At a ceremony in the White House Monday, the president gave the nation’s highest military honor to retired Army Command Sergeant Major Bennie Adkins and deceased Army Specialist Donald Sloat.
Congress granted an exception so the two men could receive the medal, because nominations for the honor normally must be made within two years of the acts of bravery.
Obama said that when new evidence from battle comes to light, it is “entirely right and proper” that we reconsider actions for the Medal of Honor.
He said over the years, Vietnam veterans have not always received the respect they deserved. He said the veterans are patriots, served with valor and made the country proud.
Adkins was recognized for his actions during a combat tour of Vietnam in 1966 when he ran through enemy fire while injured to drag his wounded fellow solders to safety.
Sloat was killed in action in 1970 when he shielded the blast of a grenade with his body in order to save the lives of his comrades. Sloat’s brother accepted the award on his behalf.