Upgrades in the works for 12 airmen, who may receive Air Force Cross or Medal of Honor

The Medal of Honor. Photo credit: U.S. Air Force
The Medal of Honor. Photo credit: U.S. Air Force

Recommendations from the Air Force to upgrade the awards of a dozen airmen to the Medal of Honor or the Air Force Cross were announced this month.

The promotion of the two highest valor medals originated from review boards that convened in May said an Air Force spokesperson.

Spokesman Maj. Brian Lewis said he couldn’t provide information on the number of recommendations upgrading from Air Force Cross to Medal of Honor and from Silver Star to Air Force Cross.

The Air Force review was a portion of the Defence Department’s boost to audit over 1,100 post-911 valor citations to ascertain if they deserve a higher award such as the Medal of Honor, executives announced last year.

The re-appraisal of awards is on-going and is expected to end this spring.  In December, Lewis said they were reviewing 147 cases, which comprises of 135 Silver Stars and a dozen Air Force Crosses.

Also, the review of more cases in which airmen were cited for but didn’t receive a Silver Star is continuing, he said.  It is not yet known how many airmen might be advanced the third-highest valor award.

Concurrently, the Army is re-appraising Distinguished Service Cross and 785 Silver Star and 425 Navy Cross awards.

In April, Airman First Class Benjamin Hutchins, a tactical air control party airman providing support to the 82nd Airborne Division’s 4th Brigade Combat Team, was recognized for the Silver Star. He received his award in November, Military.com reported.

The Air Force earlier said Hutchins’s name had been put forward for the Bronze Star Medal with Valour.  But, the service later explained he had instead been submitted for two Bronze Star medals for his actions.  The two Bronze Stars were combined into a single Silver Star award.

Ian Harvey

Ian Harvey is one of the authors writing for WAR HISTORY ONLINE