Medal of Honor double winners

This is something I have thought about on occasion but never got around to posting. I have known for sometime that there are 19 people who have been twice awarded the Medal of Honor. This includes Thomas Custer who earned the award in two separate instances during the Civil War (and later died with his brother at Little Big Horn). Of those 19 there are 5 Marines who were awarded the Army MoH and the Navy MoH for the same action. Why are they still counted as double winners? I don’t quite understand why they were awarded the medal twice in the first place and I know such a thing could not happen today.

In case you didn’t know many past winners were later stripped of the award altogether when the records were reviewed and the claims seemed without merit or not worthy of such a high award (mostly Civil War soldiers when things weren’t so tightly controlled). The military is very interested in keeping the integrity of the award. Only one has been awarded in the current conflict and two in Somolia. The unofficial policy is that no one will be awarded two and there haven’t been any since WWI. I have heard several times that John Basilone deserved the MoH for his actions on Iwo Jima but was awarded the Navy Cross instead because of that policy. If they are so protective of the integrity of the Medal why not clear up the confusion and say those five Marines received one MEdal of Honor for their actions?

Tried searching but found nothing. If this was discussed before I’m sorry.

Smedley Butler’s (Major General - USMC) are for separate actions;

the U.S. occupation of Veracruz, Mexico in 1914,

]( Haiti against the “Cacos” rebels in 1915,

]( should have gotten a third during the Boxer rebellion in 1900,



Well, in the case of Gary Gordon and Randall Shughart, the Delta operators awarded the Medal for their actions in Somalia, they died earning it, so there is no chance of them getting a second one.

Only three men have won the British equivalent, the Victoria Cross, twice.

I said there were 5 Marine double winners who won for the same action (in my [URL=]cite]( ). I did not mention Smedley Butler. The five are: Louis Cukela, Ernest Jansen, John Kelly, Matej Kocak and John Pruitt. Each one received both the Army and Navy Medal of Honor for one brave action during WWI. All are still considered double winners. I assume they received the Army medal because the Marines were under Army control at the time. Since the military has cleared up a lot of confusion and inappropriate awards of the medal in the past I was wondering why this hasn’t been cleared up. Since this thread seems to be going nowhere I don’t expect an answer now.

There have been 3,460 winners. Something like half of them died during the action for which they were awarded the medal. I’m not sure why you pointed out only those two. I only briefly mentioned Somolia to show how few have been awarded recently. Only 3 since Viet Nam even though there has been several conflicts since then. The most recent award was also given posthumously to SFC Paul R. Smith.

Thanks for the link. I had some questions about the VC that I was going to post here but I’ll look at that first before wasting a thread.

No particular reason, except that they are two of the most recent recipients, and also that I know the man who trained them and admire them very much.

And I like the fact that the CMoH is rarely given. It makes it a real honor.