Although the 369th Regiment Armory still stands at 142d St. and Fifth Ave. in New York, the regiment itself was disbanded in 1946 and its heritage passed to other units, now the 369th Sustainment Brigade, NY National Guard. The original 369th Infantry, widely known as “The Harlem Hell Fighters”, served with the French in WW1, and has been awarded the Congressional Gold Medal (CGM).
Originally authorized in 1790 as a military service decoration, after 1847 the CGM began to be awarded for non-military accomplishments. Today it is the highest honor that the Congress can bestow, and it has done so 174 times, to individuals as well as groups as big as The American Red Cross and all of the victims of 9-11, to authors such as Louis L’Amour and Robert Frost, to entertainers such as Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope, to foreigners like Shimon Peres and St. Teresa of Calcutta, to Presidential couples like the Fords and the Reagans, and even to anonymous persons. Although a number of CGM awards have been made to high-ranking military persons, it isn’t a military award.
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