Monday, February 09, 2015

Congressional Medal of Honor: Movie Division

One of the funniest things this month is the movement to award the nation's highest award for valor to Chris Kyle because his "life" was the subject of a movie. The medal criteria, "distinguished himself conspicuously by gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty," is extreme and there is no evidence that Kyle ever met any of those criteria.

Snipers are not conspicuous. They hunt their prey steathfully from great distances and the only ones who have even put their lives at risk did so because they are bad at their job. All accounts are that Kyle was a very good sniper, meaning he was not a gallant risk-taker.

However, if we are going to start awarding medals to characters in movies, there are several who should be in line ahead of Kyle.

Capt. Nathan Brittles - She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949)
At great personal risk he entered the enemy camp to negotiate peace. When that failed he personally lead a raid to scatter the enemy's horses thereby preventing further hostilities and lose of life.

Capt. Webb Sloane - Prisoner of War (1954)
Finally giving Ronald Reagan the Medal of Honor conservatives believe he so richly deserves. At great personal risk, Capt. Sloane goes undercover as a POW during the Korean War to uncover harsh treatment given prisoners like waterboarding, mock executions, and other tortures. One of the worst movies of the 1950's.

Captain John H. Miller - Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Gallantly risk the lives of an entire squad of soldiers in an insane search for one soldier missing in action among the 1.3 million Allied soldiers involved in the Normandy invasion. Most of the squad dies heroically.

Query: What is it about movies that most of the heroic soldiers are captains?

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