About that new “Distinguished Warfare Medal” for drone pilots

 
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About that new “Distinguished Warfare Medal” for drone pilots

[In case you didn't realize this already, that is not the actual medal, that is a photoshopped joke about it.]

It’s been a pretty wild last couple of months for the Pentagon, especially for our outgoing Secretary of Defense, Leon Panetta.  First he drops the bomb about the women’s combat unit exclusion policy going away.  Then the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs says that maybe the standard will have to be lowered so we can have more women in those unitsDire predictions flow every day from the puzzle palace about the effect of sequestration on the ability to fight and win wars.  Then comes the suggestion that we lower troops pay.  But while we’re doing that, we’re also expanding benefits to the spouses of same sex couples, even though that might violate the Defense of Marriage Act.  Congress jumps in with hearings about what happened (or more accurately didn’t happen) to on the ground support of the Ambassador in Libya, and why the DOD didn’t have anything in place to help those men out.  We may, or may not, be setting up a drone base in western Africa, and the drones may or may not be used to kill Americans who are working with Al Qaeda based on the legal papers that were leaked by the DOJ.  And the nomination for Panetta’s replacement, Senator Chuck Hagel, is currently being filibustered. In April 170,000 retirees are being pushed out of Tricare Prime in the western States, and we're still passing out flyers in Afghanistan discussing how being courteous to the locals will stop them from shooting at us.

Somehow this all added up to it being a good time to anger just about everyone not angered by the preceding by creating a medal for drone pilots that is actually higher up in the hierarchy of medals than things like the Combat Infantryman’s Badge and the Bronze Star….

In a nod to the changing nature of warfare, the Pentagon on Wednesday created a new medal recognizing combat contributions of people like drone pilots and cyber warriors who are reshaping the battlefield, even from thousands of miles away.

Outgoing Defense Secretary and former CIA Director Leon Panetta - who spent much of the past four years bolstering those new capabilities - announced the decision to create the "Distinguished Warfare Medal" at a Pentagon news conference.

"I've seen firsthand how modern tools, like remotely piloted platforms and cyber systems, have changed the way wars are fought," Panetta said.  “This award recognizes the reality of the kind of technological warfare that we are engaged in, in the 21st century."

It is the ninth-highest warfare medal the Pentagon can bestow on troops - even higher than the Bronze Star. Importantly, it is the only combat medal that a military service member can receive without actually physically being in the same geographic area where combat took place.

Now, to be honest, I should have written about this last week, much like the VFW did, and they parlayed it into a front page story on FoxNews.  (Good for them.)  But honestly, I thought the whole thing was so idiotic I almost put it entirely out of my head.  Credit where it is due though, VFW had some good comments on this:

“It’s a boneheaded decision,” VFW spokesman Joe Davis told FoxNews.com. “This is going to affect morale and it’s sending troops in the field a horrible message.”

By Thursday afternoon, more than 800 responses had been posted on the VFW’s Facebook page. Many said the medal’s high ranking on the military medal hierarchy would hurt an already-bruised U.S. military morale.

John Hamilton, the VFW’s commander-in-chief, said in a statement that his organization “fully concurs that those far from the fight are having an immediate impact on the battlefield in real-time,” but added that “medals that can only be earned in direct combat must mean more than medals awarded in the rear.”

The organization says that at a time when the Defense Department is being hit with budget cuts and entire military towns are bracing for the effects of the upcoming sequester, announcing a new medal that honors members who aren’t fighting on the front lines sends a bad message.

“It’s like, ‘Why am I slogging through the mud, dirt and sand when someone who can go home every night to their family gets recognized?’ Davis said. “The people in the Pentagon should ask themselves how this is going to play out. The government didn’t do this to the troops. The Pentagon did it to themselves.”


My friends at Ranger Up’s Rhino Den went even further:

 [There] are medals that you have to be in the battle to earn. You have actually had to leave your family at home while you deploy to some [hell]hole somewhere and EARN THEM on or above the battlefield. You have actually been place in a situation where your life could have ended due to enemy action.

BUT NOT ANY MORE!!!!! You can now “earn” a medal that will rank between a Silver Star and a Bronze Star and never leave the “house”. The powers that be have now created the “Distinguished Warfare Medal”! Isn’t that nice? They have now made a medal for the X-Box junkies flying the Pred. But wait, there’s more… They are also already earning Air Medals, without deploying. The same medal that I have five of, they are earning from the safety of some air conditioned box while sipping on their mocha-frapachino that they picked up on the way in to work that day, and waiting for Papa John’s to show up with lunch. They are not placing themselves in any danger what so ever, except maybe carpal tunnel syndrome. Pred gets shot down? Yeah that blows ‘cause they are expensive, but all told, the operator of said pred was never in danger.

 As I thought about the whole kerfuffle, and wondered what the Pentagon was thinking, it brought to mind my favorite quote about the Infantry, from T.R. Fehrenbach:

In July, 1950, one news commentator rather plaintively remarked that warfare had not changed so much, after all. For some reason, ground troops still seemed to be necessary, in spite of the atom bomb. And oddly and unfortunately, to this gentleman, man still seemed to be an important ingredient in battle. Troops were still getting killed, in pain and fury and dust and filth. What happened to the widely-heralded pushbutton warfare where skilled, immaculate technicians who never suffered the misery and ignominy of basic training blew each other to kingdom come like gentlemen?

In this unconsciously plaintive cry lies the buried a great deal of the truth why the United States was almost defeated.

Nothing had happened to pushbutton warfare; its emergence was at hand. Horrible weapons that could destroy every city on Earth were at hand—at too many hands. But, pushbutton warfare meant Armageddon, and Armageddon, hopefully, will never be an end of national policy.

Americans in 1950 rediscovered something that since Hiroshima they had forgotten: you may fly over a land forever; you may bomb it, atomize it, pulverize it and wipe it clean of life—but if you desire to defend it, protect it and keep it for civilization, you must do this on the ground, the way the Roman legions did, by putting your young men in the mud.

So, anyone out there want to defend this plan?  Essentially every person I have talked to on this thinks that it should be moved down to the level of a MSM (Meritorious Service Medal.)  But am open to hearing differing opinions.  I just don't see it as being as prestigious as the Purple Heart, the CIB and other medals only earned by facing the enemy in direct combat.

 UPDATE:  From a friend of a friend, there is a petition on the White House to lower the precedence of the medal. 

Lower the precedence of the new Distinguished Warfare Medal

The Pentagon is introducing a new medal to recognized the service of pilots of unmanned drones during combat operations. This medal will be placed in precedence order just below the Distinguished Flying Cross and just above a Bronze Star Medal. Bronze Stars are commonly awarded with a Valor device in recognition of a soldier's service in the heat of combat while on the ground in the theater of operation. Under no circumstance should a medal that is designed to honor a pilot, that is controlling a drone via remote control, thousands of miles away from the theater of operation, rank above a medal that involves a soldier being in the line of fire on the ground. This is an injustice to those who have served and risked their lives and this should not be allowed to move forward as planned.

 It's pretty much common sense, a medal for drone warfare should not be senior in ranking to medals that are earned by troops who are in harm’s way. It should not take precedence over the Purple Heart or Bronze Star as proposed by the DoD.  While the medal – which could be earned for extraordinary service to the war effort by launching drones or cyber warfare attacks from places like Nellis AFB in Las Vegas or Tampa, Florida – is certainly worth considering – it should not rank higher than medals that often cost American lives to earn.

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Back in 1944 I earned my Bronze Star with oak leaf cluster in the Battle of the Bulge and am proud of it. They can conjure up any medal they want, but I know what I did to warrant my award. What they do now doesn't change my memories of guys that we left in the snow of Belgium.
I'm the last man standing of my Squad, Company I, 289th Infantry, 75th Divisiion and cherish my Bronze Star as a memorial to the brave soldiers from Co. I that didn't come home.

Bronze Stars were awarded to ANY WWII veteran who had been awarded a CIB. Didn't matter if you showed valor in front of the enemy at any point, so long as you were awarded a CIB, you got a Bronze Star. Doesn't that cheapen the award itself? I would think so.

Do that! Get a CIB! Then maybe your remote-controlled pilot skills will mean something.

I respect what you are doing, but Hell, I respect the field cook who feeds us while keeping his personally assigned weapon strapped to his back! Can you imagi how tough it is to keep the grill hot while brewing coffee during enemy attack?

As for the medal for computer geeks sitting in airconditioned or heated bldgs in their little cubicles snacking on a egg mccuffin, while drinking a cafe latte from Starbucks, with a LCD TV playing nearby, I can say only this: We Do need these guys (oops and women) directing these drones at the enemy (hopefully not us in the US) overseas. However, a COMBAT MEDAL for them doing their job while on US ground or even in some other place "in the rear with the gear" does NOT give them entitlement to a COMBAT MEDAL, only a NON COMBAT medal; like the gentleman said an ARCOM or MSM like that. But then ONLY if what they did was very significant in turining the battle or war in our favor. As a Recon Jarhead in the jungles and paddies in RVN (thats Republic of Viet Nam for those of you out there too young to remember back to 1975) I got pretty sick and tired of the REMF's (those of you who served there or maybe in Afgan will know what that means) back at main base getting and writing themselves up for combat medals and citations etc. While we were out in the dense, snake and VC infested bush/paddies/jungles etc doing the majority of the Grunt work and intell gathering and NOT getting the medals and/or credit we should have. Don't get me wrong, me and my Recon team were not looking for medals, only to return safely back home when our job was done. These Harvard and Yale MBA and LLD types runing or ruining our Military has got to STOP, or we'll be eating Chinese or some other lead (the type from the end of a gun). How we do this I don't know. But if all the 23 million former service members got together, we could win the battle I'm sure. Thanks and GOD bless our nation while we still have one.

I must be missing out on all the Starbucks, Mickey D's and tv going on at work. I didn't get that memo.

I bet you are missing out on the Air Conditioning as well, huh? Are you working a whole 12-hour shift? I men, my guys worked shift ork too! 12-on and 12-more-on! Oh, wait... We can't make "pilots" stay awake for duty that long. They might stress their index finger or get CTS!

Blowfly86 agree's with your thoughts and comment on hard earned, "combat medal's" close and personel out in the fields of crap and thankz to a good recon's understanding of what VC were like and what it tooks "gutz" and blood for them Combat missions to happen; not chairing out from faraway places.

Not surprising. I knoew we were in trouble when we; one, developed the BMTS ribbon. Why have a ribbon that shows you completed some form of basic training, doesn't the uniform do that? And two, when I saw a Major receive a Bronze Star, as the senior intelligence officer, sitting in a SCIF in Italy providing briefings for Kosovo. No mud, no blood, no bullets just cappuccino and pasta.

I really think it is a shame to rank this new medal so high. The guys in actual combat are deserving of all the recognition they can receive. I don't have a problem with recognizing the ones piloting the drones, as this is very important to modern warfare, but they should not be put ahead of the actual field combatants. I can see this is going to really hurt morale.

I do not think it is fair to highly honor this class of warfare participants. I do believe they need some recognition. I think that something along the CIB would be appropriate with a desination of their contribution.

Technically, not only can the BSM be awarded with the “V” (Valor device) but so can the ARCOM be awarded with the “V”. So, how can this award (Distinguished Warfare Medal) have precedence over any valorous award?

There are already appropriate extant awards that cover various levels of meritorious service not involving direct action with hostile forces in times of war/conflict.
• LOM
• DMSM
• MSM
Pick one of the above.

Looks like something out of a Cracker Jack box. There are already awards in place that cover that contingency,

Sounds like a real "REMF" award to me. The biggest risk those guys take is the risk of hemorrhoids. I appreciate them keeping the "boots on the ground" safer, but shouldn't it be a requirement to be at some risk to win a combat medal? A "Service" medal should never outweigh a "Combat" medal. It seems to cheapen the whole courage, bravery, and valor thing....

I urge all legion members to go to petitions.whitehouse search for Distinguished Warfare Medal and petition against this idea. Who knows, maybe the president will take notice, I doubt it but maybe.

The new combat drone operators are under a lot more stress than we originally thought. A new style of depression has developed that has garnered a lot of medical attention.Evidently there is much more stress envolved in conducting this new, lethal form of combat. It's not like a kid's computer game. These people operating the new systems are fine, dedicated warriors who really care and who strive greatly in directing this new style of battle. We've must get used to new concepts of battle, avoiding more WWII "boots on the ground" thinking.The computer age is here. We must join it and regulate our defenses around it. Our adversaries are!

Agreed, but just because these soldiers are showing traumatic event related depression which is probably more from internalizing their moral issues with killing, it doesn't mean that their service by the very geographic limits could reasonably be awarded a medal that has more significance than the medal of honor. Frankly, I’m not sure how it would stack up against the purple heart either.

Glenn, no one is saying these warriors don't deserve recognition. I don't think the recognition should outweigh the service of those who have actually put themselves in harm's way.

Glenn, no one is saying these warriors don't deserve recognition. I don't think the recognition should outweigh the service of those who have actually put themselves in harm's way.

Who came up with the justification for this?... And, how did they justify it?.... What about all the "live" pilots with JDAMs and the like?... John W. Frost USMC 1967-71 Sgt. E-5

When a soldier places their welfare behind those of their brothers or sisters in arms either directly saving a life or accomplishing a significant offensive maneuver they in my opinion embody what the Bronze Star means to me. “The Bronze Star Medal is awarded only to service members in combat who are receiving imminent danger pay.” - wikipedia Bronze StarMedal
If you’re not putting “it” on the line and actually in country then I am adamant that this drone award should be ranked AFTER the Purple Heart.
I realize that acting like kamikazes isn’t very American. “Now, I want you to remember that no bastard ever won a war by dying for his country. He won it by making the other poor dumb bastard die for his country.” - "Patton" (1970)
However, there is honor, dignity, and character displayed by soldiers who are actually on the battlefield with everything to lose and who commit to do anything necessary in the defense of as many lives during the completion of the mission. You can’t do that from a chair half way across the globe!

No Big Thing! Haven't you heard? The pentagon is coming out next week with a potatoe peeling medal, a making your bed medal and a just showing up medal!

If they approve of this then they should approve all Viet Nam vets of exposure to agent orange.Regardless of boots on ground or not!!!!

It's laughable for this old soldier to see noncombatants wearing four and five rows of ribbons... Audie Murphy had two rows... Awards have become meaningless, a retention tool, nothing else...

I concur with the comments of SGM Button. This award should rank witth the "Marksmanship Medal".

Understand the concerns about the new medal taking precedence over the Bronze Star, but in fact this seems to be well precedented Look at all the other awards which already have precedence over the Bronze Star which don't require presence in a combat zone, e.g. the DSM, DSSM, and LOM. I'm not overly concerned because when people see a BS with V device, they will still know this commands more respect than "rear echelon" medals, no matter where they technically rank.

I can't understand how one can earn a medal for not being in a direct combat role. I guess my ARCOM from Vietnam is not worth much anymore sadly.

This has got to be a hoax. Theres no way someone sitting behind the lines in a cozy room drinking a Red Bull with his ipod playing deserves a medal of valor for just doing his job. His life needs to be on the line to earn one.

Disgusting move, but no surprise coming out of this administration's Pentagon

My Grandson plays XBox like a pro perhaps he would be eligible for top rank by submitting his war hours. Service personnel gave the ultimate during the cold war and who in Government cared. Veterans abound around the US that were in harms way in all foriegn theaters and no recognition. They even get a hard time trying to get medical or anything else that I am sure the the XBox drones will receive.

If they want to make a new medal, that's fine. But it definitdly should not be higher than medals for those who have bullets flying past their heads.

Don't forget the points awarded for promotion when getting these medals. So someone sitting at a console will receive more points towards promotion than say a pilot who received an Air Medal for flying combat missions.

I thought the answer would be clear. Technical skill and a willingness to comply does not compare to the pilot who faces fire and danger who therefor deserves the higher honors.

Before the military honors the drone operators, how about recognizing another group that the Pentagon has steadfastly refused to acknowledge: Atomic Veterans - All the way from 1945 to the mid-1960s. They occupied still-hot Hiroshima and Nagasaki, flew through the mushroom clouds over Nevada and washed down the radioactive planes, "cleaned up" radioactive target ships in the Pacific H-bomb tests, marched through tests of atomic artillery in Nevada (where Marines died in "training accidents", and were exposed to radiation at Johnston Island. Many later suffered suspicious and unusual cancers, or passed on genetic defects to their children. The Pentagon and VA refused to even acknowledge our exposures; indeed the effects of most of those activities remained classified until just a few years ago. It won't matter to those who have already died, but we who remain will never forget.

Peter Linsky
USN 1961-65

i guess my 3 bronze stars won't mean much any more with men with a half dozen of these new metals on their chest. missions done from a computer room with a game stick to help guide them thru it.

Quite simply, the Distinguished Warfare Medal idea has little, if any merit. Maybe Panetta wants to be able to say this is something that was approved on his watch.

Why can't this MOS be recognized like any other with a badge.During my two tours in Nam (11B)I was awarded several Bronze Stars ,Purple Heart,Air Medal and the like but the only award I ever got that really means anything to me is the C.I.B. Technically it's just a badge but as anyone who has ever earned one knows it means more than most awards at least to those of us who earned it. It means you payed your dues the hard way and you had the honor of serving with true warriors.You can take every medal I ever earned in Nam and it don't mean nothin ,you try and take my C.I.B. away and you will have to do a days work to get it done.So why not a badge for these guys.They do valuable work but they are not warriors.

Has anybody actually read what it says is needed to get an Air Medal or the Bronse Star. How can you give a REMF an Air Medal. It is given because of the inherant dangers or COMBAT flight. I have ten that I recieved as a Crew Chief and Door Gunner in Viet Nam. There where two Purple Hearts recieved because of those dangers. I recieved an ARCOM for meritories service in Viet Nam and another for Herosam. I hold my Bronse Star With great pride because of what it took to recieve it. We all knew of the occational company clerk that gave the
mselfs an air medal or two. We took exception to it but it was acceptable as we understood their desire to be a part of history. This new medal should not be put in place. Give these operators an ARCOM for Meritous service. That would be acceptable, but to give them a combat medal higher than a Bronse Star is ludicrus. And how can they recieve an Air Medal without the inherant dangers of continous combat flight. This cheepans these medals to all who have recieved them in actual physical combat. I'm shure a World War 11 veterans that flew in the Pacific or the pilots and crews that flew over Germany would roll over in there graves if the knew what is going on.This medal cheapens there sacrifice and is a slap in the face those who died and only recieved the Air Medal and or a Bronze Star for their sacrifice. Do they actually give a ribbon for compleating Basic Training? That's what your first strip was for. Do you get a medal for compleating AIT or Air Born training. Wow high a medal should a Ranger get for compleating school. They have cheapend the entire reward system. God Bless our troops and supprt them any way you can. God Bless America . Long May She Reighn. PEACE

I will repeat what I said in the Facebook posting.....Way back in the early 60's an old WW11 pilot said to me at Commanders Call while the CO was "medaling" the men who manned the Silo's housing the Minuteman 11,. "They will deserve a medal when they strap that thing to their ass and ride it out of the hole" Seems as though nothings' changed. Who are these idiots in the Pentagon?. After 24.4 yrs I have six citations (of sorts) and am embarrassed to wear them but am told if I don't then I'm out of uniform!. It is a whole lot like what the Brits used to say about us in WW11 , The Yanks are over paid , overdressed oversexed and there was one other that I conveniently forget. In uniform (Class A) the American soldier looks like a tin horn general from a 3rd world nation 'nuff said sign me out
CRA492

Has anybody actually read what it says is needed to get an Air Medal or the Bronse Star. How can you give a REMF an Air Medal. It is given because of the inherant dangers or COMBAT flight. I have ten that I recieved as a Crew Chief and Door Gunner in Viet Nam. There where two Purple Hearts recieved because of those dangers. I recieved an ARCOM for meritories service in Viet Nam and another for Herosam. I hold my Bronse Star With great pride because of what it took to recieve it. We all knew of the occational company clerk that gave the
mselfs an air medal or two. We took exception to it but it was acceptable as we understood their desire to be a part of history. This new medal should not be put in place. Give these operators an ARCOM for Meritous service. That would be acceptable, but to give them a combat medal higher than a Bronse Star is ludicrus. And how can they recieve an Air Medal without the inherant dangers of continous combat flight. This cheapans these medals to all who have recieved them in actual physical combat. I'm shure a World War 11 veterans that flew in the Pacific or the pilots and crews that flew over Germany would roll over in there graves if the knew what is going on.This medal cheapens there sacrifice and is a slap in the face those who died and only recieved the Air Medal and or a Bronze Star for their sacrifice. Do they actually give a ribbon for compleating Basic Training? That's what your first stripe was for. Do you get a medal for compleating AIT or Air Born training. Wow high a medal should a Ranger get for compleating school. They have cheapend the entire reward system. God Bless our troops and support them any way you can. God Bless America . Long May She Reighn. PEACE

This is another of those offbeat "ideas" the Pentagon has from time to time to that should have never seen the light of day. If these drone guys are such hot shots, give them a marksmanship medal, not a medal that ranks between the Silver Star and the Bronze Star! This is simply insane and a slap in the face to every Marine, sailor, soldier or airman who ever received a medal for valor beyond the call of duty. Semper Fidelis

These operators are using technology and are staying at home. There should be some recognition for doing an outstanding job, but to put dthis award above those for men and women who are on the front lines is absurd. TDhis needs to be re-evaluated.

Staying at home? So explain to me why I've been in this job for less than 2 years and TDY for the majority of it.

You actually believe you have earned a TDY Medal? How about you tell us WHERE you went TDY, what hotel you prefer, and how many Frequent Flier Miles you have banked! Do you like Starbucks or Seattle's Best the most? Is it really Papa Johns, or do you prefer the new boneless KFC?

Look, Flying a drone is like shooting any other weapon. It is your job! Sure, you should recieve special recognition for your skills. I feel that a Badge, like and Expert Rifleman, or Expert Vehicle Driver/Mechanic, or Expert Demolisions would be appropriate. No way you should sit at your air conditioned control panel and expect a Medal. Hell, I had guys begging to be boots in the dirt, but because they provided stratigic communications capability, they were not allowed to leave their place of duty, They didn't get a special Medal, adn neither should you!

When the drone controllers can be shot back at by their targets, then give them a medal

Actually there is quite the concern about us getting attacked as we transit to and from work. There has been numerous intances of operators being followed, as well as the base getting watched.

OMG!!!! Someone followed you to work!!!! Scary!!!! Damn near like being in COMBAT, isn't it?

Um - no... It's not!

I worked projects classified higher than yours, and when I thought I was "followed to work", guess what I did... Changed my routine. Apperantly your job is low enough in priority that they never taught you OPSEC. Pretty sad that. I thought all soldiers, airmen, adn Marines understood OPSEC. I guess sitting in that big, white van (tractor trailer, and sometimes "camoflauged" by painting it green or tan) without windows has affected your basic military skills... Or maybe you never had them!

Only in the government can a half crocked idea like this get any consideration. And only by aperson who knows nothing about the riggors of war. To be "given" a medal that ranks above the bronze star is not only ludicris, but also very demeaning to those of us who have "earned" our combat awards. Warriors the world over should make thier voices heard. This is exactly what happens when you take the decisions of war away from the Generals and give that authority to civilains who have never been to war. That is also why during our current war, there have been few MOH'S awarded. When in the hell did a MOH award ever have to be approved by a civilian. This is exactly why this war has lasted so damn long. Civilians directing Generals on how to fight. It's all a crock of BS. Why have the Generals if these snot nosed civilians get the final say. Last bu not least. Again I say that medals are not "given", they are "earned". And they are earned by the giving of blood, and in some cases, loss of life. Not by sitting in an air conditioned office, no where near a war zone. How, in good faith, could a drone pilot even accept an award like that, knowing full well he did next to nothing to get it.
', they are

So if you get one of these new medals and then the next day you crash your drone into a mountain. Does the government take back your medal? They should because now you just destroyed something worth more to the government then a ground soldier. To me this is what the government is telling us a drone pilot efforts in combat are worth more then a ground soldier efforts in combat.

This is wrong. 'Nuff said! From an ole 11Charlie.

I wish the people at the Pentagon would just admit that they were stupid and get it over with. Then we could stop wondering and carry on with our lives. Especially Panetta. If he would just come clean and say "I know none of this was popular or smart, but I'm on my way out the door so suck it and let the next guy fix it." At least if he did I would have some level of respect for the man.
But, being as that will never happen, he is just another in the long line of modern day politicians who are overly wrapped up in the 'hug me', 'care-bear', 'everyone is special' mentality that this country is wrought with.
Historically speaking this is not the first medal, nor will it be the last, designed for Service Members who may never actually set foot in a war-zone much less see actual combat. Two that come to mind are: The Armed Forces Service Medal (you only have to be in the military during a designated time of conflict. New troops coming out of basic have been getting these since 2001), Global War on Terrorism Service Medal (much like the AFSM, you don't have to even deploy to a combat zone, you merely needed to be designated 'in support of the GWOT'. Every person I knew when I was active duty got one of these on their way out the door) the Combat Action Badge was another designed after 2001 with the specific role to add flash to the uniforms of non-Infantry personnel even though there are medals that could be given for the same acts (you are somewhere near a firefight, check. You get the badge) At least the CAB required you to be in harms way, but to this day ask an Infantry Man how he feels about those. Sadly, at the end of the day its all about making everyone feel special. No medal for flying a remote controlled plane? No problem, we will make one. Standards too high for you to be in a Combat Arms MOS? No problem, we will just lower them. It's happened before and will happen again.

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News from the World of Military and Veterans Issues. Iraq and A-Stan in parenthesis reflects that the author is currently deployed to that theater.