Working Hard to Earn a "Combat" Medal (Love the Easy Chair)...
The basic story is from here (Military News) - posted here in modified format:
The Pentagon has created a new medal for drone pilots and cyber-warfare specialists that will rank higher in the order of precedence for military decorations than the Bronze Star with Combat “V.”
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta recently announced, then added: "There had been no way previously to honor the efforts of the technicians with a military decoration. For that reason, I formally approved establishing the Distinguished Warfare Medal.” He then concluded: "... unlike awards for courage in the face of the enemy, the medal will be given for actions ... that do not involve valor or physical risks that combat entails.” The new medal that will rank directly below the Distinguished Flying Cross, and it will be called the Distinguished Warfare Medal.
General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, added: "It will recognizes the changing character of warfare in the post-9/11 era. (Service members sit at their consoles in the U.S. and can directly impact the outcome of engagements with an enemy overseas."
The DOD statement concluded: “The Distinguished Warfare Medal will be awarded in the name of the secretary of defense to service members whose extraordinary achievements, regardless of their distance to the traditional combat theater, deserve distinct department-wide recognition.”
A Pentagon memorandum made sure to emphasize that the medal “...may not be awarded for valor in combat under any circumstances, and the Distinguished Warfare Medal provides an avenue to recognize appropriately extraordinary direct impacts on combat operations warranting recognition above the Bronze Star Medal.”
The medal is only to be awarded to those serving after September 11, 2001.
My personal view: This is a slap in the face of any combat Vet who actually engaged in ground combat near, close to, and/or against an actual enemy, face-to-face in combat. Should we recognize the Drone personnel, yes, of course we should, but NOT with a medal that ranks between the Bronze and Silver stars and just below the DFC. That is ludicrous. This a very bad policy decision; very bad.