Congressional Gold Medal Recipients | US House of Representatives: History, Art & Archives

Congressional Gold Medal Recipients

Gold Medal Pass/tiles/non-collection/i/i_gold_medal_hc_2008_203_002.xml Collection of the U.S. House of Representatives
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On April 23, 2008, Dr. Ellis Debakey formally received the Congressional Gold Medal at a ceremony in the Capitol Rotunda.
Since the American Revolution, Congress has commissioned gold medals as its highest expression of national appreciation for distinguished achievements and contributions. Each medal honors a particular individual, institution, or event. Although the first recipients included citizens who participated in the American Revolution, the War of 1812 and the Mexican War, Congress broadened the scope of the medal to include actors, authors, entertainers, musicians, pioneers in aeronautics and space, explorers, lifesavers, notables in science and medicine, athletes, humanitarians, public servants, and foreign recipients.

In addition to the requirement that all Congressional Gold Medal legislation must be cosponsored by at least two-thirds (290) of the Members of the House, specific standards are set forth by Rule X, 2 (h) of the House Committee on Financial Services Subcommittee on Domestic Policy and Technology when considering such legislation. Additionally, the Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee requires that at least 67 Senators must cosponsor any Congressional Gold Medal legislation before the committee will consider it.

Recipient(s)Date of ApprovalPublic LawCategoryTitle/Occupation Description
George Washington March 25, 1776Continental Congress Military General (future President of the United States)Recognized for his "wise and spirited conduct" in the seige and acquisition of Boston
Major General Horatio GatesNovember 4, 1777 Continental Congress MilitaryMajor GeneralRecognized for his "brave and successful" efforts in bringing about the surrender of the British Army at Saratoga, New York
Major General Anthony Wayne July 26, 1779 Continental Congress MilitaryMajor GeneralRecognized for his "good conduct, coolness, discipline, and firm intrepidity" in the assault of the enemy's works at Stony Point, New York
Major Henry Lee September 24, 1779 Continental Congress MilitaryMajorTo commemorate the skill and bravery he exhibited against the British at Paulus Hook, New Jersey
Brigadier General Daniel Morgan March 9, 1781 Continental Congress MilitaryBrigadier GeneralPraised for his gallant efforts in South Carolina in 1781
Major General Nathanael Greene October 29, 1781 Continental Congress MilitaryMajor GeneralRecognized for his "wise, decisive, and magnanimous conduct in the action" of September 8, 1781, "near Eutaw Springs, in South Carolina; in which, with a force inferior in number to that of the enemy, he obtained a most signal victory"
John Paul Jones October 16, 1787 Continental Congress MilitaryNaval CommanderRecognized for his "valor and brilliant services" in capturing the HMS Serapis
Captain Thomas TruxtunMarch 29, 1800 2 Stat. 87 MilitaryCaptainRecognized for his "gallant effort during the action between the United States frigate Constellation and the French ship La Vengeance"
Commodore Edward Preble March 3, 1805 2 Stat. 346-347 MilitaryCommodoreRecognized for his "gallantry and good conduct" in the several attacks on the town, batteries, and naval force of Tripoli Harbor in 1804
Captain Isaac Hull, Captain Stephen Decatur, and Captain Jacob Jones January 29, 1813 2 Stat. 830 MilitaryCaptainRecognized for their "gallantry, good conduct, and services" in their respective conflicts with the British frigates the Guerriere and the Macedonian, and sloop-of-war Frolic
Captain William Bainbridge March 3, 1813 2 Stat. 831 Military Captain Recognized for his "gallantry, good conduct, and services" in the capture of the British frigate Java, after a "brave and skillful combat"
Captain Oliver Hazard Perry and Captain Jesse D. Elliott January 6, 1814 3 Stat. 141 MilitaryCaptainRecognized for their "decisive and glorious victory gained on Lake Erie"
Lieutenant William Burrows and Lieutenant Edward R. McCall January 6, 1814 3 Stat. 141-142 MilitaryLieutenantRecognized for their "gallantry and good conduct" in the conflict with the British sloop Boxer on September 4, 1813
Captain James Lawrence January 11, 1814 3 Stat. 142 MilitaryCaptainRecognized for his "gallantry and good conduct" in the capture of the British vessel of war, the Peacock
Captain Thomas MacDonough, Captain Robert Henly, and Lieutenant Stephen Cassin October 20, 1814 3 Stat. 245-246 MilitaryNaval OfficersRecognized for the "decisive and splendid victory" gained on Lake Champlain
Captain Lewis Warrington October 21, 1814 3 Stat. 246 MilitaryCaptainRecognized for his "gallantry and good conduct" in the action with the British brig Epervier
Captain Johnson Blakely November 3, 1814 3 Stat. 246-247 MilitaryCaptainRecognized for his "gallantry and good conduct" in the action with the British sloop-of-war Reindeer on June 28, 1814
Major General Jacob Brown November 3, 1814 3 Stat. 247 MilitaryMajor GeneralRecognized for his "gallantry and good conduct"…"in the successive battles of Chippewa, Niagara, and Erie, in Upper Canada, in which British veteran soldiers were beaten and repulsed by equal and inferior numbers"
Major General Winfield Scott November 3, 18143 Stat. 247MilitaryMajor GeneralRecognized for his "uniform gallantry and good conduct"…"in the successive conflicts of Chippewa and Niagara"
Brigadier General Eleazar W. Ripley, Brigadier General James Miller, and Major General Peter B. Porter November 3, 1814 3 Stat. 247 MilitaryNaval OfficersRecognized for their "gallantry and good conduct" …"in several conflicts of Chippewa, Niagara, and Erie
Major General Edmund P. Gaines November 3, 1814 3 Stat. 247 MilitaryMajor GeneralRecognized for his "gallantry and good conduct" in defeating the British army at Erie on August 15, 1814
Major General Alexander MacombNovember 3, 1814 3 Stat. 247 MilitaryMajor GeneralRecognized for his "gallantry and good conduct" in defeating a veteran British army at Plattsburg on September 11, 1814
Major General Andrew JacksonFebruary 27, 1815 3 Stat. 249 MilitaryMajor General (future President of the United States)Recognized for his "valor, skill and good conduct," which was displayed against the British army in New Orleans on January 8, 1815
Captain Charles Stewart February 22, 1816 3 Stat. 341 MilitaryCaptainRecognized for his "gallantry, good conduct and services" in capturing the British vessels of war, the Cyane and the Levant, after a brave and skillful combat
Captain James Biddle February 22, 1816 3 Stat. 341 MilitaryCaptainRecognized for his "gallantry" in capturing the British sloop-of-war Penguin, after a brave and skillful combat
Major General William Henry Harrison and Governor Isaac ShelbyApril 4, 1818 3 Stat. 476 MilitaryMajor General (future President of the United States) and GovernorRecognized for their "gallantry and good behavior"…"in defeating the combined British and Indian forces under Major General Proctor, on the Thames, in Upper Canada, on October 5, 1813, and in capturing the British army with their baggage, camp equipage and artillery"
Colonel George CroghanFebruary 13, 1835 4 Stat. 792 MilitaryColonelRecognized for his "gallantry and good conduct" in the defense of Fort Stephenson in 1813
Major General Zachary Taylor July 16, 18469 Stat. 111MilitaryMajor General (future President of the United States)Recognized for his "fortitude, skill, enterprise, and courage," which distinguished the brilliant operations on the Rio Grande
Major General Zachary TaylorMarch 2, 18479 Stat. 206MilitaryMajor General (future President of the United States)Recognized for his "fortitude, skill, enterprise, and courage," which distinguished the brilliant operations on the Rio Grande
Rescuers of the Officers and Crew of the U.S. Brig SomersMarch 3, 1847 9 Stat. 208 Acclaimed LifesaverNaval Officers and CrewTen officers and seamen belonging or attached to the French, British, and Spanish ships-of-war, who on December 10, 1846, gallantly rescued 37 of the officers and crew from the wreck of the United States Brig Somers in Vera Cruz harbor. The records of the United States Mint indicate that 10 gold medals were struck in commemoration of the gallant effort of the Somers
Major General Winfield Scott March 9, 1848 9 Stat. 333 MilitaryMajor GeneralRecognized for his "uniform gallantry and good conduct"…"conspicuously displayed at the siege and capture of the city of Vera Cruz and castle of San Juan de Ulloa," on March 29, 1847; in the successive battles of Cerro Gordo on April 18, San Antonio and Churubusco on August 19 and 20; in the "victories achieved in front of the city of Mexico" on September 8 and 11-13; and for the capture of the metropolis on September 14, "in which the Mexican troops, greatly superior in numbers, and with every advantage of position, were in every conflict signally defeated by the American arms"
Major General Zachary TaylorMay 9, 1848 9 Stat. 334-335 MilitaryMajor General (future President of the United States)Recognized for his "valor, skill, and good conduct" in the battle of Buena Vista, in "defeating a Mexican army under the command of General Santa Anna of more than four times their number"
Commander Duncan N. Ingraham August 4, 1854 10 Stat. 594-595 MilitaryCommanderRecognized for his "gallant and judicious conduct…in extending protection to Martin Koszta, by rescuing him from illegal seizure and imprisonment on board the Austrian war-brig Hussar
Frederick A. Rose May 11, 1858 11 Stat. 369 MedicineAssistant Surgeon in the British NavyRecognized for his kindness and humanity to sick American seamen aboard the U.S. steamer Susquehannah whose crew had been stricken with yellow fever
Major General Ulysses S. Grant December 17, 1863 13 Stat. 399 MilitaryMajor General (future President of the United States)Recognized for his "gallantry and good conduct" during the Civil War, in the battles he engaged in
Cornelius Vanderbilt January 28, 1864 13 Stat. 401PhilanthropyAmerican Businessman and EntrepreneurRecognized for his patriotic gift to the imperiled nation of a steamship which bore the donor's name.
Captain Creighton, Captain Low, and Captain StoufferJuly 26, 186614 Stat. 365-366Acclaimed LifesaverMerchant Sea CaptainsRecognized for rescuing approximately 500 men from the wreck of the steamship San Francisco
Cyrus W. Field March 2, 1867 14 Stat. 574Telecommunications Pioneer American Businessman and EntrepreneurPraised for his work in the laying of the transatlantic cable
George Peabody March 16, 1867 15 Stat. 20 PhilanthropyPhilanthropist (Father of Modern Philanthropy)Recognized for his "great and peculiar beneficence" in giving $2 million "for the promotion of education in the most destitute portions of the southern and southwestern States"
George F. Robinson March 1, 1871 16 Stat. 704 Acclaimed LifesaverMajorPraised for his "heroic conduct" in saving Secretary of State William H. Seward from an assassin's knife on April 14, 1865
Captain Jared S. Crandall and Others February 24, 1873 17 Stat. 638 Acclaimed LifesaverNaval Officer and CrewRecognized for saving the lives of 32 persons from the wrecked steamer Metis, in the waters of the Long Island Sound
John Horn, Jr. June 20, 1874
April 28, 1904
18 Stat. 573
33 Stat. 1684-1685
Acclaimed LifesaverGood Samaritan During an 11-year period he rescued 110 men, women, and children from drowning in the Detroit River.
On April 28, 1904, Congress authorized and directed the Secretary of the Treasury to strike off and present to John Horn, Jr., a duplicate of the medal voted by Congress to him in 1874, which was stolen in October 1901
John F. Slater February 5, 1883 22 Stat. 636 PhilanthropyPhilanthropist Recognized for his contribution of $1 million for the purpose of "uplifting the lately emancipated population of the Southern States and their prosperity, by conferring on them the blessings of Christian education"
Joseph Francis August 27, 1888 25 Stat. 1249 InventorEngineerThanked for his "life-long service to humanity" in the construction and perfection of lifesaving appliances, which had been instrumental in saving several hundreds of lives
Chief Engineer George Wallace Melville and Others September 30, 1890 26 Stat. 552-553 MilitaryChief Engineer and shipmatesPraised for their persistent efforts to find and assist their commanding officer after they became shipwrecked on aboard the arctic exploring steamer Jeanette
First Lieutenant Frank H. Newcomb May 3, 1900 31 Stat. 717 Acclaimed LifesaverFirst LieutenantPraised for rescuing the United States naval torpedo boat Winslow under a "most galling fire from the enemy's guns"
First Lieutenant David H. Jarvis, Second Lieutenant Ellsworth P. Bertholf, and Dr. Samuel J. Call June 28, 1902 32 Stat. 492 Acclaimed LifesaverNaval officers and crewRecognized for a nearly 2,000 mile overland relief expedition to the American whaling fleet in the arctic region
Wright Brothers March 4, 1909 35 Stat. 1627Aeronautical PioneerInventorsRecognized for their achievements in demonstrating to the world the potential of aerial navigation
Captain Arthur Henry Rostron July 6, 1912 37 Stat. 639 Acclaimed LifesaverNaval OfficerRecognized for his prompt and heroic response in rescuing 704 survivors from the wreck of the Titanic
Captain Paul H. Kreibohm and Others March 19, 1914 38 Stat. 769 Acclaimed LifesaverNaval OfficerRecognized for rescuing 89 people from the burning steamer Volturno in the North Atlantic
Domicio da Gama, Romulo S. Naon, and Eduardo Suarez March 4, 1915 38 Stat. 1228Public ServiceDiplomatsDiplomatic representatives of Argentina, Brazil, and Chile who acted as mediators between the United States and Mexico
Charles A. Lindbergh May 4, 1928 45 Stat. 490 Aeronautical PioneerAviatorRecognized for his aeronautical achievements
Lincoln Ellsworth, Roald Amundsen, and Umberto NobileMay 29, 1928 45 Stat. 2026-2027 Aeronautical PioneerAviatorLincoln Ellsworth was recognized for his "conspicuous courage, sagacity, and perseverance" exhibited during his famous polar flight of 1925 and his transpolar flight of 1926. Roald Amundsen, the distinguished Norwegian explorer, and Umberto Nobile, the distinguished Italian explorer, were recognized for their participation in the transpolar flight of 1926
Thomas A. Edison May 29, 1928 45 Stat. 1012 Inventor ScientistRecognized for the development and application of "inventions that have revolutionized civilization"
First Successful Trans-Atlantic Flight February 9, 1929 45 Stat. 1158 Aeronautical PioneerAviatorsRecognized the seven officers and men who conceived, organized, and commanded the first trans-Atlantic flight
Major Walter Reed and Associates for Yellow Fever Experimentations in Cuba February 28, 1929 45 Stat. 1409-1410 Military and DoctorArmy Officer and ScientistRecognized for discovering the cause and means of transmission of yellow fever. This act was subsequently amended on July 2, 1956 and September 2, 1958, to include the names of Gustaf E. Lambert and Roger P. Ames
Officers and Men of the Byrd Antarctic Expedition May 23, 1930 46 Stat. 379 Aeronautical PioneerOfficers and ExplorersIn recognition of the "high admiration in which Congress and the American people hold [the] heroic and undaunted services [connected] with the scientific investigations and extraordinary aerial expeditions of the Antarctic Continent, under the personal direction of Rear Admiral Richard E. Byrd"
Lincoln Ellsworth June 16, 1936 49 Stat. 2324 Aeronautical PioneerAviatorRecognized for his polar flight of 1925 and transpolar flight of 1926. Recognized for "claiming on behalf of the United States approximately three-hundred-fifty-thousand square miles of land in the Antarctic between the eightieth and hundred and twentieth meridians west of Greenwich, representing the last unclaimed territory in the world..."
George M. Cohan June 29, 1936 49 Stat. 2371 Music     ComposerHonored for his patriotic songs "Over There" and "A Grand Old Flag"
Mrs. Richard Aldrich and
Anna Bouligny
June 20, 1938 52 Stat. 1365 MedicineHospital VolunteersRecognized for their outstanding, unselfish, and wholly voluntary service in establishing and operating "hospitals for the care and treatment of military patients in Puerto Rico" during the war with Spain
Howard Hughes August 7, 1939 53 Stat. 1525 Aeronautical PioneerInventor, PhilanthropistPraised for "advancing the science of aviation"
Reverend Francis X. Quinn August 10, 1939 53 Stat. 1533 Acclaimed LifesaverReligious ClergyHonored for risking his life in persuading an armed gunman holding an elderly couple hostage to surrender to police
William Sinnott June 15, 1940 54 Stat. 1283 PoliceNew York DetectiveHonored for being wounded while guarding President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt in Miami just prior to his first inauguration
Roland Boucher January 20, 1942 56 Stat. 1099-1100 Acclaimed LifesaverGood SamaritanRecognized for saving the lives of four children who had broken through the ice on Lake Champlain near Juniper Island
George Catlett Marshall, General of the Army, and Fleet Admiral Ernest Joseph King March 22, 1946 60 Stat. 1134-1135 Military Army and Navy OfficersRecognized for valor, bravery, and heroism during World War 2. General of the Army, George C. Marshall, was recognized for "distinguished leadership, as Chief of Staff of the Army and as a member of the Combined Chiefs of Staff of the United Nations, in planning the expansion, equipment, training and deployment of the great Army of the United States and in formulating and executing the global strategy that led to victory in World War II." Admiral Ernest Joseph King was recognized for his "distinguished leadership as Commander in Chief of the United States Fleet and Chief of Naval Operations and as a member of the Combined Chiefs of Staff of the United Nations.."
John J. Pershing, General of the Armies of the United States August 7, 1946 60 Stat. 1297-1298 Military GeneralRecognized for his "heroic achievements" as Commander in Chief of the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe during World War I and for his "unselfish devotion to the service of his country" during World War II
Brigadier General William Mitchell August 8, 1946 60 Stat. 1319 MilitaryBrigadier GeneralRecognized for his "outstanding pioneer service and foresight in the field of American military aviation
Vice President Alben W. Barkley August 12, 1949 P.L. 81-221, 63 Stat. 599 Public ServiceMember of Congress, Sitting Vice President of the United StatesRecognized for his "distinguished public service and outstanding contribution to the general welfare"
Irving Berlin July 16, 1954 P.L. 83-536, 68 Stat. A120 Music ComposerRecognition in composing "God Bless America" and other patriotic songs
Doctor Jonas E. Salk August 9, 1955 P.L. 84-297, 69 Stat. 589 ScientistVirologist Recognized for discovering a serum for the prevention of polio
Surviving Veterans of the War Between the States July 18, 1956 P.L. 84-730, 70 Stat. 577 Military Soldiers The four known surviving veterans of the Civil War received Congressional Gold Medals
Rear Admiral Hyman George Rickover August 28, 1958 P.L. 85-826, 72 Stat. 985 Military ScientistRecognized for his achievements in "directing the development and construction of the world's first nuclear-powered ships and the first large-scale nuclear power reactor devoted exclusively to the production of electricity"
Doctor Robert H. Goddard September 16, 1959 P.L. 86-277, 73 Stat. 562-563 Space Pioneer ScientistRecognized for his "historic pioneering research on space rockets, missiles, and jet propulsion"
Robert Frost September 13, 1960 P.L. 86-747, 74 Stat. 883 LiteraturePoetPraised for enriching the culture of the world
Doctor Thomas Anthony Dooley III May 27, 1961 P.L. 87-42, 75 Stat. 87 DoctorNaval DoctorRecognized for his unselfish medical care among underprivileged peoples of the world, particularly in Southeast Asia
Bob Hope June 8, 1962 P.L. 87-478, 76 Stat. 93 EntertainerActorHonored for outstanding "service to his country and the cause of peace"
Sam Rayburn, Speaker of the House of Representatives September 26, 1962 P.L. 87-478, 76 Stat. 605 Public ServiceUnited States House of Representatives, Speaker of the HouseRecognized for his "distinguished public service and outstanding contribution to the general welfare"
Douglas MacArthur, General of the Army October 9, 1962 P.L. 87-760, 76 Stat. 760 MilitaryGeneralRecognized for his "gallant service" to the United States
Walt Disney May 24, 1968 P.L. 90-316, 82 Stat. 130-131 EntertainerFilmmaker and Businessman Recognized for his "outstanding contributions to the United States and the world"
Winston Churchill May 7, 1969 P.L. 91-12, 83 Stat. 8-9 Public ServiceFormer Prime Minister of Great BritainIn recognition of Winston Churchill, on the occasion of the dedication of the Winston Churchill Memorial and Library at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri
Roberto Walker Clemente May 14, 1973 P.L. 93-33, 87 Stat. 71 Humanitarian and AthleteBaseball PlayerRecognized for his "outstanding athletic, civil, charitable, and humanitarian contributions"
Marian Anderson March 8, 1977 P.L. 95-9, 91 Stat. 19 Humanitarian and Musician Opera SingerRecognized for her devotion "to the promotion of the arts in this country and throughout the world including the establishment of scholarships for young people, for her strong and imaginative support to humanitarian causes at home, for her contributions to the cause of world peace through her work as United States delegate to the United Nations and her performances and recordings which have reached an estimated seven million people throughout the world..."
Lieutenant General Ira C. Eaker October 10, 1978 P.L. 95-438, 92 Stat. 1060 Military, Aviation PioneerLieutenant GeneralRecognized for his "distinguished career as an aviation pioneer and Air Force leader"
Robert F. Kennedy November 1, 1978 P.L. 95-560, 92 Stat. 2142 Public ServiceUnited States Senator, United States Attorney GeneralRecognized for the "distinguished and dedicated service" he "gave to the Government and to the people of the United States"
John Wayne May 26, 1979 P.L. 96-15, 93 Stat. 32 EntertainerActorDecorated for distinguished career and contribution to the nation and the world
Ben Abruzzo, Maxie Anderson, and Larry Newman June 13, 1979 P.L. 96-20, 93 Stat. 45 Aeronautical PioneerBalloonistsRecognized as the first transatlantic balloonists
Hubert H. Humphrey June 13, 1979 P.L. 96-21, 93 Stat. 46 Public ServiceFormer Vice President of the United StatesRecognized for his "distinguished and dedicated service" to the Government and to the people of the United States
American Red Cross December 12, 1979 P.L. 96-138, 93 Stat. 1063 Service Organization Recognized for "unselfish and humanitarian service to the people of the United States"
Ambassador Kenneth Taylor March 6, 1980 P.L. 96-201, 94 Stat. 79 Public ServiceCanadian DiplomatRecognized for his efforts in securing the safe return of six American Embassy officials in their escape from Tehran
Simon Wiesenthal March 17, 1980 P.L. 96-211, 94 Stat. 101 Attorney Prosecutor, Holocaust SurvivorRecognized for his dedicated action in bringing to justice Nazi war criminals who had gone into hiding at the end of World War Two
1980 United States Summer Olympic Team1July 8, 1980 P.L. 96-306, 94 Stat. 937 AthleteUnited States Olympic Athletes1980 United States Summer Olympic Team
Queen Beatrix of the Netherlands March 22, 1982 P.L. 97-158, 96 Stat. 18-19 Royalty, Public ServantQueen of NetherlandsMedal in recognition of the bicentennial anniversary of diplomatic and commercial relations between the Netherlands and the United States
Admiral Hyman George Rickover June 23, 1982 P.L. 97-201, 96 Stat. 126-127 Scientist, MilitaryAdmiral, Scientist Awarded a second gold medal for his contributions to the "development of safe nuclear energy and the defense of the United States"
Fred Waring August 26, 1982 P.L. 97-246, 96 Stat. 315-316 EntertainerVocalist, Choral Recognized for his "contribution to enriching American life"
Joe Louis August 26, 1982 P.L. 97-246, 96 Stat. 315-316 AthleteAmerican Professional Boxer Recognized for bolstering the "spirit of American people during one of the most critical times in American history"
Louis L'Amour August 26, 1982 P.L. 97-246, 96 Stat. 315-316 LiteratureAuthorRecognized for his "distinguished career as an author and his contributions to the Nation through his historically based works"
Leo J. Ryan November 18, 1983 P.L. 98-159, 97 Stat. 992 Public ServiceMember of U.S. House of RepresentativesRecognized following his "untimely" assassination while performing his responsibilities as a Member of the House of Representatives in Guyana
Danny Thomas November 29, 1983 P.L. 98-159, 97 Stat. 992 Entertainer, HumanitarianActor, PhilanthropistRecognized for his "humanitarian efforts and his outstanding work as an American"
Harry S. Truman May 8, 1984 P.L. 98-278, 98 Stat. 173-175Public Service United States Senator, Vice President of the United States, Former President of the United StatesRecognized for his "life-time of outstanding public service which [he] gave to the United States, and in commemoration of his one hundredth birthday which was celebrated on May 8, 1984"
Lady Bird Johnson May 8, 1984 P.L. 98-278, 98 Stat. 173-175Public ServiceFormer First Lady of the United StatesRecognized for her "outstanding contributions to the improvement and beautification of America"
Elie Wiesel May 8, 1984 P.L. 98-278, 98 Stat. 173-175Literature, HumanitarianAuthorRecognized for his "humanitarian efforts and outstanding contributions to world literature and human rights"
Roy Wilkins May 17, 1984 P.L. 98-285, 98 Stat. 186 Civil Rights, ActivistActivistRecognized for his lifelong commitment to the principles of freedom, equality, justice, and peace
George and Ira Gershwin August 9, 1985 P.L. 99-86, 99 Stat. 288-289 Musician, EntertainerComposers, ActorsRecognized for their contributions to American music, theater, and culture
Anatoly and Avital ShcharanskyMay 13, 1986 P.L. 99-298, 100 Stat. 432-433 Humanitarian, Civil Rights ActivistActivist Soviet Union, IsraelRecognized for their "supreme dedication and total commitment to the cause of individual human rights and freedoms"
Harry Chapin May 20, 1986 P.L. 99-311, 100 Stat. 464 Philanthropy, MusicianActivist, VocalistRecognized for his efforts to address issues of hunger around the world
Aaron Copland September 23, 1986 P.L. 99-418, Stat. 952-953 MusicianComposerRecognized for contributions to American music composition
Mary Lasker December 24, 1987 P.L. 100-210, 101 Stat. 1441 Medicine, ScientistPhilanthropistRecognized for her "humanitarian contributions in the area of medical research and education, urban beautification and the fine arts." Some consider Mary Lasker to be the first lady of medicine and science in the United States
Jesse Owens September 20, 1988 P.L. 100-437, 102 Stat. 1717 Athlete, Civil RightsTrack and Field, OlympianRecognized for his "humanitarian contributions to public service, civil rights, and international goodwill"
Andrew Wyeth November 9, 1988 P.L. 100-639, 102 Stat. 3331-3332 ArtArtistRecognized for contributions to American art and culture
Laurence Spelman Rockefeller May 17, 1990P.L. 101-296, 104 Stat. 197-199 ConservationPhilanthropistRecognized for his "leadership on behalf of natural resource conservation and historic preservation"
General Matthew B. Ridgeway November 5, 1990 P.L. 101-510, 104 Stat. 1720-1721 MilitaryGeneralRecognized for more than 40 years of distinguished service as a military commander
General H. Norman Schwarzkopf April 23, 1991 P.L. 102-32, 105 Stat. 175-176MilitaryGeneralRecognized for his "exemplary performance as a military leader in coordinating the planning, strategy, and execution of the United States" and coalition forces in liberating Kuwait
General Colin Powell April 23, 1991 P.L. 102-33, 105 Stat. 177-178 MilitaryGeneralRecognized for his "exemplary performance as a military leader and advisor to the President in planning and coordinating the military response to the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait"
Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson November 2, 1994 P.L. 103-457, 108 Stat. 4799-4800 Religious LeaderClergyRecognized for his "outstanding and enduring contributions toward world education, morality, and acts of charity." He was the leader of the Lubavitch movement for more than four decades
Ruth and Billy Graham February 13, 1996 P.L. 104-111, 110 Stat. 772-773 Religious Leader     ClergyHonored for "their outstanding and enduring contributions toward faith, morality, and charity"
Francis Albert “FrankSinatra May 14, 1997 P.L. 105-14, 111 Stat. 32-33 EntertainerVocalistRecognized for his "outstanding and enduring contributions through his entertainment career and humanitarian activities"
Mother Teresa of Calcutta June 2, 1997 P.L. 105-16, 111 Stat. 35-36 Humanitarian, ReligiousCatholic Nun, SaintRecognized for her nearly 70 years of "selfless dedication to humanity and charitable works"
Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew October 6, 1997 P.L. 105-51, 111 Stat. 117-1171 Religious LeaderClergy, Spiritual LeaderRecognized for "outstanding and enduring contributions to religious understanding and peace." He was the spiritual leader of 300 million Orthodox Christians around the world
Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela July 29, 1998 P.L. 105-215, 112 Stat. 895-896 Civil Rights, Public ServicePresident of South AfricaMemorialized for his "lifelong dedication to the abolition of apartheid and promotion of reconciliation among the people of the Republic of South Africa"
Little Rock Nine: Minnijean Brown, Elizabeth Eckford, Ernest Green, Thelma Mothershed, Melba Pattillo, Gloria Ray, Terrence Roberts, Jefferson Thomas, Carlotta Walls October 21, 1998 P.L. 105-277, 112 Stat. 2681-597Civil RightsActivistsRecognized for the selfless heroism they exhibited "in the cause of civil rights by integrating Central High School in Little Rock Arkansas"
Gerald R. and Betty Ford October 21, 1998 P.L. 105-277, 112 Stat. 2681-598 Public ServiceFormer President and First Lady of the United StatesHonored for "their dedicated public service and outstanding humanitarian contributions to the people of the United States"
Rosa Parks May 4, 1999 P.L. 106-26, 113 Stat. 50-51 Civil RightsActivistHonored for her "quiet dignity," which "ignited the most significant social movement in the history of the United States"
Theodore M. Hesburgh December 9, 1999 P.L. 106-153, 113 Stat. 1733-1734 Civil RightsActivistRecognized for his "outstanding and enduring contributions to civil rights, higher education, the Catholic Church, the Nation, and the global community"
John Cardinal O'Connor March 3, 2000P.L. 106-175, 114 Stat. 20-21 Military, ClergyNaval chaplainRecognized for "his accomplishments as a priest, a Navy chaplain, and a humanitarian"
Charles M. Schulz June 20, 2000 P.L. 106-225, 114 Stat. 457-458 ArtistComicsRecognized for his "lasting artistic contributions to the Nation and the world." Charles Schulz was the creator of the comic strip Peanuts
Pope John Paul II July 27, 2000 P.L. 106-250, 114 Stat. 622-623 Religious LeadersClergy, PopeRecognized for "his many and enduring contributions to peace and religious understanding"
Ronald and Nancy Reagan July 27, 2000 P.L. 106-251, 114 Stat. 624-625 Public ServiceFormer President and First Lady of the United StatesRecognized for their "service to the nation"
Navajo Code Talkers December 21, 2000 P.L. 106-554, 114 Stat. 2763 Military Navajo Soldiers. Military Pioneers Recognized for developing a code using their native language to communicate military messages during World War II. The code developed by these Native Americans proved to be unbreakable and was used extensively throughout the Pacific theater
General Henry H. Shelton January 16, 2002 P.L. 107-127, 115 Stat. 2405-2406 MilitaryGeneralRecognized for his leadership in coordinating the United States and NATO's successful combat action throughout Operation Allied force in the Balkans
Prime Minister Tony Blair of the United Kingdom July 17, 2003 P.L. 108-60, 117 Stat. 862-863Public ServicePrime Minister of the United KingdomRecognized for his "outstanding and enduring contributions…to maintaining the security of all freedom-loving nations"
Jackie Roosevelt Robinson October 23, 2003 P.L. 108-101, 117 Stat. 1195-1197 Athlete, Civil RightsActivist, Baseball PlayerRecognized for his "many contributions to the nation"
Dr. Dorothy Height December 6, 2003 P.L. 108-162, 117 Stat. 2017-2019 Civil Rights ActivistRecognized for her contribution "as one of the preeminent social and civil rights activists of her time, particularly in the struggle for equality, social justice, and human rights for all people"
Reverend Joseph A. DeLaine, Harry and Eliza Briggs, and Levi PearsonDecember 15, 2003
P.L. 108-180, 117 Stat. 2645-2647
Civil RightsCivil Rights ActivistRecognized "for their contributions to the Nation as pioneers in the effort to desegregate public schools that led directly to the landmark desegregation case of Brown et al. v. the Board of Education of Topeka et al"
Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Coretta Scott King October 25, 2004 P.L. 108-368, 118 Stat. 1746-1748 Religious Leader, Civil Rights Civil Rights Activist, ClergyRecognized for their contribution "to the Nation on behalf of the civil rights movement"
The Tuskegee Airmen April 11, 2006 P.L. 109-213, 120 Stat. 322 MilitaryMilitary Pioneers, CommemorativeRecognized for "their unique military record, which inspired revolutionary reform in the Armed Forces..., paving the way for full racial integration in the Armed Forces"
Tenzin Gyatso, the Fourteenth Dalai Lama September 27, 2006 P.L. 109-287, 120 Stat. 1231-1232 Religious Leader, Civil RightsPeace Activist, Clergy, Nobel Peace Prize Recipient (1989)Recognized for "his many enduring and outstanding contributions to peace, non-violence, human rights, and religious understanding." He "has used his leadership to promote democracy, freedom, and peace for the Tibetan people through a negotiated settlement of the Tibet issue"
Byron Nelson October 16, 2006 P.L. 109-357, 120 Stat. 2044-2046 Athlete, EntertainerGolfer, BroadcasterRecognized for his "significant contributions to the game of golf as a player, a teacher, and a commentator"
Dr. Norman E. Borlaug December 14, 2006 P.L. 109-395, 120 Stat. 2709 ScientistScience, BotanistRecognized for "bringing radical change to world agriculture and uplifting humanity." He is known for "developing a strand of wheat that could exponentially increase yields while actively resisting disease"
Michael Ellis DeBakey, M.D. October 10, 2007P.L. 110-95, 121 Stat. 1008 Military, DoctorSurgeonRecognized for making "numerous recommendations for the proper staged management of war wounds, which led to the development of mobile army surgical hospitals or 'MASH' units." Also honored for triggering "the most explosive era in modern cardiac surgery, when he performed the first successful coronary bypass"
Daw Aung San Suu Kyi May 6, 2008 P.L. 110-209, 122 Stat. 721 Public ServicePeace Activist in Burma, MyanmarRecognized for "her courageous and unwavering commitment to peace, nonviolence, human rights, and democracy in Burma"
Constantino Brumidi July 1, 2008 P.L. 110-259, 122 Stat. 2430-2432 ArtistItalian ArtistRecognized for his dedication to the beautification of the United States Capitol. Most notably he painted "The Apotheosis of Washington," in the eye of the Capitol Dome
Edward William Brooke III July 1, 2008 P.L. 110-260, 122 Stat. 2433-2435 Public ServiceUnited States SenatorRecognized for his "unprecedented and enduring service to our Nation." Edward William Brooke III was "the first African American elected by popular vote to the United States Senate"
Native American Code Talkers October 15, 2008 P.L. 110-420, 122 Stat. 4774 MilitaryMilitary Pioneers, CommemorativeRecognized for developing "secret means of communication based on native languages and were critical to winning the war"
Women Airforce Service Pilots of WWII (‘WASP’) July 1, 2009 P.L. 111-40, 123 Stat. 1958 MilitaryMilitary Pioneers, CommemorativeRecognized for being "the first women in history to fly American military aircraft…[and] through their actions, the WASP eventually were the catalyst for revolutionary reform in the integration of women pilots into the Armed forces"
Neil A. Armstrong, Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin, Jr., Michael Collins, and John Herschel Glenn, Jr. August 7, 2009 P.L. 111-44, 123 Stat. 1966-1967 SpaceAstronauts, Space PioneersNeil A. Armstrong was recognized for being "the first human to walk on the moon; Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin Jr., the pilot of the lunar module and second person to walk on the moon; Michael Collins, the pilot of their Apollo 11 mission's command module; and the first American to orbit the Earth, John Herschel Glenn, Jr"
Arnold Palmer September 30, 2009 P.L. 111-65, 123 Stat. 2003 AthleteGolferRecognized for "his service to the Nation in promoting excellence and good sportsmanship in golf"
Dr. Muhammad Yunus October 5, 2010 P.L. 111-253, 124 Stat. 2635 HumanitarianEconomist and EntrepreneurRecognized for "his contributions to the fight against global poverty… Muhammad Yunus is the recognized developer of the concept of microcredit, and the Grameen Bank, which he founded, has created a model of lending that has been emulated across the globe"
100th Infantry Battalion and 442nd Regimental Combat Team, and the Military Intelligence Service, United States Army October 5, 2010 P.L. 111-254, 124 Stat. 2637 MilitaryMilitary Pioneers, CommemorativeRecognized for their "dedicated service during World War II." "The United States remains forever indebted to the bravery, valor, and dedication to country these men faced while fighting a 2-fronted battle of discrimination at home and fascism abroad." "The MIS was made up of about 6,000 Japanese American soldiers who conducted highly classified intelligence operations that proved to be vital to United States military successes in the Pacific Theatre"
Montford Point Marines November 11, 2011 P.L. 112-59, 125 Stat. 751 MilitaryMilitary Pioneers, CommemorativeTo commemorate the first Black Marines and their accomplishments
The Fallen Heroes Act: Honoring the Men and Women who Perished as the result of the Terrorist Acts on the United States on September 11, 2001 December 23, 2011 P.L. 112-76, 125 Stat. 1275 and 1276  CommemorativeTo recognize, memorialize, and honor the Men and Women who perished as a result of the terrorist attacks on the United States on September 11, 2001
Raoul WallenbergJuly 26, 2012P.L. 112-148, 126 Stat. 1140-1143Acclaimed Lifesaver/HumanitarianDiplomatTo recognize his "achievement and heroic actions during the Holocaust." "Wallenberg created a new Swedish passport, the Schutzpass, which looked more imposing and official than the actual swedish passport…The schutzpasses alone are credited with saving 20,000 Jewish lives." "Of the 120,000 Hungarian Jews that survived, Raoul Wallenberg, acting under the War Refugee Board, is credited with saving an estimated 100,000 of them in a six month period"
Addie Mae Collins, Denise McNair, Carole Robertson, and Cynthia WesleyMay 24, 2013P.L. 113-11, 127 Stat. 447Civil RightsCommemorativeTo "commemorate the lives they lost…in the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church, where these 4 little Black girls' ultimate sacrifice served as a catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement"
The First Special Service Force, World War II July 12, 2013 P.L. 113-16,127 Stat. 477MilitaryCommemorativeTo commemorate "the First Special Service Force, in recognition of its superior service during World War II." "The Force was the only unit formed during World War II that consisted of troops form Canada and the United States." The force fought in treacherous conditions and was "among the first Allied troops to liberate Rome." "The United States is forever indebted to the acts of bravery and selflessness of the troops of the Force, who risked their lives for the cause of freedom"
American Fighter Aces May 23, 2014P.L. 113-105, 128 Stat. 1159MilitaryCommemorativeTo recognize "their heroic military service and defense of our country's freedom throughout the history of aviation warfare." An American Fighter Ace is a fighter pilot who has served honorably in a United States military service and who has destroyed 5 or more confirmed enemy aircraft in aerial combat during a war or conflict in which American armed forces have participated"
World War II members of the 17th Bombardment Group known as "Doolittle Tokyo Raiders"May 23, 2014

P.L. 113-106, 128 Stat. 1160MilitaryCombat Pilots, CommemorativeTo recognize their outstanding heroism, valor, skill, and service to the United States in conducting the bombings of Tokyo during World War II, while knowing the “extremely hazardous mission” had a high risk of death, injury, or capture
World War II members of the Civil Air Patrol May 30, 2014P.L. 113-108, 128 Stat. 1164MilitaryVolunteer Civil Air Patrol, CommemorativeTo recognize the "unpaid volunteer members of the Civil Air Patrol [who] during World War II provided extraordinary humanitarian, combat, and national services during a critical time of need for the Nation." The CAP "used their own aircraft to perform a myriad of essential tasks for the military and the Nation within the United States, including attacks on enemy submarines off the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts"
President Shimon PeresJune 9, 2014P.L. 113-114, 128 Stat. 1175Public ServicePresident of IsraelAwarded to President Peres to proclaim Congress' "unbreakable bond with Israel" and to reaffirm "its continual support for Israel." At the time, President Peres was the only surviving member of the founding generation of Israel
Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives Section under the Allied Armies (Monuments Men) June 9, 2014P.L. 113-116, 128 Stat. 1178MilitaryCommemorativeTo recognize the Monument Men's "heroic role in the preservation, protection, restitution of monuments, works of art, and artifacts of cultural importance during and following World War II"
65th Infantry Regiment, United States Army, known as the BorinqueneersJune 10, 2014P.L. 113-120, 128 Stat. 1183MilitaryMilitary Pioneers, CommemorativeThe first Hispanic military unit, and the first unit of the Korean War, to be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal
Jack Nicklaus December 16, 2014P.L. 113-210, 128 Stat. 2077AthleteGolferTo recognize "his service to the Nation in promoting excellence, good sportsmanship, and philanthropy"
Foot Soldiers who participated in Bloody Sunday, Turnaround Tuesday, or the final Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March in March of 1965March 7, 2015P.L. 114-5, 129 Stat. 78Civil RightsCommemorativeTo recognize "the Foot Soldiers who participated in Bloody Sunday, Turnaround Tuesday, or the final Selma to Montgomery Voting Rights March in March of 1965, which served as a catalyst for the Voting Rights Act of 1965"
Filipino Veterans of World War IIDecember 14, 2016P.L. 114-265, 130 Stat. 1376MilitaryMilitary Pioneers, CommemorativeTo recognize the service of the Filipino veterans during World War II. "Filipinos who fought in the Philippines were not only defending or fighting for the Philippines, but also defending, and ultimately liberating, sovereign territory held by the United States Government"
Office of Strategic ServicesDecember 14, 2016P.L. 114-269, 130 Stat. 1391MilitaryIntelligence, CommemorativeTo recognize "the members of the Office of Strategic Services (OSS) in recognition of their superior service and major contributions during World War II. The OSS was America's first effort to implement a system of strategic intelligence during World War II and provided the basis for the modern-day American intelligence and special operations communities"
Bob DoleSeptember 15, 2017P.L. 115-60, 131 Stat. 1154Public ServiceUnited States SenatorTo recognize "his service to the nation as a soldier, legislator, and statesmen." He "was known for his ability to work across the aisle and embrace practical bipartisanship on issues such as Social Security" and the ADA. He's been a member of the House of Reps, Senate Minority Leader, and Senate Majority Leader
Anwar Sadat, former President of EgyptDecember 13, 2018P.L. 115-310, 132 State. 4424Public ServiceAnwar Sadat, former President of EgyptTo recognize "his heroic achievements and courageous contributions to peace in the Middle East." "President Sadat bravely reached out to Israel and dedicated himself to peace, furthering the national security of Egypt and the stability of the Middle East..."the Camp David Accords and the Peace Treaty continue to serve the interests of the United States by preserving peace and serving as a foundation for partnership and dialogue in a region fraught with conflict and division"
Lawrence Eugene "Larry" Doby December 17, 2018P.L. 115-332, 132 Stat. 4440Military, Athlete, Civil RightsBaseballTo recognize "his achievements and contributions to American major league athletics, civil rights, and the Armed Forces during World War II." He "became the first African-American to play in the American League…and the first African-American player to hit a home run in a World Series game"
Chinese-American Veterans of World War II December 20, 2018     P.L. 115-337, 132 Stat. 5029MilitaryMilitary Pioneers, CommemorativeTo recognize "the Chinese-American Veterans of World War II, in recognition of their dedicated service during World War II… Despite the anti-Chinese discrimination at the time, as many as 20,000 Chinese Americans served in the Armed Forces during World War II, of whom, approximately 40 percent were not United States citizens due to the laws that denied citizenship to persons of Chinese descent"
The Crew of the USS IndianapolisDecember 20, 2018P.L. 115-338, 132 Stat. 5033MilitaryNaval Officers and CrewTo recognize their perseverance, bravery, and service to the United States. The USS Indianapolis successfully delivered key components of the atomic bomb, "Little boy." The ship was also hit by two torpedoes leaving the survivors stranded in the water for four days
Stephen Michael GleasonJanuary 3, 2019P.L. 115-415, 132 Stat. 5433Athlete, ActivistFootball playerTo recognize the former NFL player for beginning "a mission to show that patients can not only live but thrive after a diagnosis of ALS" by establishing "The Gleaason Initiative Foundation." He has been an activist for the Steve Gleason Act of 2015 and has coordinated ALS research
Katherine Johnson, Dr. Christine Darden, Dorothy Vaughan, Mary Jackson, and to award a Congressional Gold Medal to honor all of the women who contributed to the success of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration during the Space Race.November 8, 2019P.L. 116-68, 133 Stat. 1129Scientist, Mathematician, SpaceMathematicians, Scientists, EngineersTo recognize Katherine Johnson for her service to the United States as a mathematician; Dr. Christine Darden for her service as an aeronautical engineer, as well as Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jacso for their service to the United States during the Space Race. In addition to this, one Gold Medal was to recognize all of the women at NASA between the 1930s and the 1970s
United States Merchant Mariners of World War II March 13, 2020P.L. 116-125, 134 Stat. 171MilitaryNaval Officers and Crew, CommemorativeTo recognize the Merchant Marines for "providing the link between domestic production and the fighting forces overseas," during World War II, "providing combat equipment, fuel, food, commodities, and raw materials to troops stationed abroad"
Merrill's Marauders 5307th Composite Unit (Provisional) October 17, 2020P.L. 116-170, 134 Stat. 743MilitaryArmy Officers and infantryTo recognize "their bravery and outstanding service in the jungles of Burma during World War II"
Rosie the Riveter Congressional Gold Medal Act to honor women in the United States who joined the workforce during World War II, providing the aircraft, vehicles, weaponry, ammunition and other material to win the war.December 3, 2020P.L. 116-195Public ServiceCitizens, CommemorativeTo collectively recognize "the women in the United States who joined the workforce during World War II, providing the aircraft, vehicles, weaponry, ammunition and other material to win the war"
Greg LeMondDecember 4, 2020P.L. 116-208Athlete, ActivistCyclistTo recognize his contributions to the nation as an athlete, activist, role model and community leader
The United States Capitol Police and those who protected the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021August 5, 2021P.L. 117-32PoliceCapitol Police and DC PoliceTo honor the "United states Capitol Police and those who protected the U.S. Capitol on January 6, 2021" against a mob of insurrectionists
369th Infantry of World War I "Harlem Hellfighters" Gold Medal ActAugust 25, 2021P.L. 117-38MilitaryArmy Officers and Enlisted, CommemorativeTo recognize the first regiment of African-Americans deployed overseas during World War I for their bravery and outstanding service, never losing a foot of ground, despite the segregation of the Armed Forces
The Servicemembers who perished in Afghanistan on August 26, 2021     December 16, 2021P.L. 117-72MilitaryServicemembers from the Marines, Army, and NavyTo honor the servicemembers who perished in Afghanistan on August 26, 2021, "during the evacuation of citizens of the United States and Afghan allies at Hamid Karzai International Airport."
Willie O'ReeJanuary 31, 2022P.L. 117-84Athlete, ActivistHockey PlayerTo honor Willie O'Ree as "the first Black player to compete in the National Hockey League" as well as recognizing his life-long commitment to inclusion in the sport.
Ghost Army, Twenty-third Headquarters Special Troops   February 1, 2022P.L. 117-85MilitaryArmy, CommemorativeTo honor the Ghost Army's "unique and highly distinguished service in conducting deceptive operation in Europe during World War II."
The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, known as the ‘‘Six Triple Eight’’March 14, 2022P.L. 117-97MilitaryMilitary Pioneers, CommemorativeTo honor the African American women who served in the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion for the "pioneering military service..., the devotion to duty..., [and] the contributions made by those women to increase the morale of all United States personnel stationed in the European Theater of Operations during World War II."
The United States Army Rangers Veterans of World War II June 7, 2022P.L. 117-132MilitaryArmy Servicemembers, CommemorativeTo collectively honor the United States Army Rangers veterans of World War II, "whose bravery and sacrifice in combat contributed greatly to the military success of the United States and the allies of the United States."

 

Footnotes

1H.R. 7482 designated 650 gold-plated Congressional Gold Medals to be presented to the entire 1980 Summer Olympic Team by the President of the United States. The large striking necessitated the creation of gold-plated medals.