The Silver Star is only given to service members who have shown incredible heroism during combat.
It was an award given to Vietnam veteran Wade Sanders in 1992. But now, that award has been taken away from the San Diego resident and former Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Navy.
Navy Secretary Ray Mabus revoked the award last August but it only became public recently.
Mabus wouldn't give a specific reason for the revocation, only saying that he "had subsequently determined facts and evidence surrounding both the incident for which the award was made and processing of the award itself been known to the Navy in 1992, those facts would have prevented the award of the Silver Star."
In 2009, Sanders was convicted and sent to prison for possessing child pornography.
To this day he maintains his innocence, saying he was only researching information for a book about child exploitation.
Navy officials aren't saying exactly why his Silver Star was revoked or what triggered the recent investigation.
Retired Marine Lt. Col. Thomas Richards says the timing is suspicious and hopes the Navy didn't take away the award because of Sanders' conviction.
"If a person's legitimately a hero, then I don't think anything else in his life should affect that," Richards said.
According to military guidelines, if a service member gets an award, but that person doesn't live up to its honor during service, it can be taken away.
But Richards, who is also a local investigator for the Stolen Valor Task Force, says it is highly unusual.
"I believe it's happened less than 30 times, and most of those happened before World War I," Richards said. "In my 40 years in the military, I've never seen that occur."
Sanders will be released from federal prison in March.