The Medal of Honor awarded for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty.” was introduced in 1861, originally only for the sailors and Marines as the Army thought it was a bad idea. Six months later the Army changed its mind and approved the award of the Medal of Honor to soldiers. A recent documentary Medal of Honor – The History discusses the history and evolution of this award and explains the symbology of the original Navy design of Minerva repelling Discord and how the design came to be adapted for Army use. The documentary explains how the standards by which the Medal could be awarded changed after the battle of Little Bighorn and how those changes continued through a number of presidents further limiting the award of this Medal. To date 3,512 Medals of Honor have been awarded the documentary is well worth a watch and freely available online (see link below).
View the documentary here (49 mins. 46 sec.)