Amendment could make WI Civil War officer a hero, 150 years later

WASHINGTON (WITI) -- If passed by the Senate, an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) would make a Wisconsin lieutenant who served during the Civil War, 150 years ago, a war hero.

The amendment would award Lt. Alonzo Cushing - an officer from Delafield, best known for his leadership at the Battle of Gettysburg - with the Medal of Honor, the U.S.'s highest military recognition.

Presently, the NDAA's current statues requires recommendations for the Medal of Honor be made within two years of the heroic action and awarded within three. The amendment would waive this requirement and allow Cushing to be awarded with this honor.

The amendment, spearheaded by Demcratic Representative Ron Kind and co-authored by Republican Representative Jim Sensenbrenner, was passed by the House of Representatives on Friday, June 14th. Rep. Kind urged the Senate to pass the amendment "so we can finally honor Lt. Cushing in the manner he deserves."

“When it comes to honoring war heroes, it is never too late to do the right thing,” Kind said.

During the Battle of Gettysburg - the Civil War's most notoriously violent clash - Cushing helped to "turn the tide" during Pickett's Charge. He, along with 110 other men, positioned themselves on Cemetery Ridge, where they received the full force of Confederate gun power. Several hours later, all of his officers were killed and Cushing - who had been wounded himself - refused to withdraw from field and suffered two more injuries before passing away.

This July marks the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg.