US Coins

Congressional gold medal honors Afghan assault victims

Proposed designs recommended by the CCAC for the congressional gold medal honoring those killed in the Aug. 26, 2021, assault on the Kabul airport.

Images courtesy of the United States Mint

The Citizens Coinage Advisory Committee April 18 approved proposed designs for a congressional gold medal to be posthumously awarded to recognize service members “who perished in Afghanistan on Aug. 26, 2021, during the evacuation of citizens of the United States and Afghan allies at Hamid Karzai International Airport.

CCAC members considered 14 proposed designs — eight obverses and six reverses. The medal is authorized under provisions of Public Law 117-72, signed into law by President Biden on Dec. 16, 2021.

The CCAC’s recommended obverse “depicts five servicemembers in silhouette standing over a crowd of people waiting to board a C-17 with the mountains of Kabul in the background,” according to the U.S. Mint’s design narrative. “There are 13 stars incused over their heads, representing the 13 fallen.”

The CCAC’s recommended reverse design choice “features the names of the fallen servicemembers and an American flag surrounded by a wreath.”

The attack on Thursday, Aug. 26, 2021, at the Hamid Karzai International Airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, killed 13 United States service members, making it the deadliest single day of the war for the United States in more than a decade.

Hundreds of Afghan civilians also lost their lives in the attack. The deadly attack was carried out as the Taliban regained control over Afghanistan.

After the single gold medal is presented by the congressional leadership at a public ceremony, the gold medal will be given to the Smithsonian Institution, where it will be available for display as appropriate and made available for research.

The enabling act also provides for the Treasury secretary to direct the U.S. Mint to strike and offer for sale to the general public 1.5-inch and 3-inch bronze duplicates of the gold medal.

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