U.S. Reps. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) and Ron Kind (D-Wis.) today celebrated the passage of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which included a provision to posthumously award Lt. Alonzo Cushing with the Medal of Honor. Lieutenant Cushing, a Wisconsin-born Civil War hero, played a key role in securing a victory for the Union at Gettysburg.

“Lieutenant Cushing was a courageous leader who gave his life to protect our country and deserves to be recognized for his bravery,” Rep. Sensenbrenner said. “I am extremely pleased that the Cushing amendment was passed by the House and Senate and hopeful President Obama awards Lieutenant Cushing with the Medal of Honor for his heroic service during the Civil War."

“It’s never too late to do the right thing, especially when it comes to honoring our war heroes,” said Rep. Kind. “I am heartened to be joined by my colleagues in Congress in sending this bill to the President so we as a nation can finally honor Lt. Cushing with his well-deserved Medal of Honor.”

A native of Delafield, WI, Lt. Cushing is best remembered for his actions on the last day of the Battle of Gettysburg when he helped turn the tide during Pickett’s Charge. On July 3, 1863, the third day of battle, Cushing and the 110 men under his command received the full force of Confederate artillery and Pickett’s Charge of 13,000 infantry. Over the course of just a few hours, all of his officers had been killed and Cushing himself was wounded. But he continued to fight, and sustained two more wounds before dying on the field of battle.

Recommendations for the Medal of Honor must be formally made within two years of the heroic action and awarded within three years. The legislation passed by Congress makes it possible to waive this requirement.  The medal can be awarded after the bill is signed by the President and the waiver is approved by the Department of Defense. Reps. Kind and Sensenbrenner are sending a letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel requesting his prompt attention to Lt. Cushing’s record and look forward to his recommendation that Lt. Cushing be recognized with the Medal of Honor.

Reps. Kind and Sensenbrenner also thanked Wisconsin Senators Ron Johnson and Tammy Baldwin for leading the effort in the Senate to award Lt. Cushing.