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UNRECOGNIZED VALOR IN IRAQ?

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Hunter Calls for Re-Assessment of Operation Iraqi Freedom Awards
By Harold Hutchison

In the wake of the awarding of the Medal of Honor to twenty-four individuals whose valor was overlooked, Representative Duncan Hunter (R-CA) has called for the DOD to conduct a similar re-assessment for Operation Iraq Freedom.

In a commentary at DefenseOne.com, Hunter, who served two combat tours in Iraq and one in Afghanistan, wrote that the lack of a living Medal of Honor recipient for Operation Iraqi Freedom “should sound alarm bells.”

“Call it a mystery. Call it intentional. Whatever the case, it is one failure that is still within the power of the Defense Department to fix,” Hunter added, citing a number of cases, including that of Bradley Kasal (who was featured on the cover of the May 2005 issue of SOF), Brian Chontosh, and Rafael Peralta.

One case Representative Hunter had not mentioned was that of Gregory D. Williams, a soldier serving with the Mortar Platoon, 1st Battalion, 17th Infantry Regiment, 1st Stryker Brigade Combat Team, 25th Infantry Division. A look at the citation for the Distinguished Service Cross Williams received shows similarities to the Medal of Honor citation for Audie Murphy.

“Increasingly, the war in Iraq will be defined more by the heroism of Americans who stepped forward in the days, months and years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks and less by the politicization of the mission. That is how most of those who served in Iraq are sure to reflect on their service and sacrifice, and every American should strive to do the same,” Hunter wrote.