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10 Facts You Might Not Know About The Medal of Honor

Today March 25, is National Medal of Honor day. A day when we give support and thanks to all of those who have been awarded our nation’s highest military honor. So in celebration of Medal of Honor day and my new Medal of Honor series for young readers, here are ten facts about the Medal of Honor you might not know. Be sure to visit your favorite bookseller to pick up the first two books in the Medal of Honor series, Jack Montgomery: Gallantry on the Beaches of Anzio and Ryan Pitts: A Firefight in the Mountains of Wanat. And watch for Book Three Leo Thorsness: Valor in the Skies of Vietnam coming in July, 2019.

1. Medal of Honor Recipients are Saluted by Superior Officers

Regardless of their rank, anyone awarded a MOH is forever saluted by anyone who ranks above them, including the Joint Chiefs and the President. They also receive lifetime invitations to every Presidential Inauguration for life.

2. Non U.S. Citizens can receive the Medal of Honor 

You do not need to be a U.S. citizen to receive the award, but you must be serving with the United States Military. Over 800 medals have been awarded to non-citizens, including 65 Canadians.

3. Only One Woman Has Received the Medal of Honor

Dr. Mary Edwards Walker served as a surgeon in the Union Army during the American Civil War. She frequently traveled behind enemy lines to treat civilians. She was captured by Confederate forces and spent four months in a military prison in Richmond. Dr. Walker was freed as part of a prisoner exchange. Dr. Walker will be the subject of book five in the Medal of Honor series.

4. Medal of Honor Recipients Receive Special Benefits

Recipients receive free air travel for the rest of their lives, along with free travel for immediate family members traveling with the recipient. They also receive a 10% bonus on their earned military pension and a special allowance of over $1200 per month. MOH recipients are also guaranteed a burial plot in Arlington National Cemetery.

5. Nineteen Men Have Been Awarded Two Medals of Honor

Fourteen men were awarded the MOH for valor in two different actions. The others were awarded by both the Army and the Navy.

6. The Medal of Honor Has Been Awarded to Brothers, Fathers, and Sons.

Arthur and Douglas McArthur as well as President Theodore Roosevelt and Theodore Roosevelt, Jr. have received the MOH. Roosevelt is the only U.S. President to be awarded the MOH. Five pairs of brothers were awarded the medal.

7. The Majority of Recipients Receive the Medal Posthumously

Due to the requirements of receiving the award its very nature makes it dangerous for the awardee. A larger number of African-Americans have been awarded the medal after death due to racial segregation in the Armed Forces and the racism and prejudice that existed at the time.

8. Over 900 Medals Have Been Revoked

After an extensive review process in the early 20th century over nine hundred medals were revoked. Among those stripped of the award included Dr. Walker and Buffalo Bill Cody. Dr. Walker refused to return her medal and continued to wear it until her death. Eventually both Walker and Cody’s medals were restored.

9. The Medal of Honor Has Been Awarded to Unknown Soldiers

Since World War I, several unknown U.S. soldiers have been awarded the MOH. Their medals are kept at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier in Washington, D.C.

10. It Is Often Incorrectly Referred to as the Congressional Medal of Honor

This is a common mistake. The award is simply known as the Medal of Honor. The confusion arises from the citation that accompanies the medal. It reads: The President, on behalf of the Congress of the United States…The Congress must approve the award which also adds to the confusion.

Remember to visit your favorite bookseller for copies of the Medal of Honor series.

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More Knightfall and The Youngest Templar


Episode 2

What do the Youngest Templar and the New History Channel series Knightfall have in common? Quite a bit.

The Youngest Templar is set during the third crusade and Richard the Lionheart’s fight for the Holy Land. Knightfall takes place in the late 1200-1300s and shows the Order in decline. Indeed, Philip and Pope Clement will scheme to destroy the Knights Templar.

Still, even though it is a different period in their history, readers of The Youngest Templar will find many common themes and settings.

What to do with Godfrey’s sword?

Landry is um, close with the queen, Philip the Fair’s wife Joan. Could this be the reason for Philip’s desire to destroy the Templars?

The destruction of the Knights Templar was fraught with betrayal and intrigue. This looks like it will lead us up to their imprisonment and condemnation as heretics. In the middle ages, with the church even more powerful than monarchs, an accusation of heresy was more serious than a charge of murder. The penalty was death. Usually by being burned at the stake. Or a red hot poker inserted in a place that is probably you’re least favorite place to have a red hot poker inserted.

Last week I spoke about the costuming for this show. Kudos to the costume designers. The royals are decked out in purple, the color of royalty. And the crimson crosses on the tunics of the Templars are bright like beacons. They also did an excellent job with chain mail. This was the era before plate armor came to be common place, but mail was essential to a Templars protection during battle. You can see the early designs of plate armor on horses, who were strong enough to carry it. It would be a few years before armor could be built that was light enough for men to wear and maneuver in, but strong enough to deflect weapons in close combat.

Young Parsifal, the farm boy who carried the dying Godfrey’s sword to Landry in the first episode, proves to be an action hero. He has to kill to keep from being killed and taking a life impacts him deeply. Landry convinces him they have no time for sorrow. They must leave.

We now realize the Templars are being hunted. It’s done quite well, and hard not to root for these characters. As it turns out, Parsifal has no family so Landry asks him to stay and train to be a knight.

Also, these Templars yell at each other a lot.

Still waiting for Jeremy Renner to show up. There is nothing in his IMBD listing, but all of the pre-publicity for the show said he would be appearing in a couple of episodes. I hope he brings his Hawkeye bow!

Philip the Fair spends a lot of money distracting the nobles and his subjects from the fact that he is broke. Pope Boniface shows up. That just makes it worse. He would like money. He arranges a marriage for Philip’s daughter to try and help Philip out of debt. Women didn’t exactly have a lot of choices in the Middle Ages. Now Philip is in the Pope’s debt. I’m pretty sure that was all part of his plan.

Now, they want the Grail. It went missing on the retreat from Acre. Sinking to the bottom of the sea.

How will they find it?

Does Godfrey’s sword hold the key?

Knightfall airs on The History Channel on Wednesdays at 10pm.

I had my doubts when the show was announced. But so far it’s two episodes in and I’m hooked.

If you’re not familiar with The Youngest Templar visit

Here is the series description.

The Third Crusade. In the Holy Land that the Knights Templar call Outremer, a young squire, born an orphan, is ordered by his Knight to carry a sacred relic to safety. It is the most precious thing in all of Christendom. Men would gladly kill him to possess it. Knights from his own order are driven mad in their quest to have it for themselves. And only he is trusted with this sacred duty.

But every duty has a price. Pursued by evil Knights, Saracens, and secret agents of the King, Tristan will be tested at every turn as he fulfills his mission: return the Holy Grail to England.

Will he succeed? Or will the nefarious forces aligned against him prevent him from fulfilling his duty?

If you’ve seen Knightfall and want to read more about the Templars, The Youngest Templar trilogy is a great place to start!

Until Next Week!

Your authorness

Five Observations On Knightfall!

nullKnightfall is the new scripted series from the History Channel about the Knights Templar.

1. Knightfall starts with the siege of Acre.
The Templars have lost the Holy Land. They are being trashed talked by a Saracen. Don’t ever trash talk a Templar. (You might kill them, but you’ll pay for it). The forces of the west would not control the Holy Land again.

2. The costumes, weapons and other props seem historically accurate.
The single sail, shallow draft boat in the escape scene shows somebody was paying attention. Weapons and clothing are so easy for a production to get right but so many don’t. So far, so good.

3. They use the tunnels below the Crusaders palace.
Another historical touch. It also sounds like a book I know. (That would be The Youngest Templar: Keeper of the Grail in case you’re wondering).

4. They talk about the Templars original mission
They were originally sent to the Holy Land to protect religious pilgrims on their way to and from Jerusalem. They also meet in the commandery and mention Jacques DeMolay, the last Grand Master of the Order. Well done, History Channel!

5. Philip IV of France is a character
Also known as Philip the Fair. He will ultimately imprison and torture the Templars. He already looks like he has acid reflux.

Here are some other observations.

I thought the first episode of Knightfall was well done.

Brother Landry is the main character. He wants to fight. Not sit around Paris. There was a division among Templars about their role in protecting people in cities where they had commanderies. Landry seems to believe in the original Templar mission of protecting religious pilgrims and the weak and downtrodden. Some garrisons actively patrolled the streets of their cities, protecting Jews, especially. Some garrisons took no action in city affairs.

Landry wants to lead the Templars back to the Holy Land.

A sword through the back of the head is always a good way to end a fight.

Now we have a young farm boy ordered by a dying knight to take a sword to another Templar. Boy this sounds familiar. “Take my sword to Brother Landry, he will know what to do with it.”

Templar’s were supposed to take a vow of poverty and chastity. It appears Landry has a girlfriend. They’re also rich. A very broad interpretation of vow.
Intrigue starts to bubble with Landry as acting master, his fellow knights are questioning his leadership.

The Jews are forced to leave Paris. They are set upon by the Kings ruffians who want their wealth.

Landry and the Templars arrive to do some butt-kicking.

I can only hope that you’ll watch and that Knightfall becomes as popular as The Vikings! The History Channel has a pretty good track record with their scripted dramas.

No spoilers for the ending. But I’ll say I’ll be watching more Knightfall.

Also, Knightfall has a connection to The Youngest Templar. They are not aware of it, but the show is produced by actor Jeremy Renner. He plays Hawkeye in the Marvel movies. Hawkeye is an archer. Hawkeye has always been my favorite Avenger. Robard Hode is an archer in the Youngest Templar. This cannot be a coincidence. If you’ve never seen Jeremy Renner talk about his role as Hawkeye, checkout this clip from the Jimmy Fallon show.

Knightfall airs on Wednesday nights at 10pm on the History Channel. Check your local listings. And read The Youngest Templar trilogy to learn more about the world of the Templars. And even if you don’t want to watch a new show, you can still read The Youngest Templar trilogy. It’s totally allowed.

Your authorness


America’s Youngest Prisoner of War in World War II

My newest novel, Prisoner of War, is on sale now. It is another based on a true story, of a young boy who joined the service in 1941 at the age of 15. His home life was not so good. But he was big for his age and in those days, if you could get a relative to vouch for your age, you got in. That’s what he did.

I changed the names to protect the privacy of the families but the story is true. In Prisoner of War, young Henry Forrest was sent to the Philippines. There his true age was discovered. He was to be sent home. His departure was scheduled for December 8, 1941. Needless to say, he didn’t make it.

Along with thousands of American and Filipino troops that surrendered to the Japanese he was sent on the Bataan death march. He survived it. He managed to survive life in a Japanese POW camp where he was tortured and beaten. As Japan was driven back by the Allied advance, he was removed to Japan where he was put into forced labor at a steel mill. Finally, at age 19, he was liberated when Japan surrendered. Try to imagine that for a moment. At an age when you should be in High School, this hero was suffering unimaginable treatment by a horrific enemy.

Prisoner of War is a story of war and survival. Henry Forrest is forced to find a way to keep his humanity in the face of ultimate evil. He will find the best and worst of men at war. And in the end he will learn he is more courageous than he thought.

Prisoner of War is receiving great reviews. Kirkus calls it “gut-wrenchingly vivid.” School Library Journal says it is “A powerful read.”

Order your copy of Prisoner of War today!

Five Surprising Facts About The U.S.S. Indianapolis

1) The USS Indianapolis was a Portland Class heavy cruiser. When it was first commissioned in 1932, it was referred to as the ‘jewel of the fleet.’ It was the ship President Franklin Roosevelt sailed on during his goodwill trip to South America. During World War II, Admiral Raymond Spruance often used it as his flagship, while he commanded the 5th fleet.

2) The Indy won ten battle stars in service during World War II. In March 1945, a Kamikaze attacked the ship. Anti-aircraft guns managed to shoot down the plane, but not before it managed to drop its 500-pound bomb. The bomb went through the ships superstructure before detonating below decks. The explosion cost massive damage, but did not sink the ship. It was able to make it to a repair facility under it’s own power.

3) The Indianapolis then sailed to San Francisco for a major repair and refit. Once finished, the components of the first atomic bomb were loaded on board and the ship was given orders to deliver their cargo to Tinian. The USS Indianapolis departed San Francisco July 19, 1945 and stopped for refueling in Hawaii on the way. Arriving at Tinian July 26, their voyage established a speed record for that distance that still stands today.

4) On July 28, 1945 the Indy was sent to the Leyte Gulf where it was to join a fleet for the panned invasion of the Japanese homeland. On July 30, 1945, shortly after midnight, it was struck amidships by two Japanese torpedoes. The ship was so badly damaged it sank in under twelve minutes. Nearly 900 of the 1200 crewmembers managed to abandoned ship. Three and half days later only slightly over 300 men survived.

5) Charles Butler McVay, the Captain of the USS Indianapolis, survived the shipwreck. He was later court martialed and found guilty for hazarding his ship by failing to zigzag (a technique ships used to avoid submarines). Even though the Navy made the unprecedented decision to bring the commander of the I-58 submarine that sank the ship as witness for the prosecution. The commander stated in his testimony that the zigzag maneuver would not have prevented his sinking of the Indianapolis. Captain McVay was found guilty, the only Naval officer in World War II to be court martialed for losing his ship in combat.