U.S. Army awards Medal of Heroism to 3 slain Florida students

By Susan McFarland

Feb. 20 (UPI) -- Three Junior Reserve Officers' Training Corps cadets killed in last week's shooting at a South Florida high school have received medals from the U.S. Army for heroism, the military branch said Tuesday.

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School students Peter Wang, 15, Alaina Petty, 14, and Martin Duque, also 14, earned the Medal of Heroism -- a military decoration awarded to JROTC cadets who perform an act of "exceptional and outstanding" heroism.


"The performance must have involved the acceptance of danger and extraordinary responsibilities, exemplifying praiseworthy fortitude and courage," Army spokesman Michael Maddox told UPI Tuesday.

Petty was given the medal at her memorial service Monday. Wang's medal was presented at his service Tuesday and Duque will be honored at his Saturday.

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"The JROTC Heroism medal will be on his uniform, but a second "keepsake" medal will be given to the family," Maddox said. "The immediate focus right now is on supporting the funerals with dignity and honor, so deserved by these cadets and their families."


Nikolas Cruz, the student charged in the shooting attack that killed 17, also was a JROTC member.

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Because of Wang's dream to attend the United States Military Academy Preparatory School, known as West Point, he was posthumously admitted to the prestigious academy.

A petition for a full military service said Wang was selfless and heroic.

"He was a JROTC Cadet who was last seen, in uniform, holding doors open and thus allowing other students, teachers, and staff to flee to safety. Wang was killed in the process. His selfless and heroic actions have led to the survival of dozens in the area. Wang died a hero, and deserves to be treated as such, and deserves a full honors military burial."

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Maddox said potential awards for other cadets are going through a review process.

"The immediate focus right now is on supporting the funerals with dignity and honor, so deserved by these Cadets and their families," he said.

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