The Army announced Friday it would not recommend awarding the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military award for valor, to a World World II veteran who charged he was earlier denied the award because of anti-Semitism.
David Rubitsky, 72, of Milton, Wis., a Jew, said that as an Army sergeant on the South Pacific island of New Guinea, he single-handedly killed 500 to 600 Japanese soldiers from "a machine gun nest" on Dec. 1, 1942.
Some of Rubitsky's former Army buddies backed his claim, although the largest number on record for World War II by an American was 75 Japanese soldiers killed by one Marine on Iwo Jima in 1945.
Rubitsky, a retired merchant seaman, charged that his Army superior during his Pacific action, Col. John Mott, did not recommend him for the Medal of Honor for anti-Semitic reasons.
The Medal of Honor is awarded by Congress to soldiers, sailors, pilots and Marines for acts of bravery above and beyond the call of duty.
At the request of Rep. Les Aspin (D-Wis.), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, the Army said it investigated the Rubitsky case for the past two years and found "insufficient evidence to substantiate either that the event reported by Mr. Rubitsky occurred or that the Medal of Honor was recommended on his behalf within the stipulated period."
Rubitsky said he was "not going to make a statement until I'm . . . sure what the facts are myself." He scheduled a news conference for today in Milwaukee.
The Army said two essential factors are required by law to support a claim for the Medal of Honor:
Army records must contain "incontestable proof" that the action occurred; and second, there be conclusive evidence that a recommendation for the award was submitted within two years of the action.