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Medal of Honor recipients, Jewish

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  • PFC Leonard Harold Kravitz (c.1931 - 1951)
    PFC Leonard Harold Kravitz, who was killed in action in the Korean War while defending against a Chinese attack and saving most of his platoon, and was posthumously awarded the Distinguished Service Cr...
  • Color Sgt. Leopold Karpeles, Medal of Honor (1838 - 1909)
    Leopold Karpeles, born in Prague, Bohemia in 1838, emigrated with his older brother Emil to Galveston, Texas at the age of 11. He became an expert rider, and eventually one of the youngest members of t...
  • Abraham Cohn, SGM (1832 - 1897)
    American Civil War Union Army Sergeant Major and recipient to the highest military decoration for valor in combat — the Medal of Honor — for having distinguished himself at the Battle of ...
  • Ben Louis Salomon (1914 - 1944)
    United States Army dentist during World War II, and Medal of Honor recipient. The President of the United States in the name of The Congress takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to ...
  • Alexander D. Goode, Rabbi, Lieutenant (1911 - 1943)
    Rabbi and a lieutenant in the United States Army. He was one of the Four Chaplains who gave their lives to save other soldiers during the sinking of the USAT Dorchester during World War II. Awarded the...

The Medal of Honor was created during the American Civil War and is the highest military decoration presented by the United States government to a member of its armed forces. It is bestowed "for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life, above and beyond the call of duty, in actual combat against an armed enemy force". The medal is awarded by the President of the United States on behalf of the Congress.


Since it was instituted there have been 3,473 recipients; at least 29 American Jews have received the Medal of Honor for their actions, but a 1993 study determined that racial discrimination affected the awarding of medals. In 2005 Tibor Rubin, who many believed to have been overlooked due to discrimination, received the Medal of Honor for his actions in 1950.

Recently, the Department of Defense undertook a review of Soldiers, Sailors, Marines and Airmen who received medals of lesser degree than the Medal of Honor to determine if they did not receive the Medal of Honor because of their Jewish, Hispanic or African heritage. In 2014 the Medal of Honor was awarded to 24 military personnel including four Jewish Soldiers.

The American Civil War:

  • Abraham Cohn: Army; Sergeant Major; Battle of the Wilderness and Battle of the Crater, Virginia; May 6, 1864 and July 30, 1864.
  • Isaac Gause: Army; Corporal; near Berryville, Virginia; Sep 13, 1864.
  • Abraham Greenawalt: Army; Private; Franklin, Tennessee; November 30, 1864.
  • Henry Heller: Army; Sergeant; Battle of Chancellorsville, Virginia; May 2, 1863.
  • Leopold Karpeles: Army; Sergeant; Battle of the Wilderness, Virginia; May 6, 1864
  • Benjamin Levy: Army; Private; Battle of Glendale, Virginia; Jun 30, 1862
  • David Orbansky: Army; Private; Shiloh, Tennessee, Vicksburg, Mississippi; 1862 and 1863

The Indian Wars

  • George Geiger: Army; Sergeant; Battle of the Little Big Horn, Montana; Jun 25, 1876.
  • David Goodman: Army; Private; Lyry Creek, Arizona; Oct 14, 1869.
  • Simon Suhler (Enlisted under the name Charles Gardner) : Army; Private; Arizona; Aug 1868 – October 1868
  • Jacob Trautman: Army; First Sergeant; Wounded Knee Massacre, South Dakota; Dec 29, 1890.

The Philippines

  • Louis C. Mosher: Philippine Scouts; Second Lieutenant; Gagsak Mountain, Jolo, Philippine Islands; Jun 11, 1913

Battle of Peking, China

  • William Zion: Marine Corps; Private; Battle of Peking; Jul 21, 1900-Aug 17, 1900.

Haiti

  • Samuel Gross: Marine Corps; Private; Fort Riviere, Haiti; Nov 17, 1915.

World War I

  • Sydney G. Gumpertz: Army; First Sergeant; Bois-de-Forges, France; Sep 29, 1918.
  • Edouard Izac: Navy; Lieutenant; Aboard German submarine U-90 as prisoner of war; Oct 8, 1918.
  • Phillip C. Katz: Army; Sergeant; near Eclisfontaine, France; Sep 26, 1918.
  • Benjamin Kaufman: Army; First Sergeant; Forest of Argonne, France; Oct 4, 1918.
  • William Sawelson: Army; Sergeant; Grand-Pre, France; Oct 26, 1918.
  • John Otto Siegel: Navy; Boatswain's Mate Second Class; Aboard the USS Mohawk; Nov 1, 1918.

World War II

  • Isadore S. Jachman: Army; Staff Sergeant; Flamierge, Belgium; Jan 4, 1945.
  • Ben L. Salomon': Army; Captain; Battle of Saipan, Mariana Islands; Jul 7, 1944.
  • Raymond Zussman: Army; Second Lieutenant; Noroy-le-Bourg, France; Sep 12, 1944.
  • William F. Leonard: Army: Sergeant; St. Die, France; December 7, 1944.
  • Alfred B. Nietzel: Army; Sergeant; Heistern, Germany; November 18, 1944.
  • Donald K. Schwab: Army; First Lieutenant; Lure, France; September 17, 1944.

Korean War

  • Tibor Rubin: Army; Corporal; Republic of Korea; Jul 23, 1950 – April 20, 1953.
  • Leonard Harold Kravitz: Army; Private First Class; Yongpyong, Republic of Korea; MArch 7, 1951.
  • Jack Weinstein: Army; Sergeant; Kumson, Republic or Korea; October 19, 1951.

Vietnam War

  • Jack H. Jacobs: Army; First Lieutenant; Kien Phong Province, Republic of Vietnam; Mar 9, 1968
  • John L. Levitow: Air Force; Sergeant; air over Vietnam; February 24, 1969

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