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June 16, 2005

Raven 42.

Attention to Orders!

Announcement is made of the following awards, to the warriors of Raven 42. Another less-military-jargonated, perhaps more readable version of the story of Raven 42 can be found here, by W. Thomas Smith, Jr.

LTG Vines, Commander of Multinational Corps Iraq, presented RAVEN 42 the following list of awards today for their heroic actions on 20 March 2005 in Salman Pak, Iraq.

SPC Ashley Pullen is absent from the photo due to sickness. The other missing three, SGT Rivera, SPC Haynes, and PFC Mack, are recovering in Kentucky as noted under their awards.

Ric Locke made what I think is an excellent observation - so much so that I decided to pull it up out of the comments and put it here.

I see this as a big, big thing for the future Army.

One of the things that struck me as a Navy enlisted man years ago, and has impressed me since as an interested observer, is the degree to which myths and stories affect the confidence of soldiers and their unit cohesion. Medals are, in part, awarded in recognition of superior behavior because they add to those stories -- knowing of someone "just like me" who accomplished something great gives me confidence that I can do the same if the chips fall.

There haven't been any such mythic stories for women. That's mostly because there haven't been many women in combat situations, but it causes a problem. If there are no myths for women to tell one another and live by, many will just fall back on the welfare aspects of military service, and that's not helpful to anyone. At first, the story of Pvt. Jessica Lynch seemed as if it could be such a myth, and the Army tried to support it, but the underlying facts were weak enough for the press and other hostile actors to reduce the myth to a dirty joke. Not helpful.

Now we have not one, but two women who not only done good, they done real good. Other women can be inspired by their stories, which are real and confirmed. The result will be an increase in morale and consequent decrease in disciplinary problems with women soldiers. The problems won't go away -- Hell, they haven't gone away with men -- but having this turn into a "now this is no shit" story will help a lot.

And, with no disprespect to Jessica Lynch - it is a *much* better mythos! Lemme put it this way - compared to this group of troops, I'm a FOBbit. A REMF. My father, with a Combat Infantryman's Badge, Silver Star, Distinguished Flying Cross, 7 Purple Hearts... is a *peer* when it comes to the Brotherhood. That is what I mean by a *much* better mythos.

As Bad Cat Robot adds:

The mythos-change isn't just for women. Those men of Raven 42 now know in their hearts and souls the women they serve with are worthy of the uniform they wear in every respect. That those women will fight for and with them just like their male counterparts. Not just defensively -- but taking the fight to the enemy!

That, ladies and gentlemen, was a *fight*. All junior soldiers and leaders. *That* is a quality that other Armies envy. And, if you think there is medal-inflation going on here... read the link to the AAR, above. Silver Stars (or Bronze Stars w/V (for Valor) or Army Commendation Medals w/V) don't come cheap to anyone... and especially junior soldiers. For you normal, non-military types... the Order of Precedence for valor medals is:

1. Medal of Honor
2. Distinguished Service Cross/Navy Cross/Air Force Cross
3. Silver Star/Distinguished Flying Cross
4. Bronze Star (with V device)
5. Meritorious Service Medal (with V - rare)
6. Army Commendation Medal (with V - also rare)

A medal with a V device takes precedence over one without. #1 and #3 are always valor awards. The rest can be awarded for various levels of exceptional performance.

The medal with the red stripe in the middle of the ribbon is the Silver Star.
The medal with the blue stripe in the middle is the Bronze Star
The medal with the green ribbon is the Army Commendation Medal.
The medal with the bust of Washington is the Purple Heart.

The Purple Heart, if you haven't run into that before, is awarded for wounds received in combat.

The jihadi's don't like the Raven symbol.

That is all.


John | Permalink | Comments (25) | Global War on Terror (GWOT) | Observations on things Military | Something for the Soul
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» Winds of Change.NET links with: Iraq Report, 20 June/05
» BLACKFIVE links with: Raven 42 and Sergeant Leigh Ann Hester
» AlphaPatriot links with: First Silver Star Awarded to Woman since WWII