The Medal of Honor is the highest award authorized by Congress and issued by the president himself. Earned for bravery during combat, the first medal was struck on Dec. 21, 1861, specifically for the Navy, but was adapted for U.S. Army less than two months later.
Since then, approximately 3,500 brave troops have earned our nation's highest honor — and that number continues to grow. As those figures increase, so, too, does the need for additional medals.
According to the Defense Logistics Agency, or DLA, each medal is stamped out from a strip of gold weighing an accurate 2.5 ounces at one of two different locations: IRA Green (Providence, R.I.) or Graco/Northwestern (Tomball, Tx).
The medal begins taking shape after being stamped at one of the two DLA's locations. (Image from TheMedalOfHonor.com)
At the manufacturing facilities, each minute detail is accounted for, down to how many fibers make up the iconic blue cloth that is wrapped around the recipient's neck during the ceremony.
This manufacturing clerk inspects the medal before sending it off to the next station. (Image from TheMedalOfHonor.com)
Every aspect must be perfect before it's shipped off to its next destination for an essential, customized detail — the engraving of the recipient's name.
Just 13 miles away from where the U.S. claimed their independence lays the DLA Troop Support building, within which craftsmen use diamond-tipped, precision tools to engrave the names of brave service members onto their respective medals.
DLA Troops Support's diamond-tipped engraver hard at work. (Image from TheMedalOfHonor.com)
After the engraving, the proud company ships the medals to their next destination, which is where they're awarded.
Check out CBS This Morning's video to see these highly-respectable awards go from production to patriotic issue.