President Obama to Award the Medal of Honor
WASHINGTON, DC – On September 15, 2014, President
Barack Obama will award the Medal of Honor to Army Command Sergeant
Major Bennie G. Adkins and to Army Specialist Four Donald P. Sloat for
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 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, Americal Division. Specialist Four Sloat distinguished
himself during combat operations in the vicinity of Hawk Hill Fire Base,
Republic of Vietnam, on January 17, 1970.
President Obama also approved the awarding of the
Medal of Honor to Army First Lieutenant Alonzo H. Cushing for gallantry
in action at the battle of Gettysburg on July 3, 1863. Additional
details on the award to First Lieutenant Cushing will be announced
First Lieutenant Alonzo H. Cushing will receive
the Medal of Honor posthumously for his actions while serving as
commanding officer of Battery A, 4th United States Artillery, Artillery
Brigade, 2nd Corps, Army of the Potomac. Cushing distinguished himself
during combat operations against an armed enemy in the vicinity of
Cemetery Ridge, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, on July 3, 1863.
Command Sergeant Major Adkins joined the Army in
1956, at the age of 22. He served in the 2nd Infantry Division until
leaving to join Special Forces in 1961. He deployed to Vietnam three
times between February 1963 and December 1971; the actions for which he
will receive the Medal of Honor took place during his second tour.
After Vietnam, Command Sergeant Major Adkins
served approximately two years as First Sergeant for the Army Garrison
Communications Command in Fort Huachuca, Arizona. He then joined Class
#3 of the Army Sergeants Major Academy in El Paso, Texas. After
graduation, he served with Special Forces at Fort Bragg, North Carolina,
and then led training at Fort Sherman’s Jungle School in the Panama
Canal Zone. He retired from the Army in 1978.
Command Sergeant Major Adkins and his wife of 59
years, Mary Adkins, currently reside in Opelika, Alabama. They will both
attend the Medal of Honor ceremony at the White House.
Specialist Four Sloat entered the Army on March
19, 1969 from Coweta, Oklahoma. After completing his training, he was
assigned as an M60 Machine Gunner, to 3rd Platoon, Delta Company, 2/1
196th Light Infantry Brigade, Americal Division, in the Republic of
Specialist Four Sloat was killed in action on Jan.
17, 1970, at the age of 20. On that day, his squad was conducting a
patrol, when one of the Soldiers triggered a hand grenade trap placed in
their path by enemy forces. Specialist Four Sloat picked up the live
grenade, initially to throw it away. However, when he realized that
detonation was imminent, he chose to shield its blast with his own body,
sacrificing his own life to save the lives of three of his fellow
Dr. William Sloat of Enid, Oklahoma, will join the
President at the White House to accept the Medal of Honor on his
First Lieutenant Cushing graduated, and was
commissioned, from the United States Military Academy at West Point in
the class of June 1861. Born in what is now Delafield, Wisconsin, he was
raised in Fredonia, New York. Cushing was the commander of Battery A,
4th United States Artillery, Artillery Brigade, 2nd Corps, Army of the
Potomac at Gettysburg.
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,
THE MEDAL OF HONOR:
The Medal of Honor is awarded to members of the Armed Forces who
distinguish themselves conspicuously by gallantry above and beyond the
call of duty while:
• engaged in an action against an enemy of the
• engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing
foreign force; or
• serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict
against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a
The meritorious conduct must involve great
personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly
distinguish the individual above his or her comrades and must have
involved risk of life. There must be incontestable proof of the
performance of the meritorious conduct, and each recommendation for the
award must be considered on the standard of extraordinary merit.