Published : 2014-03-12 08:11
Updated : 2014-03-12 08:11
The sacrifice of U.S. soldiers in the Korean War and two other major conflicts decades ago will be highlighted once again by the White House next week, when President Barack Obama bestows top medals on two dozen Army veterans.
Obama plans to award them the Medal of Honor "for their conspicuous gallantry" in an unusually massive White House ceremony on Tuesday, followed by a Pentagon induction event the following day.
The 24 recipients include nine Korean War veterans, eight who served in the Vietnam War and seven in World War II, according to a list distributed Tuesday by the presidential office.
Only three of them are alive and the rest will be posthumously honored. Most of them are Jewish Americans or Hispanic Americans.
Their bravery was already recognized by the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation's second highest military award.
"That award will be upgraded to the Medal of Honor in recognition of their gallantry, intrepidity and heroism above and beyond the call of duty," the White House said.
The move follows a congressionally mandated review to ensure that eligible recipients of the highest medal were not overlooked due to racial bias.
The U.S. government shows 36,574 American troops were killed and 103,284 others wounded in the three-year Korean War that ended in a truce in 1953. It is often dubbed "the Forgotten War."
Last year, Obama characterized the war as a victory for the U.S. and its ally, South Korea.
"We can say with confidence that this war was no tie. Korea was a victory," he said, addressing a July 27 ceremony here to mark the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice Agreement. (Yonhap)