From the double and tripling down on some of the details after questions were posed to this blog a few weeks back, I now offer what I believe is the answer to these questions. Though I caution that with so many versions of event involving this case, it is quite difficult coming up with what appears to be the correct answers sought. Truly, to some the answer may never be known.
Regardless I'll try!
A few blogs back I published a "star" shaped navy Medal of Honor. I noted that as evidenced by the date of receipt, per file doc's from his 2nd wife regarding pension matters, it would seem that this was indeed the first of what would probably be 3 different medals that John Otto Siegel would own at one point or another.
But my image had the incorrect suspension ribbon. Here is a photo of the close to Civil War type Star shaped medal that was probably issued back in March 1919.
To begin, the fowling was dropped shortly after the Civil War, and whilst possibly still in use the odd time, one would expect that Siegel's would NOT HAVE this fowling. That aside the old suspension system of being pinned on the chest (as per medal on left) was later changed and substituted with a ribbon that was worn around the neck and from this suspended the actual medal. This is shown above at right.
Another issue raised dealt with the actual field of 13 stars on the ribbons of these medals. There are no shortages of images on the net today showing pictures of the Tiffany Cross with ribbons. All those showing ribbons, have the 13 stars. But some have the 1st and lone star at the top while others have it reversed with the lone star at the bottom.
It has been suggested that this means nothing, though several sites say one means that the medal was awarded for actions in the face of the enemy. And the other was used for sailor like duties that also involved heroic deeds in life saving onboard a ship in flames, or if diving into deep ocean waters to rescue a man overboard etc... events that do not involve actual combat with the enemy.
First off, as a former Sergeant Major, I would immediately place a man or woman on charge who reported on my parade square, or anywhere else wearing a medal that was upside down, and the same for a ribbon so worn. That was the norm in the military, for my close to 20 yrs service in uniform.
Surely if an upside down medal ribbon was detected, anyone of authority would have jumped on this and ordered corrective actions rather than let the matter continue FOR YEARS.
That aside, I now show you images from 3 different sites regarding the Tiffany Cross... and it's ribbon with field of 13 stars.
In this book it included the above image of the new Tiffany Cross created from the resulting Act of the 65th US Congress in 1918. There would be 2 versions of the Cross, one coming several years later. But this one, by virtue of the Act, was approved effective 4 Feb., 1919
This government document appears to show what ribbon was legal. That with the lone star at the top of the field of 13.
Whilst perhaps a questionable concept in this day and age, one would assume that back in 1919 the government bureaucracy new what ribbon was appropriate.
That being said I now turn to the current website of the US Naval History and Heritage Command. This image was downloaded just a few weeks ago.
Now we see a 2nd government site showing the same medal but with the lone star now at the bottom. What gives???
The site says this is the WW1 Tiffany's image, yet they are wrong. The suspension between the medal and the ribbon is of a later design that was used AFTER WW1. The correct image for WW1 should be the one shown in the picture above this one.
Complicating matters further, I have consulted the Con-gressional Medal of Honor website often regarding many issues over the years. The staff there have been of great help and encouragement to this blog in all of my dealings with them.
But we have not spoken on the topic of the Tiffany Cross. Here is what their very popular site shows us regarding this medal...
Also to be noted, the site claims that the Tiffany Cross is the rarest of all forms of the Medal of Honor. I may be wrong but I think that there are fewer Air Force MOH than Tiffany medals.
And lets also remember there was only one MOH for the Coast Guard, though the Munro medal was the same that marines and sailors of the day earned.
I will continue with this subject in the next blog...on Sunday March 15th.
Hope to see you then.