Representatives introduce legislation to lower precedence of "Distinguished Warfare Medal"

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Representatives introduce legislation to lower precedence of "Distinguished Warfare Medal"

From Military Times:

A trio of Republican lawmakers moved Tuesday to prevent the Defense Department from establishing the Distinguished Warfare Medal for drone operators as an award that ranks higher than the Bronze Star or Purple Heart.

Reps. Duncan Hunter of California, Timothy Murphy of Pennsylvania and Tom Rooney of Florida, introduced a rare bill that tells the Defense Department how to set the precedence of medals. While introduced as a stand-alone bill, there is a strong chance the legislation will end up as an amendment to the 2014 defense authorization bill, congressional sources said.

I tried pulling up the bill on the Library of Congress website, but they do not have the text of it yet.  Oddly, the title of the bill only addresses part of the concern:

To amend title 10, United States Code, to require that the Purple Heart occupy a position of precedence above the new Distinguished Warfare Medal.

We agree (of course) that the Purple Heart should rank higher, but also the Bronze Star, or at least those given for Valor.  Representative Duncan Hunter (who authored the bill) seemed to say as much in his quote in the article:

Hunter, an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran, said there is a difference between direct combat and flying a drone from a safe location. “Those engaged in direct combat put their lives on the line, accepting extraordinary personal risk,” Hunter said. “There is nothing wrong with having a military award that recognizes commendable actions off the battlefield, but it’s absolutely necessary to ensure that combat valor awards are not diminished in any way.”

Anyway, National Commander Koutz also gets a shout-out in the piece:

On Tuesday morning, the national commander of the 2.4 million-member American Legion, the nation’s largest veterans groups, urged Legionnaires to include complaints about the medal in conversations with lawmakers.

Keep up the heat on this one.  Contact your Members of Congress and let them know that we support creating this medal, but that it's precedence needs to be more in line with non-valor/non-combat medals.


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It is hard to see how this medal could be ranked above the Purple Heart or the Bronze Star. I have the Bronze Star from the Korean War and I can tell you it was earned.

It shouldn't have any ranking. Put it as a ribbon with the Expert Rifle and Pistol Category. Call it Drone Offensive Operator (or expert). If they want more, then make it a Breast Device, tied to a qualification level to "earn it" not get it since you just sat in a chair and watched.

I believe that congress and all politicans should keep out of the ranking of metals for the military. this is just something that the DOD should determine. Not all drones are controlled from safe areas. Many considerations need to be looked at relative to other metals. The DOD is best equiped to look at thoes relationships.

My father earned a Purple heart and a Bronze Star in WWII. There is nothing I can do remote-piloting a drone that is comparable to what he had to do to earn those Medals.

Put the DWM in its proper place - below anything and everything earned in face-to-face combat.

Someone has to fly those things but lets face it, I think that the worst that can happen is a blister from turning the knobs. If it is stress that earnt the medal then lets put air traffic controlers in the elegibility line.

The so called Warfare Medal ranks about equal to the Good Conduct Medal. Its for doing your job and not getting into trouble. Sounds like a good job description of a drone pilot. He is an internet game player, like thousands of teen age kids.

The Distinguished Warfare Medal should be awarded as a ribbon or as a qualification badge for a skill in flying and firing a weapon from a drone. Or award the drone operator a Soldier's Medal for saving the lifes of soldiers in combat while operating the drone. But not above any medals or ribbons for close combat. Hell, he was over three thousand miles, save from bombs and bullets.

It's about time for congress to pass CWV ribbon not just a Certificate. I was in the USMC when the hostage were taken from Tehran, we thought we were going to war but Carter screwed that up. It's time for our service to be recognized by Congress.

I f this medal ranks above the purple heart and the bronze star, I suppose my 4 air medals will be way down the list. Mine were earned D-Day, The Rhine crossing at Arnhiem, Holland and Bastogne All under fire.

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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.