President Barack Obama has announced that he will act on legislation authored by U.S. Reps. Ron Kind (D-Wis.) and Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) to posthumously award Lieutenant Alonzo Cushing with the Medal of Honor. Lt. Cushing, a Wisconsin-born Civil War hero, played a key role in securing a victory for the Union in the Battle of Gettysburg.
Congressman Kind: “Even after more than 150 years, it’s never too late to do the right thing for our war heroes. Lt. Cushing richly deserves his Medal of Honor, and as a Wisconsinite and an American I feel honored to have helped lead the effort in Congress to make this happen.”
Congressman Sensenbrenner: “I am pleased that First Lieutenant Alonzo Cushing will finally receive our nation’s highest military honor. Awarding the Medal of Honor to Lt. Cushing, a native of Delafield, Wisconsin, culminates more than two decades of bipartisan work and is long overdue. Lt. Cushing was a courageous leader who at just 22 years of age, gave his life to protect our sovereign nation at the Battle of Gettysburg. His exceptional bravery and determination on the battlefield should serve as an inspiration to us all.”
A native of Delafield, WI, Alonzo Cushing’s actions on the last day of the Battle of Gettysburg helped turn the tide during Pickett’s Charge. Three days into the battle on July 3, 1863, 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 badly injured. Continuing to fight, he sustained two more wounds before succumbing to his wounds on the field of battle.
The legislation passed by Congress made it possible to waive the requirement that recommendations for the Medal of Honor be made within two years of the heroic action, and awarded within three years. Lt. Cushing’s medal can now be awarded, having received the recommendation of the Department of Defense and the approval of the President. Earlier this year, Reps. Kind and Sensenbrenner sent a letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel requesting his prompt attention to Lt. Cushing’s record.