WASHINGTON (JTA) — Twenty-four American soldiers, including the late uncle of musician Lenny Kravitz, will receive the Medal of Honor after most of them were overlooked because of anti-Jewish or anti-Hispanic prejudice.
The White House said in a statement issued Friday that the medals to be awarded March 18 are the result of a review mandated by a law passed in 2002 by Congress based on reports that some troops had been denied the nation’s highest military honor because of prejudice.
In the course of the review, the statement said, it was found that several soldiers not of Jewish or Hispanic descent also had been denied the medal, and that they, too, would be honored.
Three soldiers will receive the award in person from President Obama. Posthumous honors will go to other troops who fought in the Vietnam and Korean wars, as well as in World War II. The White House did not identify which of the awardees were Jewish or Hispanic or neither.
Two Florida lawmakers, Rep. Ted Deutch (D-Fla.) and Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.), noted in separate statements that one of the awardees is Pvt. Leonard Kravitz, who died fending off Communist forces on March 6-7, 1951, near Yangpyong in Korea. The namesake of the musician faced an ambush with a machine gun, so his fellow troops could evacuate.
Mitchel Libman, a a childhood friend of Kravitz now living in Hollywood, Fla., had championed his cause.