You know when your kid registers to join a team sport, ya know like soccer or whatever else non-contact touchy feely sport and they give trophies at the end of the year even though the team sucked and didn’t win a freaking game? Vomit. “We want everyone to feel like winners” a coach told me when I asked why they were getting trophies. I just stood there and looked at him with my cigar in my mouth and thought to myself, “you got beat up a lot as a kid didn’t you”.
This is how I feel about the medal just released. Panetta Announces Distinguished Warfare Medal
The Distinguished Warfare Medal recognizes the changing face of warfare. In the past, few, if any, service members not actually in a combat zone directly affected combat operations.
These new capabilities have given American service members the ability to engage the enemy and change the course of battle, even from afar, Panetta said at a Pentagon news conference today.
Ohhhhmy goooosh! So here it is in grunt terms. The medal would be between the Flying Cross and above (higher) than the Bronze Star. Hmmmm. 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.
I don’t have a Bronze Star why? Because I didn’t earn one that’s why and I’m ok with that. During my yearlong kick ass tour in 2004-2005 (yes a year) which is not usual for Marines, I spent daily patrols getting hit with IEDs in Ramadi. It was called doing my freaking job. I was a Capt at the time and what did many Marines notice, some units (MEF & Div) levels were giving Bronze Star medals as an end of tour award (without distinguishing device) That means no fancy doodad on the ribbon, just a Bronze Star ribbon.
I knew Majors who never, ever left the FOB along, nor ever got shot at or stormed a compound with insurgents in it with high ranking enlisted as well that departed with the BS medal. This of course made many junior Marines pissed off especially when they were doing the “hard” work outside the wire. That’s why to even today (especially at Marine Corps Balls) I have occasionally been known to tell junior Marines to ask that Major over there that has a Bronze Star (without a doodad) what he got the award for. Usually, the young Marine comes back and says that the Major asked in reply to him asking “who put you up to asking me that question” in turn I buy the young warrior another drink.
You may be thinking “the Major isn’t happy about this new medal – (no kidding Capt obvious) (note: the last person I will blame about any ribbon they receive is the warrior, I blame their command for poor judgment)
But I digress, now I hear that they are going to give people in Florida, Arizona etc sitting in air conditioned buildings driving drones a medal that out ranks a Bronze Star that dignifies flat out heroism, I have to throw the bullshit flag sports fans.
Some out there (soccer parents) are saying wait Major, you have inhaled too much cigar smoke and are way off the mark here. . First, that’s totally impossible because I bleed red American blood and sweat cigar smoke and listen to Ted Nugent cranked in my MRAP, and second, if you think they haven’t been giving Combat Action, Bronze Star, Silver Star and Flying Cross medals to drone pilots in the past, you’re naive.
Is flying a drone important? Yes (as long as it is in Afg and not shooting at Americans in the US) but again (throwing bullshit flag) there is no way it compares to the acts your young warriors are doing outside the wire, not even close. Did that drone pilot leave their family for seven months or more? No. Did they operate in an air conditioned room? Yes. Were they wearing body armor defeating IEDs as they walked among the local tribes that wanted to kill them? No. Were they at risk of being killed in combat? Ummmm No. Why, ask why would they in zeuseious maximus rate a medal that supersedes the Bronze Star? How is by any means representing a greater act than that awarded by a Bronze Star with a distinquishing device?
“This new medal recognizes the changing character of warfare and those who make extraordinary contributions to it,” So does this mean all of those great Americans that send us care packages are eligible for the award? I feel they make “extraordinary contributions” to the war effort. Head to your local base folks and pick up your medal if you have ever sent a care package. Tell them I sent you :) I could just see it now. “hello, Im here to get my that a boy medal for sending care packages. Ma’am you don’t rate this because you haven’t contributed to the war effort” please video your visits for me, they will be a hoot!
The Marine Corps is very stringent on medals they award. Why, because we have this crazy concept called you have to earn them! That’s why you don’t see Marines with medals on their chest for graduating boot camp (yes, the US army gives their soldiers a medal for finishing boot camp, and many other tough demanding achievements (no offense there army joes, just getting the facts out there). Look at any soldier and they will have a rack on their chest. Ask them to tell you about each one (many are mightybad ass mother scratchers & Im proud as hell to stand next to them) Then, ask a Marine what he got his for. I think you will see my point. Sorry, Im not going to even go into the mighty blue airforce and their ribbons, badges and dodads. This isn’t about steely eyed airforce drone pilots getting more medals than Marines, it’s about lowering the value of a medal awarded. Like that back in Ramadi, the Bronze Star was given out at the cyclic rate (without dodads) and many that were there would agree, the medal was degraded.
There were many times I had senior officers say “let’s give the Marine the next level medal than what was originaly submitted because he already has that medal”. I routinely argued that, the Marine should get the medal that fit the action, not an automatic upgrade because he already had one I had put him in for. Many times I argued that the Marine desrved the next higher medal as well. Trust me, I didn’t pay for the medals, the command did so its not a monetary issue, I loved giving medals to Americas heroes. It’s one of the greatest experiences.
I guess, the military doesn’t want people to feel left out, so next, I’m expecting all of my combat hardened Marines to receive soccer trophies after their seven months in Helmond Province. We don’t want them to feel bad or anything. (que Louis Armstrong & “it’s a wonderful world) Maybe they can play that song when they award these medals.I prefer Ted Nugent played at my Marines award ceremony.
Time for a C-Gar