President Obama will award the Medal of Honor to 24 American troops, most of whom had been overlooked because of anti-Jewish or anti-Hispanic prejudice.
The White House said in a statement issued on Friday that the medals to be awarded March 18 are the result of a review mandated by a law passed in 2002 by Congress based on reports that some troops had been denied the nation’s highest military honor because of prejudice.
In the course of the review, the statement said, it was found that several soldiers not of Jewish or Hispanic descent also had been denied the medal, and that they too would be honored.
Three soldiers will receive the award in person; the remainder will be awarded posthumously to men who fought in the Vietnam and Korean wars and in World War II.
The White House did not identify which of the awardees were Jewish or Hispanic or neither.
Two Florida lawmakers, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.), and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) noted in separate statements that one of the awardees is Pvt. 1st Class Leonard Kravitz who died fending off Communist forces on March 6 and 7, 1951 near Yangpyong in Korea. He faced an ambush with a machine gun so his fellow troops could evacuate.
Mitchel Libman, a resident of Hollywood Fla., and a childhood friend of Kravitz’s had championed his cause. Kravitz is the namesake of his nephew, the musician Lenny Kravitz.JTA