The Medal of Honor traces its history back to 1861, when Abraham Lincoln first signed it into legislation for the Navy. This would extend to the other branches of the armed forces. It is a military tradition that has been held for more than 150 years with just over 3,500 medals being awarded among the more than 41 million Americans who have served. Even among this distinguished group a few stand above the rest — those who have received more than one Medal of Honor.
Acts of heroism and bravery are common among Medal of Honor recipients, but those who have received two awards have gone above and beyond these metrics. (See the 21 most impressive medals of the United States armed forces.)
To identify the 19 Americans who were awarded two Medals of Honor, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. Recipients are ordered by their first Medal of Honor action date. We included supplemental information regarding the branch of the military these recipients served in, their highest rank, state accreditation, and the conflict they were involved in. All information is from the Medal of Honor Society.
One example of this esteemed group is Smedley D. Butler, who earned a Medal of Honor in both Vera Cruz, Mexico, and Fort Riviere, Haiti. In the Mexican campaign, Butler earned the award for ‘eminent and conspicuous in command of his battalion’ and leading his men in the final occupation of the city. In the Haitian campaign, Butler was honored for his storming of Fort Riviere and crushing the Caco resistance.
An interesting note about this list is that World War I was the last time a Medal of Honor recipient was awarded the medal twice. In fact, most of those on this list received their medals before 1900, whether in the Civil War, Indian campaigns, or somewhere in the interim. (This is every state’s most impressive medal of honor recipient.)
Also worth pointing out is that five of the soldiers on this list received two Medals of Honor for the same action. All of these awards came in World War I. Each was awarded the Medal of Honor from both the Army and Navy, and each of these soldiers was a Marine.
Here is a look at the 19 soldiers who were awarded the Medal of Honor twice.
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