Letter from United Greek Orthodox Church of Chicago to the Newspaper, George J. Hontos Mermorial Services and Honor of his purple heart to his parents on Mother's Day.
George J. Hontos recieved the Soldiers Medal on April 26th, 1944 in addition to the purple heart recieved ten months prior.
The Purple Heart is awarded in the name of the President of the United States to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States who, while serving under competent authority in any capacity with one of the U.S. Armed Services after April 5, 1917, has been wounded or killed. Specific examples of services which warrant the Purple Heart include any action against an enemy of the United States; any action with an opposing armed force of a foreign country in which the Armed Forces of the United States are or have been engaged; while 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; as a result of an act of any such enemy of opposing armed forces; or as the result of an act of any hostile foreign force. After 28 March 1973, as a result of an international terrorist attack against the United States or a foreign nation friendly to the United States, recognized as such an attack by the Secretary of the Army, or jointly by the Secretaries of the separate armed services concerned if persons from more than one service are wounded in the attack. After 28 March 1973, as a result of military operations while serving outside the territory of the United States as part of a peacekeeping force.
The distinguishing criteria for the award of the Soldier's Medal as per Army regulations states that, the performance must have involved personal hazard or danger and the voluntary risk of life under conditions not involving conflict with an armed enemy. Awards will not be made solely on the basis of having saved a life. It is the highest honor a soldier can receive for an act of valor in a non-combat situation, held to be equal to or greater than the level which would have justified an award of the Distinguished Flying Cross had the act occurred in combat. Any American servicemember who is eligible for retirement pay will receive an increase of 10 percent in retirement pay, if the level of valor was equal to that which would earn the Distinguished Service Cross. Additional awards of the medal are denoted by oak leaf clusters worn on the suspension and service ribbon of the medal.
The first Soldier's Medals were awarded on October, 17, 1927 to John F. Burns and James P. Martin for their heroism during a fire and to James K. Wilson and Cleophas C. Burnett for saving people from drowning.
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Correspondence, May 4, 1944, The George J. Hontos Collection, National Hellenic Museum, https://collections.nationalhellenicmuseum.org/Detail/objects/6779. Accessed 01/28/22.