Special Report

Each State's Most Recent Medal of Honor Recipient

Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

Abraham Lincoln signed the legislation creating the Navy’s Medal of Honor in December 1861, beginning a storied tradition of military valor and gallantry that had held for more than 150 years (later legislations included other branches). In that time, just over 3,500 medals have been awarded among the more than 41 million Americans who have served over the course of the nation’s history.

Medals of Honor have been awarded for acts of heroism and bravery that unite recipients despite hailing from cities, towns, and cultures all across the nation. And in each generation, soldiers with uncommon valor show the newest generation is no different. (Here is every state’s most impressive medal of honor recipient.)

To identify the most recent Medal of Honor recipient from each state, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed data from the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. States are ordered alphabetically. We included the name of the most recent recipient as well as what branch of the military they served in, highest rank, date of medal presentation, and the conflict the recipient was involved in. All information is from the society. (Also see, every medal and ribbon the U.S. military awards, ranked.)

The most recent recipient of the Medal of Honor is Paris D. Davis for his service in the Vietnam War with the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces. Despite receiving the medal for service during combat operations on June 17-18, 1965, Davis was presented the medal by President Joe Biden at the White House on March 3, 2023. Davis “distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty.” 

Sergeant First Class Christopher Andrew Celiz distinguished himself in Afghanistan when he willfully exposed himself to heavy enemy fire so his team was able to safely evacuate, preventing more casualties. Celiz would not survive the encounter, but his sacrifice and selflessness are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service. Biden presented his Medal of Honor on Dec. 16, 2021, at the White House.

These heroes, while spanning different battlefields and eras, all share in their exceptional demonstration of gallantry and bravery. Though the Medal of Honor is only awarded to a select few, it serves as an inspiration to many. 

Here is a look at the most recent recipient of the Medal of Honor from each state.

Alabama, George Watson
> Date of presentation: January 13, 1997
> Military branch: U.S. Army
> Highest rank achieved: Private
> Served in this conflict: World War II

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Alaska, N/A
> Date of presentation: N/A
> Military branch: N/A
> Highest rank achieved: N/A
> Served in this conflict: N/A

Arizona, Manuel V Mendoza
> Date of presentation: March 18, 2014
> Military branch: U.S. Army
> Highest rank achieved: Staff Sergeant
> Served in this conflict: World War II

Arkansas, Johnny Lee Canley
> Date of presentation: October 17, 2018
> Military branch: U.S. Marine Corps
> Highest rank achieved: Gunnery Sergeant
> Served in this conflict: Vietnam War

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California, Salvador J. Lara; Joe Gandara
> Date of presentation: March 18, 2014
> Military branch: U.S. Army
> Highest rank achieved: Private First Class; Private
> Served in this conflict: World War II

Colorado, Jon Edward Swanson
> Date of presentation: May 1, 2002
> Military branch: U.S. Army
> Highest rank achieved: Captain
> Served in this conflict: Vietnam War

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Connecticut, John A. Chapman
> Date of presentation: August 22, 2018
> Military branch: U.S. Air Force
> Highest rank achieved: Master Sergeant
> Served in this conflict: War on Terrorism

Delaware, James Phillip Connor
> Date of presentation: May 7, 1945
> Military branch: U.S. Army
> Highest rank achieved: Sergeant
> Served in this conflict: World War II

Florida, Alwyn Crendall Cashe
> Date of presentation: December 16, 2021
> Military branch: U.S. Army
> Highest rank achieved: Sergeant First Class
> Served in this conflict: War on Terrorism

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Georgia, William D. Swenson
> Date of presentation: October 16, 2013
> Military branch: U.S. Army
> Highest rank achieved: Lieutenant Colonel
> Served in this conflict: War on Terrorism

Hawaii, Dennis M. Fujii; Edward N. Kaneshiro
> Date of presentation: July 5, 2022
> Military branch: U.S. Army
> Highest rank achieved: Specialist Five; Staff Sergeant
> Served in this conflict: Vietnam War

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Idaho, Frank Stanley Reasoner
> Date of presentation: January 31, 1967
> Military branch: U.S. Marine Corps
> Highest rank achieved: First Lieutenant
> Served in this conflict: Vietnam War

Illinois, John J. Duffy
> Date of presentation: July 5, 2022
> Military branch: U.S. Army
> Highest rank achieved: Major
> Served in this conflict: Vietnam War

Indiana, Frank Harry Ono
> Date of presentation: September 21, 2000
> Military branch: U.S. Army
> Highest rank achieved: Private First Class
> Served in this conflict: World War II

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Iowa, Salvatore Augustine Giunta
> Date of presentation: November 16, 2010
> Military branch: U.S. Army
> Highest rank achieved: Staff Sergeant
> Served in this conflict: War on Terrorism

Kansas, Riley Leroy Pitts
> Date of presentation: December 10, 1968
> Military branch: U.S. Army
> Highest rank achieved: Captain
> Served in this conflict: Vietnam War

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Kentucky, Garlin Murl Conner
> Date of presentation: June 26, 2018
> Military branch: U.S. Army
> Highest rank achieved: First Lieutenant
> Served in this conflict: World War II

Louisiana, Paris D. Davis
> Date of presentation: March 3, 2023
> Military branch: U.S. Army
> Highest rank achieved: Colonel
> Served in this conflict: Vietnam War

Maine, Gary Ivan Gordon
> Date of presentation: May 23, 1994
> Military branch: U.S. Army
> Highest rank achieved: Master Sergeant
> Served in this conflict: Somalia (Operation Restore Hope)

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Maryland, Florent A. Groberg
> Date of presentation: November 12, 2015
> Military branch: U.S. Army
> Highest rank achieved: Captain
> Served in this conflict: War on Terrorism

Massachusetts, Britt Kelly Slabinski
> Date of presentation: May 24, 2018
> Military branch: U.S. Navy SEALs
> Highest rank achieved: Master Chief
> Served in this conflict: War on Terrorism

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Michigan, James C. McCloughan
> Date of presentation: July 31, 2017
> Military branch: U.S. Army
> Highest rank achieved: Specialist Fifth Class
> Served in this conflict: Vietnam War

Minnesota, Leo Keith Thorsness
> Date of presentation: October 15, 1973
> Military branch: U.S. Air Force
> Highest rank achieved: Lieutenant Colonel
> Served in this conflict: Vietnam War

Mississippi, Ed W. Freeman
> Date of presentation: July 16, 2001
> Military branch: U.S. Army
> Highest rank achieved: Major
> Served in this conflict: Vietnam War

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Missouri, Willy F. James Jr.
> Date of presentation: January 13, 1997
> Military branch: U.S. Army
> Highest rank achieved: Private First Class
> Served in this conflict: World War II

Montana, Travis W. Atkins
> Date of presentation: March 27, 2019
> Military branch: U.S. Army
> Highest rank achieved: Staff Sergeant
> Served in this conflict: War on Terrorism

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Nebraska, Donald K Schwab
> Date of presentation: March 18, 2014
> Military branch: U.S. Army
> Highest rank achieved: First Lieutenant
> Served in this conflict: World War II

Nevada, Bruce Avery Van Voorhis
> Date of presentation: August 1, 1946
> Military branch: U.S. Navy
> Highest rank achieved: Commander
> Served in this conflict: World War II

New Hampshire, Richard Hetherington O’Kane
> Date of presentation: March 27, 1946
> Military branch: U.S. Navy
> Highest rank achieved: Rear Admiral
> Served in this conflict: World War II

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New Jersey, Henry Svehla
> Date of presentation: May 2, 2011
> Military branch: U.S. Army
> Highest rank achieved: Private First Class
> Served in this conflict: Korean War

New Mexico, Leroy Arthur Petry
> Date of presentation: July 12, 2011
> Military branch: U.S. Army
> Highest rank achieved: Master Sergeant
> Served in this conflict: War on Terrorism

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New York, Ralph Puckett, Jr.
> Date of presentation: May 21, 2021
> Military branch: U.S. Army
> Highest rank achieved: Colonel
> Served in this conflict: Korean War

North Carolina, Melvin Morris
> Date of presentation: March 18, 2014
> Military branch: U.S. Army
> Highest rank achieved: Sergeant First Class
> Served in this conflict: Vietnam War

North Dakota, Woodrow Wilson Keeble
> Date of presentation: March 3, 2008
> Military branch: U.S. Army
> Highest rank achieved: Master Sergeant
> Served in this conflict: Korean War

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Ohio, Edward C. Byers, Jr.
> Date of presentation: February 29, 2016
> Military branch: U.S. Navy SEALs
> Highest rank achieved: Master Chief
> Served in this conflict: War on Terrorism

Oklahoma, Dwight W. Birdwell
> Date of presentation: July 5, 2022
> Military branch: U.S. Army
> Highest rank achieved: Specialist Five
> Served in this conflict: Vietnam War

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Oregon, Larry Gilbert Dahl
> Date of presentation: August 8, 1974
> Military branch: U.S. Army
> Highest rank achieved: Specialist Fourth Class
> Served in this conflict: Vietnam War

Pennsylvania, Ross A. McGinnis
> Date of presentation: June 2, 2008
> Military branch: U.S. Army
> Highest rank achieved: Private First Class
> Served in this conflict: War on Terrorism

Rhode Island, David Bernard Champagne
> Date of presentation: July 23, 1953
> Military branch: U.S. Marine Corps
> Highest rank achieved: Corporal
> Served in this conflict: Korean War

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South Carolina, Christopher Andrew Celiz
> Date of presentation: December 16, 2021
> Military branch: U.S. Army
> Highest rank achieved: Sergeant First Class
> Served in this conflict: War on Terrorism

South Dakota, Michael John Fitzmaurice
> Date of presentation: October 15, 1973
> Military branch: U.S. Army
> Highest rank achieved: Technical Sergeant
> Served in this conflict: Vietnam War

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Tennessee, Don Jenkins
> Date of presentation: March 2, 1971
> Military branch: U.S. Army
> Highest rank achieved: Staff Sergeant
> Served in this conflict: Vietnam War

Texas, Matthew O. Williams
> Date of presentation: October 30, 2019
> Military branch: U.S. Army
> Highest rank achieved: Sergeant Major
> Served in this conflict: War on Terrorism

Utah, George Taro “Joe” Sakato
> Date of presentation: June 21, 2000
> Military branch: U.S. Army
> Highest rank achieved: Private
> Served in this conflict: World War II

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Vermont, Lawson Paterson “Red” Ramage
> Date of presentation: January 10, 1945
> Military branch: U.S. Navy
> Highest rank achieved: Vice Admiral
> Served in this conflict: World War II

Virginia, Humbert Roque “Rocky” Versace
> Date of presentation: July 8, 2002
> Military branch: U.S. Army
> Highest rank achieved: Captain
> Served in this conflict: Vietnam War

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Washington, Ronald J. Shurer II
> Date of presentation: October 1, 2018
> Military branch: U.S. Army
> Highest rank achieved: Staff Sergeant
> Served in this conflict: War on Terrorism

West Virginia, Robert Willard Hartsock
> Date of presentation: August 6, 1970
> Military branch: U.S. Army
> Highest rank achieved: Staff Sergeant
> Served in this conflict: Vietnam War

Wisconsin, Benjamin Lewis Salomon
> Date of presentation: May 1, 2002
> Military branch: U.S. Army
> Highest rank achieved: Captain
> Served in this conflict: World War II

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Wyoming, Joe Hayashi
> Date of presentation: June 21, 2000
> Military branch: U.S. Army
> Highest rank achieved: Private
> Served in this conflict: World War II

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