The Medal of Honor is the highest military decoration that may be awarded to an individual by the U.S. government. It is presented by the President of the United States, in the name of Congress, and is conferred only upon members of the U.S. Armed Forces who distinguish themselves through conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force.
Members of all branches of the U.S. military are eligible to receive the Medal of Honor, often referred to as the Congressional Medal of Honor. Each service has a unique version with the exception of the Marine Corps and Coast Guard, which both use the Navy's variation. The Medal of Honor is one of two military awards which are worn around the neck. Due to its high status, it possesses special protection under U.S. law.
With roots dating back to the Revolutionary War, the Medal of Honor was officially created for distinguished Navy personnel in 1861. The Army followed suit with a similar award for valor in 1862. In 1863, Congress made the Medal of Honor a permanent decoration.
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