A QUESTION OF HONOR

THE NAVY'S TOP ADMIRAL TAKES HIS OWN LIFE RATHER THAN FACE QUERIES ABOUT HIS RIGHT TO A COVETED AWARD. FOR A SAILOR'S SAILOR, IT SEEMED THE ONLY WAY OUT

It's a small bronze V, scarcely a quarter of an inch high, and it can be bought for less than a dollar in any military uniform store. But for a Navy man, it is rare moral currency, especially at a time when, as some vets put it, they give out a medal practically every time you change jobs. The V (for valor) pin signifies actual combat experience, and Mike Boorda, U.S. chief of naval operations, wore two of them on a chestful of awards and ribbons celebrating his 40 years of Navy service. At least, he wore them until a year...

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