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Pentagon planning database of military valor awards, medals

By CHRIS CARROLL | STARS AND STRIPES Published: July 10, 2012

WASHINGTON — Following the Supreme Court’s decision last month to strike down a law that made it illegal to lie about receiving military awards for valor, the Pentagon says it plans to set up a database that would allow medal claims to be checked.

“We are exploring options to stand up a database of valor awards and medals,” Pentagon press secretary George Little said Tuesday. “The goal is to stand up such a database.”

The Pentagon had called such a database impractical, saying many of the records were unavailable. But Supreme Court justices, in striking down the Stolen Valor Act as an unconstitutional limit on free speech, said false medal claims could be combatted if the Defense Department established a medal database.

Little said military officials still must determine details, including which medals would be included and the range of years covered, and gave no prospective launch date for the database.

“We would obviously hope to go as far back as possible but we also want there to be integrity in the data,” he said.

carrollc@stripes.osd.mil
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The Bronze and Silver Star sit on display at an award ceremony. Senior Airman Mark Forester earned a Bronze Star a month before his death on Sept. 29, 2010 in Afghanistan. He was awarded the Silver Star posthumously for trying to rescue injured teammates.
Joshua Young/US Marine Corps

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