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Thread: Drone pilots to get medals.

  1. #1
    Rickshaw Professional Senior Contributor Pedicabby's Avatar
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    Drone pilots to get medals.

    I am not a millitary type other than the few years I speny in the Canadian Army Reserves way back in the late 80's. I always thought that medals were given for combat / UN peace keeping ops. or for doing something where you would have to put your self in harms way.


    New medal for drone pilots outranks Bronze Star - Marine Corps News | News from Afghanistan & Iraq - Marine Corps Times

    New medal for drone pilots outranks Bronze Star


    By Andrew Tilghman - Staff writer
    Posted : Wednesday Feb 13, 2013 17:47:27 EST

    The Pentagon is creating a new high-level military medal that will recognize drone pilots and, in a controversial twist, giving it added clout by placing it above some traditional combat valor medals in the military’s “order of precedence.”
    The Distinguished Warfare Medal will be awarded to pilots of unmanned aircraft, offensive cyber war experts or others who are directly involved in combat operations but who are not physically in theater and facing the physical risks that warfare historically entails.
    TELL US

    Did the Pentagon choose an appropriate place in the military awards hierarchy for its new Distinguished Warfare Medal? Send us a letter to the editor: marinelet@marinecorpstimes.com

    The new medal will rank just below the Distinguished Flying Cross. It will have precedence over — and be worn on a uniform above — the Bronze Star with Valor device, a medal awarded to troops for specific heroic acts performed under fire in combat.
    The new medal is a brass pendant, nearly two inches tall, with a laurel wreath that circles a globe. An eagle is in the center. The ribbon has blue, red and white stripes.
    “This award recognizes the reality of the kind of technological warfare we are engaged in the 21st century,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told reporters in Washington on Wednesday.
    RELATED READING

    Pentagon creates medal for cyber, drone wars (2/13)

    The new medal will be awarded for specific acts, such as the successful targeting of a particular individual at a critical time.
    “Our military reserves its highest decorations obviously for those who display gallantry and valor in actions when their lives are on the line and we will continue to do so,” Panetta said.
    “But we should also have the ability to honor the extraordinary actions that make a true difference in combat operations,” Panetta said. “The contribution they make does contribute to the success of combat operations, particularly when they remove the enemy from the field of battle, even if those actions are physically removed from the fight.”
    The service secretaries will make the final determination for awarding the Distinguished Warfare Medal.
    The order of precedence came as a surprise to Doug Sterner, a military medals expert and the curator of the Military Times Hall of Valor, the largest database of military medal recipients.
    “It’s got me puzzled,” Sterner said in an interview Wednesday. “I understand the need to recognize the guys at the console who are doing some pretty important things. But to see it ranking above the Bronze Star [with] V?”


  2. #2
    Military Professional dave lukins's Avatar
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    I think a medal for being involved in a combat zone is fine but to elevate it above the Bronze Star with Valor may be a step too far and may well annoy many boots on the ground troops.
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  3. #3
    Military Professional dave lukins's Avatar
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    ” Panetta said. “The contribution they make does contribute to the success of combat operations, particularly when they remove the enemy from the field of battle, even if those actions are physically removed from the fight.”

    Don't Artillary gunners do this?...Ships at sea? Submarines? When a Military medals expert questions it then I think they need to listen. It will be interesting to hear what recipients of the Bronze Star have to say about it.

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    Senior Contributor Agnostic Muslim's Avatar
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    Unless the recipient is involved in intelligence analysis that leads to a target being successfully identified and eliminated, I don't see how the medal hierarchy, as described in the article, can be justified.

    Perhaps the rationale behind the ranking of the medal is related to the studies on the mental impact of deaths caused by drone operators - I have read a few accounts suggesting PTSD in drone operators - but I am not sure enough research is out there on the subject ...
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    Senior Contributor Doktor's Avatar
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    Poor fellas who played Counter-Strike and similar games.

    I specially feel for gunnut, he must suffer claustrophobia. Being iin a WWII tank for 48-72 hours at ance...
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    The medal system here in entirely different. With most of the people here having been in the IDF, medals have lost some of their importance. Our most decorated soldiers, Ehud Barak and Nechemia Cohen have each earned 5 medals: One Medal of Distinguished Service and four Chief of Staff Citations. Most soldiers will go throughout their entire service (including 20 years of reserves) without winning a medal.

    Campaign ribbons work somewhat differently. Every single soldier that served during a war, whether they be in for 20 years or brand new recruits, is allowed to wear a campaign ribbon, even if they were nowhere near the fighting.

    That being said, I don't think the drone pilots' medal should be higher in importance than a combat award, it just doesn't make sense...
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    The one difference here is that those drone pilots ARE involved in combat.

    It is a different twist I will grant you but there is some good reasoning here as for these decisions.

    And frankly, the Bronze Star w/ V has been overused and devalued.

    Here are the award criteria

    Awarded in the name of the Secretary of Defense, the Distinguished Warfare Medal may be awarded for extraordinary achievement to members of the United States Armed Forces. This achievement must have taken place after 11 September 2001, and may not involve acts of valor. Qualifying achievement must have a direct impact, through any domain, on combat or other military operations. These operations must occur under one of the following circumstances:[6]
    Engaged in military operations against enemies of the United States.
    Engaged in operations in conflict against an opposing foreign force.
    While serving with friendly foreign forces engaged in operations with an opposing armed force where the United States is not a belligerent party.

    Direct impact of an operation means the "hands-on" employment of weapons systems, including those controlled remotely, or other activities through any domain that had a direct impact on an engagement or operation. When making reference to "through any domain" in the award criteria, this means operations may take place in air, sea, land, and cyberspace.[6]

    The achievement must have been of such an outstanding or exceptional nature so as to set the individual apart from their peers who are serving in similar duties or situations. The medal may only be awarded for single exemplary acts and cannot be awarded for sustained operational service. The Distinguished Warfare Medal may be awarded posthumously.[6]


    Also, the DFC, which rates above this award and it is awarded for noncombat operations...is there something wrong with that?
    Remember that it is the Actions and not the Commission that make the Officer and that there is More expected from him than the title. – GEORGE WASHINGTON

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    Resident Curmudgeon Military Professional Gun Grape's Avatar
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    I have to agree with Cdr Salamander on this one

    What insecure little man-child came up with this idea, and why did no one up the chain stop it?

    It is nothing more by an award created by insecure people, approve for insecure people, to be issues to insecure people. Sorry .... but we have awards that exist that will fit the bill fine for doing what you are doing in your chair - no need to clutter things up.
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    One of the responses to the Cdr. Salamander post:

    I'm an Army guy. I have a shitload of ribbons and medals, virtually all of which are for showing up reasonably sober and not grabbing the Colonel's lady on the butt. And frankly, I don't see a lot of harm in handing out Army Achievement Medals fairly liberally. An attaboy goes a long way.

    But I'm also very cognizant that the only things on my uniform that were earned were my blue Infantry cord, my combat patch, and my CIB.
    I couldn't agree more. I know that I earned by black beret with red background on the Armored Corps pin (signifying I was in a combat unit), my silver tankers pin (showing I graduated basic and advanced training) and my green background to the pin (earned after 8 months in a combat unit) all on my own. Those three things, if you can't hack it, if you can't finish the course or do the time, you don't get jack. The only other decoration I wore was the Second Lebanon war campaign ribbon over my tanker's pin. After 3 years of service, I had just those 2 pins, and nothing else.

    I also had plenty of accomplishments that weren't recognized on my uniform, such as being given command of the Company C3I center and being the Brigade CO's tank gunner, best gunner in a Bde of 2,500 men
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  10. #10
    Resident Curmudgeon Military Professional Gun Grape's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Albany Rifles View Post
    Also, the DFC, which rates above this award and it is awarded for noncombat operations...is there something wrong with that?
    The Army only awards the DFC for heroic acts that take place in a combat zone. For the other services lets take a look at what rates a DFC. They all involve risk of life, unlike our new Chairborne Warrior award.

    DFC awards from the other services have mostly been for acts in a combat zone, except for the Coast Guard awards. And those USCG awards were earned for rescues.

    Military Times Hall of Valor - Search for Distinguished Flying Cross


    I have no problem with recognizing drone pilots accomplishments. But it needs to go below the Bronze Star. There are Medals that require you risk your life.

    These guys could have received the Bronze Star, without V, if the Air Force had not abused it during the 1990s and caused Congress to restrict it to a combat zone only.
    Them giving 2 finance airmen the BSM last year didn't help either.
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  11. #11
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    Gunny,

    I guess my point was the BSM has been so overused and has become devalued.

    Now, I am not an awardee so I guess I can have that attitude but I have seen so many of them that it has ceased to be an award which hold much prestige....you give examples. It has become a "package" award. The Drone Cross can be below or above for all I care...but I believe a guy who uses a drone to take out several bad guys is doing more for the effort than the a LOT of people I have seen sporting BSMs.

    How about this.....if you have a V device it is placed ahead of all awards and decorations which are for merit?

    That I could back fully.
    Remember that it is the Actions and not the Commission that make the Officer and that there is More expected from him than the title. – GEORGE WASHINGTON

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