U.S. President Barack Obama this week awarded 24 Jewish, Hispanic and African American veterans Medals of Honor they’d earned but never received.
Many on the list are already deceased—including a Jewish guy from Brooklyn named Lenny Kravitz, uncle of a certain musician and “Hunger Games” star you may have heard of. Hint: This veteran’s nephew was named after him.
“These families join us here today. And they know, more than most, that because others laid down their lives for us, we’ve been able to live our lives in freedom, pursue our dreams. So there’s a legacy here born of sacrifice,” Obama said Tuesday. “That includes a soldier’s nephew — a kid from New York — who grew up to become one of the great rock stars of all time and who honors his uncle here today.”
The U.S. Army said Private First Class Leonard M. Kravitz "distinguished himself by acts of gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty" while serving as an assistant machine gunner with Company M, 5th Infantry Regiment, 24th Infantry Division, during combat operations in Yangpyong, Korea, on March 6 and 7, 1951.
"After friendly elements had repulsed two probing attacks, the enemy launched a fanatical banzai charge with heavy supporting fire and, despite staggering losses, pressed the assault with ruthless determination," the army said. "When the machine gunner was wounded in the initial phase of the action, Private First Class Kravitz immediately seized the weapon and poured devastating fire into the ranks of the onrushing assailants."
The army said that upon order to withdraw, Kravitz voluntarily remained to provide protective fire, detected enemy troops moving toward U.S. positions and killed the entire group. The U.S. forces withdrew and Kravitz was killed.
"Private First Class Kravitz’s extraordinary heroism and selflessness at the cost of his own life, above and beyond the call of duty, are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself, his unit and the United States Arm," the army said.