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Medal for Teddy Roosevelt may come 102 years late

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PITTSBURGH — The Army has recommended that Theodore Roosevelt receive the nation's highest military honor more than 100 years after he led the Rough Riders in the Spanish-American War.

A recommendation to honor the former president with the Medal of Honor is awaiting President Clinton's signature, Army spokeswoman Karin Martinez said in Thursday's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

Two years ago, Congress approved legislation asking that Roosevelt be awarded the medal, but Clinton said he wanted a review by Army scholars.

The investigation led to a positive recommendation by the secretaries of the army and defense and the Army Senior Decorations Board, the Post-Gazette said.

Roosevelt led two charges against the Spanish army in Cuba on July 1, 1898. The first was up Kettle Hill and the second was up San Juan Hill.

He wrote to a friend four months after the battles that he thought he would get the medal. Twenty-two other men received the Medal of Honor for action that day, including two members of Roosevelt's volunteer unit.

"I am entitled to the Medal of Honor and I want it," he wrote.

Supporters of the honor say Roosevelt's outspokenness, combined with the political squabbles of the times and a prejudice in favor of regular Army regiments, kept him from the medal.