The Medal of Honor is "awarded to members of the Armed Forces who distinguishe themselves conspicuously by gallantry above and beyond the call of duty," according to the White House. The high honor is only given to service members who display "great personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual above his or her comrades and must have involved risk of life."

The honor was first awarded in 1863, during the American Civil War. The last recipient was a posthumous award to Army Spc. Leslie H. Sabo Jr. for his actions after his platoon was ambushed during the Vietnam war.

The announcement came Friday, as President Obama met with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai at the White House. According to the White House, during the talks Obama "reaffirmed the United States’ respect for Afghanistan’s sovereignty and reiterated that as Afghanistan takes full responsibility for its security and development, the United States continues to be committed to supporting the Afghan people."