The Jewish uncle and namesake of musician Lenny Kravitz’s is among 24 United States Army veterans who will belatedly receive Medals of Honor.
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The awards, to be presented by President Barack Obama, are part of an effort to correct past acts of bias and prejudice, the Algemeiner reported on Sunday.
A ceremony scheduled for March 18 will honor the veterans, most of whom are of Hispanic or Jewish heritage and who have already received the Distinguished Service Cross, the nation’s second-highest military award. They were originally passed over for Medals of Honor, the highest commendation for combat valor, because of their racial or ethnic backgrounds.
Among them is Pfc. Leonard M. Kravitz, who was born in New York City in 1931, and was killed during U.S. combat operations in Yangpyong, South Korea, on March 6-7, 1951.
His nephew, the famed singer-songwriter who was named in his honor, shares both a first and last name with his deceased uncle.
Only three of the recipients are still living. Of the 24, eight fought in the Vietnam War, nine in the Korean War and seven in World War II.
The army began to review potential Medal of Honor recipients after a directive from Congress in the 2002 National Defense Authorization Act. According to the law, the record of each Jewish American and Hispanic American veteran who received a Service Cross during or after World War II had to be examined for a possible upgrade to a Medal of Honor.
The cases of the 6,505 recipients of the Distinguished Service Cross from World War II and the Korean and Vietnam wars were reviewed, the Pentagon said. Their findings showed 600 potentially eligible soldiers who may have been Jewish or Hispanic. The army also worked with other organizations, including veterans groups, to find potential medal recipients.