(Source: iwm.org.uk)

March 13, 2014, 5:00pm / 108

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American gunners of B Bty, 6 Bn, 27 Artillery fire a M-110 8 inch howitzer during a fire support mission at Landing Zone Hong approx 12 km north east of Song Be, South Vietnam, 26 March 1970.

American gunners of B Bty, 6 Bn, 27 Artillery fire a M-110 8 inch howitzer during a fire support mission at Landing Zone Hong approx 12 km north east of Song Be, South Vietnam, 26 March 1970.

(Source: iwm.org.uk)

March 13, 2014, 3:00pm / 438

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Sergeant Wedei Huizen, of the Netherlands detachment of the UN forces in Korea, in position to return sniper fire.

Sergeant Wedei Huizen, of the Netherlands detachment of the UN forces in Korea, in position to return sniper fire.

(Source: iwm.org.uk)

March 09, 2014, 5:00pm / 80

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A British soldier of the 1st Battalion, Middlesex Regiment, with his Bren gun/1950

A British soldier of the 1st Battalion, Middlesex Regiment, with his Bren gun/1950

(Source: iwm.org.uk)

March 06, 2014, 5:00pm / 63

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Para-rescue technician talks to Thai children who were attracted by the helicopter’s landing., 06/05/1972

Para-rescue technician talks to Thai children who were attracted by the helicopter’s landing., 06/05/1972

(Source: Flickr / usnationalarchives)

March 01, 2014, 2:00pm / 57

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US Marines working with ARVN troops during Operation Shufly, c. 1962

US Marines working with ARVN troops during Operation Shufly, c. 1962

(Source: Flickr / usmcarchives)

February 27, 2014, 1:00pm / 173

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