Above and Beyond

By lex, on August 20th, 2009

A young Marine is set to receive the Navy’s highest honor – and the nation’s second highest – for valor today: The Navy Cross.

Lance Cpl. Richard Weinmaster, 20, of Cozad, Neb., was part of the 2nd Battalion, 7th Regiment deployed last year to break the Taliban’s hold on Helmand Province.

On a July 8 foot patrol, Weinmaster’s squad was ambushed. Weinmaster used his body to protect his squad leader and other Marines from the blast of an enemy grenade.

Although seriously wounded, he continued to fire at the attackers, forcing them to flee. Only then did Weinmaster collapse from his injuries. He is credited with saving the lives of several Marines.

Oo-rah, Lance Corporal, and Semper Fi. Greater love hath no man than this.

But it does ask the question: What more would a man have to do to earn the Medal of Honor?

As of yet, despite almost 5000 deaths in Iraq and Afghanistan, no living US serviceman has received the Medal of Honor. It has become, despite tales of bravery and sacrifice almost too incredible to believe, a post mortem award.

Six servicemen have received the nation’s highest honor for their service overseas in the nation’s wars. All of them posthumously. Three of those six were awarded the MOH for covering a grenade, saving the lives of their brothers in arms. Just as LCpl Weinmaster did.

Weinmaster’s intent was no different than that of Michael Monsoor, Ross McGinnis and Jason Dunham. His personal bravery, dedication and loyalty no less. Has is it really come to this, that a serviceman must die to be recognized by his country for acting “conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in an action against an enemy of the United States”?

Throughout our nation’s history ** 3467 Medals of Honor have been awarded, only 18% posthumously. Even given the fact that many awards were given away profligately before modern standard were set, only 61% of MOHs were awarded posthumously between World War II, Korea and Vietnam. Since Somalia, Iraq and Afghanistan the level rises to 100% – a small data sample to be sure, but a daunting standard by which not only to reward valor, but encourage it.

What’s a serviceman got to do?

Die, apparently.

** 09-09-2018 Original link gone; replacement found – Ed.

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Filed under Afghanistan, Best of Neptunus Lex, by lex, Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, Iraq, Lex, Neptunus Lex

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