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Women's History Medals
Teacher Feature

Here is a collection of Congressional Gold Medals that honor the work of military heroes.


OBVERSE: 1956 Surviving Veterans of the War Between the States medal

REVERSE: 1956 Surviving Veterans of the War Between the States medal

1956 Surviving Veterans of the War Between the States

This medal was awarded about 90 years after the Civil War ended.  At the time, there were only four veterans of that war known to still be alive.  The medal honored the last surviving veterans "who served in the Union or the Confederate forces."

Image courtesy of CongressionalGoldMedal.com, part of the Americans.net family of history and education Web sites.


1991 General H. Norman Schwarzkopf

General H. Norman Schwarzkopf was given this gold medal for his work in setting Kuwait free.  He helped to plan and lead our combat there and served as Commander-in-Chief of the United States Central Command.

OBVERSE: 1991 General H. Norman Schwarzkopf medal

REVERSE: 1991 General H. Norman Schwarzkopf medal

OBVERSE: 1991 General Colin Powell medal

REVERSE: 1991 General Colin Powell medal

1991 General Colin Powell

This medal recognizes the outstanding way General Powell led the military and advised the President when Iraq invaded Kuwait.  As a result, Iraq pulled back their forces and accepted all the United Nations Resolutions for Kuwait.


1992 Persian Gulf War Veterans

As inscribed, this medal is "dedicated to the men and women of the U.S. armed forces who served their country in the Persian Gulf conflict."

OBVERSE: 1992 Persian Gulf War Veterans medal

REVERSE: 1992 Persian Gulf War Veterans medal

OBVERSE: 2000 Navajo Code Talkers medal

REVERSE: 2000 Navajo Code Talkers medal

2000 Navajo Code Talkers

In 2001, President George W. Bush honored the 29 Navajo Code Talkers of World War II.  These Marine Corps radio operators used a secret code based on their native language to radio military plans between allied forces.  The Japanese couldn't break the code because only Navajo speakers could understand it.

The medal was awarded because the work of the Code Talkers "greatly assisted in saving countless lives and hastening the end of World War II in the Pacific."  The back of the medal is inscribed with Navajo words that mean "The Navajo Language Was Used to Defeat the Enemy."


2002 General Henry H. Shelton

General Shelton served our nation for many years and in many ways, including as military advisor to the President.  He helped to coordinate the air part of Operation Allied Force, a victory without a single allied casualty in Kosovo in 1999.

This medal also recognizes his work as a military advisor, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and commander of helicopter forces in Operation Desert Storm and of Green Berets in Vietnam.  General Shelton "serves as an inspiration to the Congress and the people of the United States."

OBVERSE: 2002 General Henry H. Shelton medal

REVERSE: 2002 General Henry H. Shelton medal

Front of 2007 Tuskegee Airmen medal.

Back of 2007 Tuskegee Airmen medal.

2007 Tuskegee Airmen

The Tuskegee Airmen were African-American pilots who became heroes during WWII.  They were famous for escorting American bombers in raids over Europe and North Africa.  The distinguished service of these 994 pilots played a part in President Truman's decision to desegregate the U.S. military.

This medal was given because of the "unique military record" of the Tuskegee Airmen, "which inspired revolutionary reform in the Armed Forces."

Older Military Gold Medals

Congressional Gold Medals date all the way back to 1776, when the nation's first was given to George Washington.  Here are some of the dozens of other military heroes awarded this high honor:

Besides medals, many commemorative coins have honored military heroes, such as:

[return] to Medal Mania!


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