Today, U.S. Senator Herb Kohl and Congressman Ron Kind introduced legislation that would allow the President to award a Wisconsin native, Alonzo Cushing, the Medal of Honor. Cushing heroically fought in the Civil War and died during the Battle of Gettysburg.
Alonzo Cushing was born in Delafield, Wisconsin. After graduating from West Point, he was put in command of Battery A, 4th United States Artillery, Army of the Potomac for the Union Army. During the Battle of Gettysburg, Cushing led his troops valiantly. He suffered repeated gunshot wounds during Pickett's Charge, but continued to lead his unit before succumbing to a fatal gunshot wound.
During the Civil War, Medals of Honor were rarely awarded posthumously, and there is now a time limitation on awarding the Medal of Honor. Alonzo Cushing has long passed the required time to be awarded the honor. The only way to bypass the time limitation is through an act of Congress. Former Senator Feingold nominated Alonzo Cushing for the Medal of Honor in 2003. His nomination was then reviewed and approved through the Department of the Army as well as the Secretary of Defense -- a rigorous process which took over seven years to complete. The next step in the process is Congressional approval to waive the time limitation, followed by the approval of the nomination by the President.
"Alonzo Cushing was a true American hero. He held his ground at the Battle of Gettysburg despite severe and ultimately fatal wounds, and led his troops to victory. His valor in combat deserves to be recognized with our nation's highest honor." Kohl said. "This legislation is an important step to properly honor Wisconsin's own Alonzo Cushing with the Medal of Honor."
"Alonzo Cushing paid the ultimate sacrifice and gave his life for his country," said Rep. Kind. "A brave Wisconsinite and respected officer, he deserves the highest honor we have to offer. I hope that finally, after so many years, our country can award him the medal he has earned."