The U.S. Army is awarding its Medal of Heroism to three Junior Reserve Officers’ Training Corps (JROTC) cadets killed in last week’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida, an Army spokesperson confirmed Tuesday. Alaina Petty, Peter Wang and Martin Duque were all students at where the deadly attack unfolded.
The Army awards the Medal of Heroism to JROTC cadets who perform “acts of heroism.”
“The achievement must be an accomplishment so exceptional and outstanding that it clearly sets the individual apart from fellow students or from other persons in similar circumstances,” the Army said in a statement. “The performance must have involved the acceptance of danger and extraordinary responsibilities, exemplifying praiseworthy fortitude and courage.”
Wang was also posthumously admitted to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. The academy expressed condolences with Wang’s family in a statement Tuesday.
“It was an appropriate way for USMA to honor this brave young man,” the academy said Tuesday. “West Point has given posthumous offers of admissions in very rare instances for those candidates or potential candidate’s whose actions exemplified the tenets of duty honor and country.”
Petty’s family received the award at her funeral service Monday and Wang’s family was scheduled to receive his Tuesday at his service, Army spokesperson Michael Maddox said, adding that Wang’s family requested their son be buried in his JROTC uniform. The Medal of Heroism will be on his uniform, Maddox added, and a second “keepsake” medal will be given to the family.
Duque’s family will receive the medal Saturday during his funeral service, he said.
Wang, 15, was shot while he stood holding the door open so other students could escape the shooting. Ernie Rospierski, a history teacher at the high school, witnessed Wang’s heroics on Wednesday.
Rospierski told “CBS This Morning” that he saw Wang “holding the door pushing kids through the door while bullets are coming at him. I don’t know many adults who could have done that, let alone a 14-year-old boy.”
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