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The Medal of Honor is the United States of America's highest military honor, awarded for personal acts of valor above and beyond the call of duty. The medal is awarded by the President of the United States in the name of Congress to US military personnel only. There are three versions of the medal; one for the Army, one for the Navy, and one for the Air Force. Personnel of the Marine Corps and Coast Guard receive the Navy version. The Medal of Honor is usually presented by the President at the White House in a formal ceremony intended to represent the gratitude of the American people, with posthumous presentations made to the primary next of kin. In 1990, Congress designated March 25 annually as "National Medal of Honor Day". Due to its prestige and status, the Medal of Honor is afforded special protection under U.S. law against any unauthorized adornment, sale, or manufacture, which includes any associated ribbon or badge. Although the medal is sometimes referred to as the Congressional Medal of Honor, the original and official name is simply the "Medal of Honor"


Here are two Living Medal of Honor Recipients Residing in Alabama


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Colonel Leo K. Thorsness

Born: February 14, 1932 (age 82)  Walnut Grove, MN
Branch: United States Air Force Year of Service: 1951-1973
Rank: Colonel Unit: 357th Tactical Fighter Squadron, 355th Tactical Fighter Wing
Conflict: Vietnam

Awards:  Medal of Honor, Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, Purple Heart, Air Metal

Leo Keith Thorsness (born February 14, 1932) is a retired Colonel in the United States Air Force who received the Medal of Honor for his actions in the Vietnam War. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for an air engagement on April 19, 1967. He was shot down two weeks later and spent six years in captivity in North Vietnam as a prisoner of war. After his military service, Thorsness served one term in the Washington State Senate. Thorsness was born in Walnut Grove, Minnesota, where he earned the Eagle Scout award from the Boy Scouts of America.  He is one of only nine known Eagle Scouts who also received the Medal of Honor. In 2010, Thorsness received the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award.  He enlisted in the Air Force at the age of 19 while his brother was then serving in Korea. Through the Aviation Cadet program, Class 54-G, in 1954 he received his commission as an officer and his wings with a rating of pilot.  He later earned a Bachelor's degree from the University of Omaha, and a Masters in systems management from the University of Southern California.  Thorsness completed training as a fighter pilot and flew both F-84 and F-100 jets before transitioning to the F-105 Thunderchief. In the autumn of 1966, after completing F-105 "Wild Weasel" training at George AFB, California, he was assigned to the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing based at Takhli Royal Thai Air Force Base in Thailand.  Flying as aircraft commander in F-105F's, he was tasked with locating and destroying North Vietnamese surface-to-air missile (SAM) sites.

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James M. Sprayberry

Born: April 24, 1947 (age 67) LaGrange GA

Branch of Service: US Army, Year of Service 1967-1988

Rank: 1st Lieutenant Company D 5th Battalion, 7th Cavalry, 1st Cavarlry

Conflict: Vietnam War

Awards: Medal of Honor


James M. Sprayberry (born April 24 1947) recieved the Medal of Honor for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. Capt. Sprayberry, Armor, U.S. Army, distinguished himself by exceptional bravery while serving as executive officer of Company D. His company commander...of the men were wounded and separated from the main body of the company. A daylight attempt to rescue them was driven back by the well entrenched enemy's heavy fire. Capt. Sprayberry ...a volunteer night patrol to eliminate the intervening enemy bunkers and to relieve the surrounded element. The patrol soon began receiving enemy machinegun fire. Capt. Sprayberry quickly moved the men to protective cover and without regard for his own safety, crawled within close range of the bunker from which the fire was coming. He silenced the machinegun with a hand grenade. Identifying several l-man enemy positions nearby, Capt. Sprayberry immediately attacked them with the rest of his grenades. He crawled back for more grenades and when 2 grenades were thrown at his men from a position to the front, Capt. Sprayberry, without hesitation, again exposed himself and charged the enemy-held bunker killing its occupants with a grenade. Placing 2 men to cover his advance, he crawled forward and neutralized 3 more bunkers with grenades.


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