A Pentagon database for war heroes since 2001

With the U.S. Supreme Court’s scrapping of the Stolen Valor Act, the Pentagon has set up a searchable database of medals recipients.

There have been databases you can search for military records, but none devoted to medals until now.

Go to the website http://valor.defense.gov/ and you can look up soldiers, sailors and airmen who have received medals for valor in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. It was launched July 25 with the names of the 10 who got the Medal of Honor, but has since been expanded to include the Distinguished Service Cross, Navy Cross and Air Force Cross. These are the biggies.

Note this list, which is broken down by branch of service, is only for honors bestowed since 2001. Rich Hudzinski of the Lehigh Valley Military Affairs Council alerted me to the site and added, “I think pressure will eventually force inclusion of all wars, a massive undertaking.”

Eventually, hundreds who have gotten the Silver Star for gallantry will be added to the Iraq/Afghanistan database. When that’s complete, you’ll find one recipient from the Lehigh Valley, Army Capt. Mark T. Resh of Lowhill Township, Lehigh County. He received the Silver Star posthumously for heroism in the Iraq War.

Resh, 28, was with the 4th Battalion, 227th Aviation Regiment, 1st Air Cavalry Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division based at Fort Hood, Texas. He was killed Jan. 28, 2007, when his AH-64D Longbow Apache helicopter was shot down near An Najaf, 120 miles south of Baghdad.

His citation says in part: “Capt. Resh was dispatched to the city of An Najaf to assist and support coalition troops who had come in contact with enemy forces. Arriving support aircraft was attacked with heavy machine gun fire and rocket-propelled grenades and Capt. Resh placed his helicopter in the direct line of enemy fire so that another air crew that was under attack could maneuver out of danger. Over the next fifteen minutes he bravely flew in the face of intense enemy fire to support the coalition ground forces until his aircraft was struck and crashed, killing Capt. Resh.”

The Pentagon database will do more than help unmask fakers who claim medals for valor in Iraq and Afghanistan. It will help to ensure that Resh and others who have earned their honors will not be forgotten.

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