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  #1  
Old 06 Jan 13, 00:33
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Frontier Medals of Honor

Several civilian scouts were awarded the Medal of Honor for gallantry in action during the Indian Wars. W.F. Cody and Billy Dixon were among them. These Medals of Honor, among others, were revoked in 1917 and reinstated in 1989. The justification for revoking the awards was that the actions of these scouts would not justify the MoH under the current standards. Evidently, the justification for reinstating the awards was that the scouts met the standards of their time.

I can see this both ways. In reading about the actions of these scouts, it's obvious they displayed great personal courage. No one questions that in the least. But it might have been a display of courage that it would justify something like a Distinguished Service Cross or Silver Star today. But ultimately, I dislike revisonist history and since the men met the standards of their day I believe reinstatement was indeed in order.

What amazes me is that when the medals were revoked that a DSC or Silver Star was not awarded. Was there no regulation allowing that in 1917? As far as I know, between 1917 and 1989 these men officially had no valor award on their record. And you can't read very much about these old boys without realizing they were indeed "ser muy hombre!"
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  #2  
Old 14 Jan 13, 23:26
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Originally Posted by KRJ View Post
Several civilian scouts were awarded the Medal of Honor for gallantry in action during the Indian Wars. W.F. Cody and Billy Dixon were among them. These Medals of Honor, among others, were revoked in 1917 and reinstated in 1989. The justification for revoking the awards was that the actions of these scouts would not justify the MoH under the current standards. Evidently, the justification for reinstating the awards was that the scouts met the standards of their time.

I can see this both ways. In reading about the actions of these scouts, it's obvious they displayed great personal courage. No one questions that in the least. But it might have been a display of courage that it would justify something like a Distinguished Service Cross or Silver Star today. But ultimately, I dislike revisonist history and since the men met the standards of their day I believe reinstatement was indeed in order.

What amazes me is that when the medals were revoked that a DSC or Silver Star was not awarded. Was there no regulation allowing that in 1917? As far as I know, between 1917 and 1989 these men officially had no valor award on their record. And you can't read very much about these old boys without realizing they were indeed "ser muy hombre!"
I don't think the DSC or Silver Star existed during the Frontier Indian Wars era.

I'm pretty sure the only medal issued for Valor in that time was the MOH.

On a side note, I visited Bill Cody's grave site in Colorado back in 2008 and "Medal of Honor" was prominently displayed on the tombstone along with his name.

I've got several pics of it somewhere. I might be able to post one.
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  #3  
Old 15 Jan 13, 09:02
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Originally Posted by KRJ View Post
Several civilian scouts were awarded the Medal of Honor for gallantry in action during the Indian Wars. W.F. Cody and Billy Dixon were among them. These Medals of Honor, among others, were revoked in 1917 and reinstated in 1989. The justification for revoking the awards was that the actions of these scouts would not justify the MoH under the current standards. Evidently, the justification for reinstating the awards was that the scouts met the standards of their time.

I can see this both ways. In reading about the actions of these scouts, it's obvious they displayed great personal courage. No one questions that in the least. But it might have been a display of courage that it would justify something like a Distinguished Service Cross or Silver Star today. But ultimately, I dislike revisonist history and since the men met the standards of their day I believe reinstatement was indeed in order.

What amazes me is that when the medals were revoked that a DSC or Silver Star was not awarded. Was there no regulation allowing that in 1917? As far as I know, between 1917 and 1989 these men officially had no valor award on their record. And you can't read very much about these old boys without realizing they were indeed "ser muy hombre!"
Its my understanding that Billy Dixon and Amos Chapman lost their MoH because they were scouts and not soldiers. All six US participants at the Buffalo Wallow fight were awarded the MoH. Of the group, Dixon was the leader and, by all accounts but Chapman's, the hero of the day. According to Chapman, Chapman was the hero of the day. Both were reinstated in 1989. It just wouldn't make sense for their acts to be deemed not good enough when all were equally decorated.
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  #4  
Old 15 Jan 13, 09:22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KRJ View Post
Several civilian scouts were awarded the Medal of Honor for gallantry in action during the Indian Wars. W.F. Cody and Billy Dixon were among them. These Medals of Honor, among others, were revoked in 1917 and reinstated in 1989. The justification for revoking the awards was that the actions of these scouts would not justify the MoH under the current standards. Evidently, the justification for reinstating the awards was that the scouts met the standards of their time.

I can see this both ways. In reading about the actions of these scouts, it's obvious they displayed great personal courage. No one questions that in the least. But it might have been a display of courage that it would justify something like a Distinguished Service Cross or Silver Star today. But ultimately, I dislike revisonist history and since the men met the standards of their day I believe reinstatement was indeed in order.

What amazes me is that when the medals were revoked that a DSC or Silver Star was not awarded. Was there no regulation allowing that in 1917? As far as I know, between 1917 and 1989 these men officially had no valor award on their record. And you can't read very much about these old boys without realizing they were indeed "ser muy hombre!"
Those two medals were not in use in 1917. Looking at the criteria for the time frame the two gentlemen in question did earn theirs. Reading the history of the medal is interesting to find out about some of the actions were people were awarded the medal in peacetime and for things such as risking life to save a drowning person or safe a person from a building fire. The criteria we use today meets a much higher standard than in times past and that is the way it should be. We should never cheapen it's meaning for PC or anything else.
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  #5  
Old 15 Jan 13, 12:35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by KRJ View Post
Several civilian scouts were awarded the Medal of Honor for gallantry in action during the Indian Wars. W.F. Cody and Billy Dixon were among them. These Medals of Honor, among others, were revoked in 1917 and reinstated in 1989. The justification for revoking the awards was that the actions of these scouts would not justify the MoH under the current standards. Evidently, the justification for reinstating the awards was that the scouts met the standards of their time.

I can see this both ways. In reading about the actions of these scouts, it's obvious they displayed great personal courage. No one questions that in the least. But it might have been a display of courage that it would justify something like a Distinguished Service Cross or Silver Star today. But ultimately, I dislike revisionist history and since the men met the standards of their day I believe reinstatement was indeed in order.

What amazes me is that when the medals were revoked that a DSC or Silver Star was not awarded. Was there no regulation allowing that in 1917? As far as I know, between 1917 and 1989 these men officially had no valor award on their record. And you can't read very much about these old boys without realizing they were indeed "ser muy hombre!"
The Distinguished Service Cross and the "Citation" medal were actually created in 1918 when WWI was still on. Since the bulk of fighting by the U.S. Army was done in the summer and fall of 1918, they were in effect when most Americans were fighting. The Citation Star became the Silver Star in 1942. The tiny silver star in the middle of the large star medal, is meant to commemorate the original "Citation Star" The Bronze Star was not created until 1944.

The Medal pendant was approved by the Secretary of the Navy on 20 March 1950, and permitted use of the same medal with a different ribbon on 6 April 1950. The Commendation Ribbon with Medal Pendant was renamed to the Army Commendation Medal in 31 March 1960.

It wasn't until 1964 that the "V" device was authorized to distinguish awards of the Bronze Star and ARCOM for valor from awards for merit.

The Medal of Honor was the only medal the Army had from the Civil War until 1918. As such, it did not require the high standards of today. For example the majority of MOH awardees in Vietnam had to die to get it.Tom Custer won two in the Civil War for capturing Confederate flags. In 1876, more than 20 members of the Seventh Cavalry won it for taking part under fire in a water detail that descended from the hilltop Reno-Benteen perimeter to the Little Big Horn River below.
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  #6  
Old 15 Jan 13, 16:45
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Originally Posted by Captain General View Post
On a side note, I visited Bill Cody's grave site in Colorado back in 2008 and "Medal of Honor" was prominently displayed on the tombstone along with his name.
Cody's grave in Colorado. Whew. Want to get some folks in Cody, Wyoming stirred up? Mention Cody being buried in Colorado.

Quote:
I've got several pics of it somewhere. I might be able to post one.
This is the one in Cody, Wyoming. I believe it's the original.
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Old 15 Jan 13, 16:55
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Originally Posted by KRJ View Post
Cody's grave in Colorado. Whew. Want to get some folks in Cody, Wyoming stirred up? Mention Cody being buried in Colorado.



This is the one in Cody, Wyoming. I believe it's the original.
Is there some controversy whether the grave in Colorado is real?

Or are the Wyoming folks just pissed that he chose to be buried in Colorado.

I thought Cody won the MOH for the "First Scalp for Custer" episode after the LBH?
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  #8  
Old 15 Jan 13, 17:08
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Is there some controversy whether the grave in Colorado is real?
It's real.

Quote:
Or are the Wyoming folks just pissed that he chose to be buried in Colorado.
They believe he didn't choose it. Mrs. Cody chose it because he happened to die there and the City of Denver said they would give him a big funeral that Wyoming didn't have the money to match. Buffalo Bill's remains belong in Cody, Wyoming. Or so say the folks in Cody.

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I thought Cody won the MOH for the "First Scalp for Custer" episode after the LBH?
No, scouting for the 3rd Cavalry in 1872.
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Old 20 Jan 13, 18:49
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I recall reading there was the Certificate of Merit which later in 1917-1918 could be exchanged for a DSC.

CoM provided the holder with extra pay per month. $2 I think is the amount.
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Old 20 Jan 13, 20:20
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I recall reading there was the Certificate of Merit which later in 1917-1918 could be exchanged for a DSC.

CoM provided the holder with extra pay per month. $2 I think is the amount.
That's true. The first Certificate of Merit was adopted for the Mexican War. It's final version was adopted in 1905 and lasted until 1918 when the Distinguished Service Medal (later called "cross") was created. Those who received the COM in WWI could apply for conversion to the DSC.
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Old 20 Jan 13, 21:23
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Up until 1916, Marine Officers could not be awarded the Medal of Honor. Instead, they were given a promotion and a "Brevet Medal" to show that their conduct was above and beyond the call of duty.
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Old 21 Jan 13, 17:03
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Up until 1916, Marine Officers could not be awarded the Medal of Honor. Instead, they were given a promotion and a "Brevet Medal" to show that their conduct was above and beyond the call of duty.
Brevets were the primary recognition for officers since at least the Civil War. Some brevet ranks were conferred because an officer had a higher rank while commanding volunteer state militia units. Others for some distinguished act. George Armstrong Custer commanded a full division of cavalry by the end of the war and held the brevet rank of Major General. But when the war ended he eventually went back to a regular army rank of captain before being promoted to a regular army lieutenant colonel when the Seventh Cavalry Regiment was formed. He never was official commander of the seventh, a position meriting full colonel rank. But with Col. Sam Sturgis always on detached duty, Custer was the de facto commander in the field until his death at the Little Big Horn in 1876. In one of Custer's earliest battles of the Indian Wars in 1868, one of his majors, Joel Elliot, reportedly cried "Here's for a brevet or a coffin!" before leading a 20-man detachment out of site in pursuit of refugees of Custer's attack on the Washita. But a coffin it was, as Elliot ran smack into a large force of Cheyenne and Arapaho coming to help the Cheyenne band of Black Kettle.

Sturgis did not take direct command of the seventh in the field until the 1877 campaign against the Nez Perce in Eastern Montana Territory.
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Old 21 Jan 13, 23:34
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Originally Posted by MontanaKid View Post
Brevets were the primary recognition for officers since at least the Civil War. Some brevet ranks were conferred because an officer had a higher rank while commanding volunteer state militia units. Others for some distinguished act. George Armstrong Custer commanded a full division of cavalry by the end of the war and held the brevet rank of Major General. But when the war ended he eventually went back to a regular army rank of captain before being promoted to a regular army lieutenant colonel when the Seventh Cavalry Regiment was formed. He never was official commander of the seventh, a position meriting full colonel rank. But with Col. Sam Sturgis always on detached duty, Custer was the de facto commander in the field until his death at the Little Big Horn in 1876. In one of Custer's earliest battles of the Indian Wars in 1868, one of his majors, Joel Elliot, reportedly cried "Here's for a brevet or a coffin!" before leading a 20-man detachment out of site in pursuit of refugees of Custer's attack on the Washita. But a coffin it was, as Elliot ran smack into a large force of Cheyenne and Arapaho coming to help the Cheyenne band of Black Kettle.

Sturgis did not take direct command of the seventh in the field until the 1877 campaign against the Nez Perce in Eastern Montana Territory.
The use of brevet promotions during wartime occurred at least once in the American Revolution. Ruttledge to James Williams in Sep 1780.
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Old 21 Jan 13, 23:44
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Sturgis did not take direct command of the seventh in the field until the 1877 campaign against the Nez Perce in Eastern Montana Territory.
IIRC, his son was killed at LBH.
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Old 21 Jan 13, 23:50
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Originally Posted by MontanaKid View Post
Brevets were the primary recognition for officers since at least the Civil War. Some brevet ranks were conferred because an officer had a higher rank while commanding volunteer state militia units. Others for some distinguished act. George Armstrong Custer commanded a full division of cavalry by the end of the war and held the brevet rank of Major General. But when the war ended he eventually went back to a regular army rank of captain before being promoted to a regular army lieutenant colonel when the Seventh Cavalry Regiment was formed. He never was official commander of the seventh, a position meriting full colonel rank. But with Col. Sam Sturgis always on detached duty, Custer was the de facto commander in the field until his death at the Little Big Horn in 1876. In one of Custer's earliest battles of the Indian Wars in 1868, one of his majors, Joel Elliot, reportedly cried "Here's for a brevet or a coffin!" before leading a 20-man detachment out of site in pursuit of refugees of Custer's attack on the Washita. But a coffin it was, as Elliot ran smack into a large force of Cheyenne and Arapaho coming to help the Cheyenne band of Black Kettle.

Sturgis did not take direct command of the seventh in the field until the 1877 campaign against the Nez Perce in Eastern Montana Territory.
And thus starts the flame war about Elliot. Did Custer abandon him to save his misguided attack? The fact is that the MOH was a completely different award before WWI than after.
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