Several websites, some of which we ought to be able to rely, bring us varying versions of some of the Siegel details re the Medal of Honor, or medals, and suspension ribbons.
One of these regarding the ribbons makes note of two separate versions of the ribbon... apparently leading us to believe two sorts of medals were issued. One with the ribbon having a field of 13 stars and a lone star at the top, the others saying it was on the bottom. Images of both appear often on the web. Some say one refers to actions in the face of the enemy and the other being awarded for bravery NOT in the face of the enemy.
A researcher with far more experience than I, responded to my blogs saying that a lone star up... or down means nothing other than a sloppy creation by the manufacturer. But I again note that some sites produced by authorities argue one side while others argue the other.
Who knows which is right, and why the others are continuing to this day in advancing the other side of the story. As far as I am concerned, I am moving on regarding this point. It is far too much detail probably for the needs of most readers of this blog.
Regarding the navy, marine and coast guard Medal of Honor, a version called the Tiffany Cross was introduced in 1917, making it briefly retroactive, and ultimately pulling it from use all together less than 3 decades later.
Past blogs have noted that the Tiffany Cross at one point was awarded for actions with and without contact with the enemy. But my reading expert tells me that the TC was ONLY issued for actions in the face of the enemy.
While I appreciate having my feet held to the fire when needed, so as to correct the story for the reader, I have come across what seems to be a strong argument that the TC at one point was in fact awarded for actions NOT in the face of the enemy.
A 1924 US Congress document tells of the creation of the Tiffany Cross. It was approved years earlier... on 4 Feb 1917. Here is a portion of that document...
The preamble, or section 1, tells us that the congress is giving the President the power to award... in the name of congress ... a Medal of Honor... to any person... in the naval service... who shall... in actual contact... with the enemy... distinguishes himself... conspicuously by gallant intrepidity at the risk of his life... above and beyond the call of duty... without detriment to the mission of his command...
Section 2 does not apply to matters at hand.
Section 3 says that... the President is further authorized to present... but not in the name of congress... a Navy Cross of appropriate design and ribbon... to any person in the naval service since the 6th day of April 1917... who had distinguished or who shall hereafter distinguish himself... by extraordinary heroism or distinguished service... in the line of his profession, ... such heroism or service... not being sufficient to justify the award of a Medal of Honor or a Distinguished Service Medal.
This clearly states that there were two different medals... one called a Medal of Honor and another called a Navy Cross. Further, one is for action in the face of the enemy and one is for actions in the line of the naval profession and not on the face of the enemy.
This is what my past blogs have stated.
However it seems that misleading info and perhaps confusion has led to a few of the Navy Crosses being awarded were a Medal of Honor was intended.
But again probably too much detail for the overall purposes of this blog.
So I now move on...
As already noted in this space, John Otto Siegel's colourful career included two wives... at the same time... a few desertions and a Medal of Honor to boot.
Here you have read in the past that Siegel worked on the massive Boulder Dam project. In 1934 a fire at his worksite... and home... caused Siegel to lose his Medal of Honor and many other worldly possessions.
He applied to the government for a replacement. It was denied as shown with this document.
Here we see a possible story that is akin to the 1917 purge of some 900 medals ILLEGALLY. Each offended party was entitled by law to the Rule of Law. None were allowed that benefit. Once awarded, the medal can not be taken a way unless the Rule of Law is applied. It wasn't in the Purge cases and possible the same here.
That aside, one might reflect on the days before the creation of the Medal of Honor. American authorities of the day looked to several experiences in other countries when creating their highest awards for bravery. One of those
countries was Britain.
And this fellow has been credited to have apparently had something to say about medals and withdrawing them.
Well, recently I have heard from another researcher who has been a strong supporter of this blog for many years. He comes from afar... in fact Australia and is a well known and accomplished historian in all matters referring to the VC.
He tells me that in his research he has determined that the King never wrote about these thoughts but in fact discussed them with his Private Secretary... who later wrote about the King's thought's.
Regardless, those thoughts included the fact that no matter what the crime committed by anyone whom the VC had been conferred, the decoration should not be forfeited. Even when a VC recipient was sentenced to be hanged for murder, he should be allowed to wear his Victoria Cross on the scaffold.
My friend further noted that regardless on the wishes of the crown, such may or may not be considered by the government of the day. He added that wishes did not obligate the government of the day to comply with the thoughts. It was the law that must be followed.
I tell you of this, while reminding you that, as noted above, the Siegel matter resulted in a dishonourable discharge and an apparent loss of right for a replacement medal. What document exists telling us that the Siegel trial documented that the COURT decided his medal was to be rescinded? I have yet to find this document.
If it does not exist, despite general army regulations calling for a rescinding, same are not in accordance with the Rule of Law provisions oft noted in this space in the past. Any property given by the government can not be taken away from anyone unless the Rules of Law are applied. Matters written extensively about in past blogs here regarding the 1917 purge, and over 900 medals of Honor being rescinded from the 27th Maine and others.
Over a dozen of these were Canadians.
Like a dog with a bone, I shall continue with more on Sunday March 29th.
In the mean time watch for news on the 25th that in fact that day is Medal of Honor Day all across the US.
Too bad it isn't being celebrated here in Canada as well!