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Drone Controllers Eligible for Military Honor

distinguished warfareThe military has an amazing number of awards that can be received by those who serve bravely. This month retiring Defense Secretary Leon Panetta  announced a new medal. The medal will be awarded for specific acts, like the successful targeting of a specific individual at a critical time. It is the first new force-wide medal recognizing combat achievement since the Bronze Star was created in 1944.

But soldiers won’t have to stare down death or even be displaced from loved ones for this. Called the Distinguished Warfare Medal this medal will recognize drone controllers who, using remote control technology, pilot drones thousands of miles away. The soldiers will not undergo hardships, have to show bravery, or even miss a coffee break to qualify for such an award.  As such, many military veterans are calling foul and say that this honor to drone pilots who do not actually serve in combat an insult to those who had boots on the ground during wartime.

“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 as he announced the new medal on February 13.

Adding further insult, the new medal will rank just below the Distinguished Flying Cross. It ranks above the Purple Heart, which recognizing battlefield injuries, and the Bronze Star honoring actions in combat.

It is understandable that the military adapts to new technology and new types of fighting. But it is surprising that those in the Pentagon would consider a non-combat medal more worthy than receiving an injury on the battle field. Why not offer a marksmanship badge?

Not to take anything away from the work done by the soldiers who maneuver the drones but offering such a prestigious medal seems excessive. They are doing their job, without being in personal danger.

One can’t help but wonder if this new award is a result of our socialistic modern lifestyle, particularly seen in the public school system, wanting to make sure everyone gets a prize so that no one feels left out?

Read more, including information about a petition to the White House requesting a change in order of precedence, at the Military Times.

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Teresa Wendt

A stay at home mom who runs a household, manages the finances, cares for a young adult autistic son, and cooks from scratch. Traveling from Arizona to Alaska summer of 2013. Visit my blog at and follow along.

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  1. There is no question as to the value of these men & women. The most asuredly are a VIP on our ‘team’ & deserve special recognition. However, this has the ear markings of one more item in the ‘re-distribution’ manuel. Rather like Cub Scouts collecting merit badges or Little League where everyone gets a trophy & no one gets a sense of low self esteem & feelings hurt.
    To make this award so obstentious & over the top devalues the others… And I’d just about bet that even though these skilled drone controllers are happy to be acknowledged, they probably see it for what it is….political manuvers from their lame duck commander in chief. (use of lower case intended)

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