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Drone Medal

Posted by Jolly on February 21, 2013


Sieg forwarded me a picture of what the new Distinguished Warfare Medal should look like.   I think we all understand that drones, UAVs, or RPVs are important tools that give our forces some impressive combat capability and SA on the battlefield. However, for our managers in Washington to consider creating a medal for combat support operators higher in priority than a Bronze Star or Purple Heart is just plain stupid. Here's an article from showing what the VFW thinks about it.


VFW Wants New Medal Ranked Lower

Feb 14, 2013


Barely 24 hours after the Pentagon announced its new medal for cyber warriors and drone pilots, the Veterans of Foreign Wars is demanding the decoration's ranking be lowered.
The Distinguished Warfare Medal is ranked above both the Bronze Star with Combat "V" and the Purple Heart – medals typically awarded for combat in which the servicemember's life is at risk.

"The VFW fully concurs that those far from the fight are having an immediate impact on the battlefield in real-time, but medals that can only be earned in direct combat must mean more than medals awarded in the rear," VFW National Commander John E. Hamilton said in a statement released Thursday. "The VFW urges the Department of Defense to reconsider the new medal's placement in the military order of precedence."

Hamilton said the new medal and its ranking "could quickly deteriorate into a morale issue."

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, who announced the new award on Wednesday, said the military needed a medal that recognizes that post-9/11 warfare is different with servicemembers at consoles in the U.S. directly affecting the outcome of enemy engagements.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, who previously served as CIA director, said in a statement that he had "seen first-hand how modern tools like remotely-piloted platforms and cyber systems have changed the way wars can be fought, changed the course of battle even from afar."
But 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," Panetta said.

The award has been in the works for some time. Nearly a year ago, an MQ-18 Hummingbird instructor pilot and AC-130U pilot argued for a combat medal for drone operators in Air & Space Power Journal.

Maj. Dave Blair dismissed the argument that fighting a war from a computer monitor is not the same as the traditional interpretation of combat -- that "it is not honorable."

"[We] might say the same for firing a missile beyond visual range from a fighter cloaked with stealth technology," he wrote. "It would be hard to imagine that the same individual would feel compelled to activate his radar transponder upon contact with the enemy, just to restore honor to his kill by mitigating his technological defenses."

He also said drone pilots are in danger, just like pilots flying aircraft over the combat theater.

"Recall that the individuals killed in the terrorist attack of 11 September 2001 on the Pentagon received the Purple Heart, a combat medal," he wrote. "This war is global, and our enemies have global reach as well. If we found ourselves in our enemies' position, would we spend the time and attract attention attempting to purchase a high-profile missile when a terror attack on RPA [remotely piloted aircraft] operators in the continental United States would produce better results?"

Could'nt post this in comments since there's a picture.  This was forwarded from BabyMac:

A friend posted this on his Facebook page. Saw your recent e-mail and thought you’d appreciate. Stick forward, ailerons and rudder neutral……we are so out of control. Babymac



Posted by Duke on
Flying a drone is an appropriate duty worthy of some recognition just as the SAC guys who stayed in the ICB silos. They had decorations appropriate for their contribution but not that outranked face to face combat medals. Ludicrous that the drone medal outranks the Bronze Star and Purple Heart. Maybe something on a par with the Air Medal would be appropriate.
Posted by Jolly on
From Jim:

If this happens, I'll expect to win "The Lombardi Trophy" from my recliner, next Superbowl!!
Posted by ike on
Barely 24 hours after the Pentagon announced its new medal for cyber warriors and drone pilots, the Veterans of Foreign Wars is demanding the decoration's ranking be lowered.

The Distinguished Warfare Medal is ranked above both the Bronze Star with Combat "V" and the Purple Heart – medals typically awarded for combat in which the servicemember's life is at risk.

This is a hoax, right? Please say it's a hoax meant to get all of us 'real fighter pilots' riled up. Didn't I read something about the "Pentagon" 'developing' this? So, there are actually 'Generals' in the Pentagon, right? Generals who actually know about 'combat', right?? My grandsons playing 'combat-video-games' get raised heart rates, but even THEY know that they aren't 'actually' in danger like "Major Dad" was when he was flying combat. Is the current Administration poking EVERYONE in the eye? - Ike, aka "Major Dad" (S.E.A. 1973, Desert Storm 1991)
Posted by Bayonet on
What then is the purpose of the Air Force Commendation Medal?
Posted by bbest on
Good God! I know this is a tough job and it performance must weigh heavily upon drone operator's conscience much in the same way that it affected the poor Air Traffic Controllers who went on strike; therefore, I have the solution. There must be hundreds (if not thousands) of retired fighter pilots who would gladly take this job at a small percentage of the going pay scale. In fact, I would take the job at no pay and I would never expect a medal.
Posted by Doc on
I flew RC fighters once upon a time during career. Does that qualify? They should also give a gimbal Heart for the gimbal thumbs they get during those long sessions.
Posted by habu510 on
Ditto "bbest"! No medal required for me.
Posted by namvet69 on
OK let's start a line. Cruise Missal launcher, 105/155/175/8" loader, 81mm mortar loader, NASA satellite control room tech.

How about some realism? Bomb run pilot, spooky pilot, cobra gunner, SEAL sniper. Guess I got off base somewhere.
Posted by Intruder on
Hell plug me into Microsoft flight simulator link me to a drone and I will make some carnage from home in my recliner...skip the medal and the fancy set ups...might even save a few tax dollars and avoid sequester so the real fighters can take care of real business.
Cyber warfare higher than a bronze star indeed...the fact that the Pentagon's time was even wasted on this is about as brilliant as the Navy's blue camouflage.
If there is any doubt as to where cyber warfare medals should go I challenge any console warrior to lace up, grab a side arm, or some speed jeans and go into the thick of it.
Posted by Torch55 on
As the VFW so insightfully pointed out, the medal should be awarded "in the rear" to attain the full importance and meaningfulness of this piece of cheap tin.

I can't believe that we don't have medals for other military folks who stroll out to their CONUS duty location, plop down in a comfortable chair, grasp their working tools (whatever they may be), manipulate their working tools (whatever they may be), and then at the end of the day, unplop themselves from the comfy chair, stroll back home to their abode, have a nice dinner, and -- if there are significant others or kids -- participate in some recreational activities. Just like the guys in harm's way -- NOT!!!!

Sorry for the late response. Just joined up.
Posted by Torch55 on
Ref the Gomer group photo. Didn't see the drone medal, but am impressed with all the merit badges on the bandolos. Wonder if they made it all the way to Eagle Scout.
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