10 Most Decorated War Heroes of the 21st Century

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The United States and its allies began what is officially known as the Global War on Terrorism in October 2001 when they attacked Afghanistan in the wake of the terror attacks in the U.S. Two years later, the the allies expanded the war into Iraq. The U.S. pulled out of Afghanistan in 2021 and has maintained a presence in Iraq. Over that 21-year span, American servicemen have distinguished themselves in combat in both those countries. (Here’s how every war in U.S. history ended.)

To compile a list of the most decorated American war heroes of the 21st century, 24/7 Tempo consulted reference material from the Department of Defense, Spec Ops Magazine, and the Congressional Medal of Honor Society. We only considered recipients of the Medal of Honor, the Silver Star, and the highest individual awards from three military branches – the Army’s Distinguished Service Cross, the Navy Cross, and the Air Force Cross.

On this list there are 10 men – representatives of the Army, Navy, and Air Force – who each won two or more medals of valor while in combat. Some of them were wounded trying to protect their fellow injured service members, and two – Navy SEAL Michael Monsoor and Army corporal and medic Angelo Vaccaro – were slain in the line of duty. Monsoor is the only one on this list who won the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest military award. 

Monsoor and Vaccaro are but two of the 5,364 military personnel who have died in the War on Terror as of Sept. 12, 2022. They and the others on this list join the honor roll of the most decorated war heroes in American history.

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