Hailed as a hero for knocking a shooter off his feet in a UNC Charlotte classroom, Riley Howell was posthumously awarded two of the military's highest honors in his hometown of Waynesville, North Carolina this week.
Howell, 21, and classmate Ellis "Reed" Parlier, 19, died when a gunman opened fire in their classroom in the Kennedy building on April 30.
President Donald J. Trump presents the Medal of Honor to retired Master Chief Special Warfare Operator (SEAL) Britt Slabinski during a ceremony at the White House in Washington, D.C. Slabinski received the Medal of Honor for his actions during Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan in March 2002. (U.S. Navy/Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Raymond D. Diaz III)
Expected to be announced this month, the new policy will trigger an automatic review at the higher headquarters level within 120 days for any Silver Star or service cross not reviewed by the appropriate service secretary. This will help ensure that troops are not inadvertently approved for lesser awards than they deserve, said Patricia Mulcahy, the Pentagon's director of Officer and Enlisted Personnel Management.
While under fire, Maj. Thomas Bostick placed himself in front of an overwhelming enemy force to provide covering fire to enable the paratroopers in his command post to displace to more defensible terrain in Afghanistan. (U.S. Army/Maj. Chris Bradley)
The Army will present the Distinguished Service Cross on Friday to family members of a paratrooper who sacrificed his life for his fellow soldiers in Afghanistan, one of 12 upgrades to the nation's second-highest award for valor the service plans to make following a detailed award review.