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Medal of Honor Quiz ― 20 Questions

A picture of the initial design of the Medal of Honor with a five-pointed star containing clusters of laurel and oak leaves.

By Vivian Mason

The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration awarded for valor by the U.S. government, and is presented by the President of the United States in the name of Congress. It’s conferred only upon members of the Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty” and, contrary to popular belief, it’s not called the Congressional Medal of Honor. Officially, its name is simply the Medal of Honor.

The award was first authorized in 1861 for Sailors and Marines, then for Soldiers the following year. Of the millions of service members who have served this great nation, 3,526 total medals have been awarded, with 2,457 of those awarded to members of the Army, 749 to members of the Navy, 300 to the Marine Corps, 19 to the Air Force, and one medal awarded to a member of the Coast Guard.  Sixty-nine medals were bestowed on living recipients. 

Each branch of service's Medal of Honor
Medal of Honor for all three services. Steeped with symbolism, the Medal of Honor was thoughtfully designed to portray the very values its recipients
displayed. [Image credit: Courtesy of the National Medal of Honor Museum]

It is the only U.S. military award worn around the neck, as opposed to being pinned on the uniform. Medal of Honor recipients are also presented with a Medal of Honor flag, along with several other privileges and benefits, such as a Medal of Honor pension of $1,406.73 per month, above and beyond any military pensions or other benefits for which they may be eligible. They also receive a supplemental uniform allowance, and commissary and exchange privileges for themselves and any eligible dependents, a 10 percent increase in retirement pay, and interment at Arlington National Cemetery. 

It’s not a requirement to be a U.S. citizen to receive the Medal of Honor, but recipients must be serving with the U.S. military. More than 800 medals have been awarded to noncitizens, including 65 Canadians.


To test your knowledge about the Medal of Honor, below are some questions about the award and its heroic recipients.

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1. The youngest recipient of the Medal of Honor was only 13 years old. True or false?


2. Have any medals ever been revoked? Yes or no?


3. How many pairs of brothers received the Medal of Honor?


4. How many women have received the Medal of Honor?


5. What president received the Medal of Honor?


6. How many double recipients have there been?


7. Of the Civil War, World War I, World War II, and Vietnam, which conflict resulted in the most Medal of Honor recipients?


8. The Army version of the Medal of Honor includes what helmeted figure at the center of the star?


9. Who received the first Medal of Honor?


10. What country produced more foreign-born recipients than any other?


11. Sgt. William Carney of the 54th Massachusetts Regiment earned the Medal of Honor during an 1863 attack against which Confederate fortress?


12. Aside from the U.S. military academies, which university or college has the most Medal of Honor recipients?


13. What actor played Medal of Honor recipient Alvin C. York and won an Academy Award in 1941 for his portrayal in the film Sergeant York?


14. This Medal of Honor recipient founded the OSS (Office of Strategic Services), the precursor to the CIA.


15. How many Native Americans have received the Medal of Honor?


16. This Marine Corps fighter ace and Medal of Honor recipient was the first commissioner of the American Football League.


17. Edward Byers earned the Medal of Honor for actions taken during a 2012 hostage rescue in Afghanistan. Chief Byers was a part of which U.S. Special Operations team during the action?


18. UH-1 helicopter pilot Maj. Pat Brady earned the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War for flying a kind of mission codenamed “Dust Off.” What kind of mission was a Dustoff?


19. Staff Sergeant David Bellavia was awarded the Medal of Honor for his 2004 actions fighting in this Iraqi city.


20. Name the one African American double Medal of Honor recipient.