Veterans outraged over new warfare medal

Distinguished Warfare Medal

Distinguished Warfare Medal, the cause for all the flap
Photo credit The Marine Corps Times

Last week, the Department of Defense announced its newest military honor, the Distinguished Warfare Medal, for “extraordinary achievement” related to a military operation that occurred after Sept. 11, 2001. The medal will be awarded to cyber-warriors and drone pilots. These are the service members, generally working behind enemy lines, who guide unmanned drones.

Fair enough. These individuals contribute to keeping us safe, and they should be recognized. The problem arises in the new medal’s hierarchy among other service awards.

As it turns out, the new medal falls somewhere between the Bronze Star and Silver Star, the fourth and third highest military honor, and has a greater stature than the Purple Heart.

Once the significance of this news began to sink in, veterans’ organizations began grumbling and a White House petition has been initiated.

“Medals that can only be earned in direct combat must mean more than medals awarded in the rear,”John Hamilton, national commander of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, said in a statement according to The Hill.

The Hill’s Carlo Munoz reported:

While the VFW “fully concurs” with the notion that rear echelon forces can have a significant impact in combat, particularly in the areas of unmanned drones and cyber warfare, Hamilton said that recognition comes at the expense of front line troops directly engaged with the enemy.

Putting those drone pilots and cyber warriors on par with ground infantry units or air combat squadrons “could quickly deteriorate into a morale issue” within the services.

Drone Pilot

The future of warfare? Drone pilot at work.
Photo credit DIYDrones.com.

On Tuesday, the Pentagon defended both the medal and its stature,

“We are not diminishing at all the importance of the Bronze Star — that remains an important award for our combat troops and will remain so,” DOD Press Secretary George Little told reporters during a briefing at the Pentagon.

Since the Defense Department’s announcement, the White House was petitioned to “Lower the precedence of the new Distinguished Warfare Medal.” As of Wednesday morning, there were over 10,000 signatures on the petition. One prominent petition signature is that of former Congressman Allen West, who tweeted to his followers Tuesday:

“Allen West @AllenWest
Support the WH petition to lower precedence of new Drone Warfare Medal. It’s an affront to Bronze Star recipients:
http://wh.gov/dfzD”

Read more at The Hill.

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  • Jan

    Leave it to the Liberal mentality to try and justify sitting at a desk as a higher honor than taking a bullet or loosing your life!

  • JAMES MC CORMACK

    To earn a medal in a gunfree zone surrounded by guards is a frigging joke…Typical cowardly ,wussie attitude. Everybody gets a trophy….I earned mine by BEING THERE….

  • http://Bizpac Ted

    A medal for REMFs, created by REMFs, given value by REMFs and presented by REMFs. Lib or Conservative has nothing to do with it. The REMFs are where the policy is initiated and decided upon. So, to recognize them, since they haven't awarded themselves enough medals recently, they can get this one. Medals are always a sad recognition for nothing for not taking care of your people. STOOPID. Just saying…

  • Special Operator

    If we are going to talk about military medals, can we speak a moment to one that has bothered me for years. I speak of ther Purple Heart……………it is awarded to those who are wounded "and killed" in direct combat action with a hostile force. In other words, those who are "killed in action" receive the same medal as thosw who are "wounded" but live. THERE SHOULD BE A MEDAL FOR THOSE "KILLED IN ACTION" SEPERATE AND APART FROM THE PURPLE HEART WHICH SHOULD BE AWARDED TO THOSE WHO ARE WOUNDED AND THIS MEDAL SHOULD BE SECOND IN PRECEDENCE ONLY TO THE MEDAL OF HONOR!!!! As a former special operations Officer, I lost many men on the battlefield…………………….yet their families were awarded the Purple Heart the same as those of us who were wounded but lived………………………there needs to be a higher awrd for those "killed in action". I served as a Casualty Assistance Officer during the Viet Nam war and conducted several dozen notifications, funerals and follow ups with the families. Each time I awarded the Purple Heart Medal to the families, I thought about the fact that on my uniform right in front of their faces was my Purple Heart Ribbon with two (2) silver stars………………………so they were receiving on behalf of their son who had been killed the same medal the rest of us had received for being wounded. The Purple Heart is simply "not enough" for those who are "killed in action". As for "personal decorations" for non-combat and/or non-life saving events, these should definately not be rated with personal decorations for personal heroic action in combat (Medal of Honor, Navy Cross, Silver Star, Bronze Star w/Combart "V") but should be rated with medals such as good conduct medals. It is simply inapproperiate to rank a non-combatant medal above any medal awarded for heoric action or for being killed or wounded while in direct contact with the enemy.

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  • http://yahoo Gerry Mander

    Any REMF that wears this medal had better be one badass muffer. Service WOMEN will whip his ass and shove that medal wear he'll need a flashlight and pliers to find it. Where's the 'risk' in this medal, broken nail?…halitosis?…wet diaper?

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  • MORT KUFF

    What's next? A Presidential medal with Oak Leaf clusters, for Good Attendance?

    This is akin to awarding every member of a Kindergarden whiffle-ball team a 4' high 'Participation Award'.

    Obama has so denigrated and cheapened the lives of our volunteer military that for this unAmerican stance alone, he should be blasted out of the White House. And of course by 'blasted', which I mean in a good way – - he should be made to disappear quietly, in a good way.

  • Jon Weiss

    I am a 22 year Army retired vet. I have seen several medals added to the pile over the years, so another medal, more or less doesn't mean a lot to me.

    BUT….to place a military award for sitting at a computer, in the order of precedence as being on par with a Valor Award such as the Bronze or Silver Star, is an absolute joke.

    It has been this type of action that has prodded me to remove my military awards from their place of honor in my home, and toss them into a box in the garage, all of them have become meaningless, due to their devaluation by the bureaucrats.

  • Jon Weiss

    Carpel tunnel.