AF holds Medal of Honor recognition event

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Anthony Nelson Jr.
  • Secretary of the Air Force Public Affairs Command Information
In observance of National Medal of Honor Day, Air Force senior leaders hosted a Q-and-A session with two of the Air Force's living Medal of Honor recipients, retired Cols. Joe M. Jackson and Leo K. Thorsness at the Pentagon, March 24.

"We are honored to have our Air Force history among us today," said Secretary of the Air Force Deborah Lee James. "Getting to hear these amazing Airmen's stories firsthand is something special."

Jackson and Thorsness met with Airmen during a meet and greet at the Hall of Heroes. Topics of discussion ranged from combat experiences, returning from war, faith, wingmen and receiving the Medal of Honor.

"Always try to do the right thing," Thorsness said. "I can't say that I have always done the right thing but the faith I have in God brought me through many occasions."

Jackson talked to Airmen about how being a Medal of Honor recipient has changed his life and shared his understanding of the Medal of Honor.

"No one wins the Medal of Honor, it's not a contest," Jackson said. "You are a Medal of Honor recipient. There's so much in the medal and we are (only) temporary caretakers of what it stands for."

Both Medal of Honor recipients communicated to Airmen that teamwork is critical to mission success.

"Listening to the MOH recipients' story reminded me of the value of teamwork and the wingman concept, "said Airman 1st Class Cherish Smith.

The recipients stated trust and loyalty is the foundation that builds up to effective teamwork in peacetime and in war.

"We (Airmen) cherish moments like this," said Lt. Gen. Sam Cox, the deputy chief of staff for manpower, personnel and services for Headquarters Air Force.

The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force which can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the armed services of the U.S. March 25, 1991, was designated as "National Medal of Honor Day" according to public law 101-564.

To find more information about Jackson and Thorsness as well as the Air Force Medal of Honor recipients, visit the Air Force Historical support division website.

For more information about the criteria and procedures for submitting a Medal of Honor, see Air Force Instruction 36-2803, "The Air Force Military Awards and Decorations Program."