ITD Vault: 25 Years Ago
Aug./Sept. 1990

New plate honors heroes

The first Idaho-issued congressional Medal of Honor license plate was presented in June to David B. Bleak, of Moore, Idaho. The plates were provided in time for them to be put on his car for the Fourth of July motorcade through town.

The plate appropriately carries the red, white and blue color scheme, with the U.S. flag on the left. On the right is a representation of the scarf on which the medal is displayed.

Bleak served in the U.S. Army and received the award for action of June 14, 1952, in Korea. According to the General Order, the Congressional Medal of Honor was awarded to Sgt. Bleak, a member of the medical company, “for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life and beyond the call of duty.”

Editor’s 2015 Note: Sgt. Bleak was awarded the medal based on heroic actions during a trip into Chinese-held territory. Bleak's patrol came under heavy attack by fortified Chinese positions. Despite being wounded himself, the 6’5”, 250 lb. Bleak reportedly rushed the Chinese troops multiple times and killed five Chinese soldiers—four using only his hands—before assisting the wounded, and shielding another soldier from a grenade blast.

Bleak, then just 20 years old, is credited with saving the patrol's wounded and ensuring that all of its members returned to allied lines. For these actions, he was awarded the Medal of Honor. He also won the Purple Heart for leg wounds suffered in the same encounter.

Bleak passed away in March 2006, but the Medal of Honor plate program lives on, issuing 94 MOH plates since 1991. In June 2006, Bleak's family presented his Medal of Honor to the Idaho Military History Museum, where it is still displayed.



Published 07-17-15