WASHINGTON – Eight years of war in Afghanistan and Iraq. About 4,000 members of the U.S. military killed in action. More than 34,000 wounded. Just six considered worthy of America's highest military award for battlefield valor.
For some veterans and members of Congress, that last number doesn't add up.
They question how so few Medals of Honor — all awarded posthumously — could be bestowed for wars of such magnitude and duration.
Those explanations don't tell the whole story, said Rep. Duncan Hunter, a first-term lawmaker who served combat tours as a Marine in Iraq and Afghanistan. He has sponsored legislation that directs the defense secretary to review current trends in awarding the to determine what's behind the low count.
The bill passed the House. If Senate negotiators go along, Secretary Robert Gates would have to report back by March 31.
"It seems like our collective standard for who gets the Medal of Honor has been raised," said Hunter, R-Calif.