The Medal of Honor is the highest award for valor in action against an enemy force that can be bestowed upon an individual serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Fewer than 3,500 Medals of Honor have ever been awarded. It is presented to a person who distinguishes him or herself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his or her life above and beyond the call of duty while:
- engaged in action against an enemy of the United States;
- engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing foreign force; or
- serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in an armed conflict against an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.
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The silver dollar coin designs convey the patriotism of Medal of Honor recipients.
The design on the obverse of this proof silver dollar depicts the three current Army, Navy and Air Force Medals of Honor, left to right. The ribbon with field of stars in the center is the common feature of all three medals, reflecting the joint nature of modern era warfare and the fact that the Medal of Honor is the only U.S. military medal worn around the neck. Inscriptions are LIBERTY, 1861-2011, IN GOD WE TRUST, and MEDAL OF HONOR.
The reverse design depicts a contemporary infantry soldier carrying a wounded soldier to safety under enemy fire, reflecting the courage and self-sacrifice of all Medal of Honor recipients. Inscriptions are UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, ONE DOLLAR and E PLURIBUS UNUM. This image conveys the patriotism of Medal of Honor recipients, as well as the criteria established by Congress in 1963 requiring that all Medals of Honor be awarded only for heroic action in combat.
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