March 4, 2009

Medal of Valor?

Filed under: Hawaii State Politics — Doug @ 7:27 pm

From a Star-Bulletin article about the memorial service for a member of the Hawaii National Guard who died in a “non-combat traffic accident” last month in Kuwait:

Maj. Gen. Robert Lee, state adjutant general, presented the State Medal of Valor to [the soldier's parents] at the service attended by more than 400 people.

At first, I thought this may have been a misprint, since (if you remember my posts on the topic pre-blog crash) Hawaii has its own “Medal of Honor” that is awarded posthumously to the family of Hawaii-connected (by birth, residency, or duty station) service members. I still believe that the state award is grossly “over-named” insofar as it clearly infringes on the name and reputation of the Medal of Honor bestowed by Congress; the Hawaii MoH is more akin to a posthumous Purple Heart. Anyway, I googled the Hawaii Medal of Valor and learned that Hawaii established the award in 1994.

Hawaii citizens (military and civilian) are eligible for the Medal of Valor for performing an uncommon act of personal heroism involving the voluntary risk of his/her own life, or for a self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to be distinctly above and beyond the call of duty.

Given the continuing (and increasingly curious) paucity of details regarding the traffic accident that resulted in this soldier’s death, it seems premature (at best) to bestow an award recognizing “personal heroism,” in my opinion. Plus, I’m still very bitter that Sergeant Rafael Peralta was awarded the Navy Cross and denied the Medal of Honor, for his act of valor in Fallujah that was unquestionably heroic. I don’t take these situations lightly.


  1. that’s why we don’t leave important decisions to politicians. their narcissism can’t help but frivolously bestow awards and criminalizes almost everything. that’s why 5P8C is so effective with the Don Tikis of the lege.

    Comment by line of flight — March 4, 2009 @ 10:24 pm

  2. I agree the Marine should have been awarded the Medal of Honor, but as far as the Hawai’i National Guard medal, it appears all of the states have something along those lines and a number of states actually have their own MoH.

    DOUG: Unfortunately, Wikipedia does not specify if other states that award a “MoH” do so on the basis of valor. Hawaii’s MoH does not require any valor. Instead, every Hawaii-connected (born, former resident, or duty station) servicemember (Active, Reserve, or Guard) that dies is awarded the medal.

    Comment by Dave Kisor — June 9, 2009 @ 2:20 pm

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