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Regarding the "Distinguished Warfare Award"

North Korean Boy Scouts with Merit Badges.




Regarding awards (still shaking my head over the "Distinguished Warfare Award"

Perhaps it is time to throw the baby out with the bathwater.







Compare and contrast...

A modern US general on the right.  A not so modern one on the left.  Admittedly, Patton was a popinjay...

16 Comments

OK, disclaimer first: lifetime civilian so this comment is based on absolutely no combat experience whatsoever, but I just can't keep my big mouth shut.

Of the people I have known who have first hand experience and have shared their feelings with me the majority seem to think that medal awards seem to be capricious at best and outright bogus at times. Most of the enlisted folk who have said anything say things like an officer is more likely to get a medal than an enlisted person for equal deeds. Some have gone so far as to say an officer can get a Purple Heart for getting a splinter in his behind while an enlisted person can lose a major portion of their anatomy without getting so much as a bandaid (I'm assuming just a bit of hyperbole in that statement.) I figure there is a bit of 'truthiness' in it though.

A friend of mine flew helicopters in Viet Nam (unfortunately he is about the most liberal person I know, but he is still a good guy) He doesn't put much stock in the medals, he seems to care more for what the people he served with feel.

I figure some of the most important achievements in a persons life go unremarked by others but if recognition is going to be awarded it should be merit based and if the lowliest enlisted person does something valorous it should be recognized just as much as if a general does the same thing.
 
We have entirely too many awards.  While it is fun to poke a stick at the Air Force, who are the worst offenders, the Army is not far behind and the Navy and Marine Corps are catching up. Someone clearly doesn't think that its a probem since they keeping dreaming up new ones, but it does look ridiculous and we will soon rival the North Koreans.

My thoughts:

1. Eliminate all of the ribbon only awards.  Anything that doesn't deserve its own medal shouldn't be worn on the uniform. Some might rate a badge, but then you have to watch the out of control badge collecting that is so popular at Ft. Bragg.  That will get rid of the ones for finishing basic training, going to service schools, serving overseas, winning the Lotto, etc. etc.

2. Stop the multiple medals for the same stuff.  The National Defense Service Medal and the Global War on Terror Service Medal are essentially for the same thing, serving during the current conflict.  When linking to the basic training ribbon, you get three for just showing up.

3. Why different medals for the same thing awarded by the services and by DoD? How many Commendation Medals do we really need? The DoD one ought to suffice.  The same goes for Achievement Medals and for Meritorious Service Medals.  The MSM was already a DoD award, but they felt compelled to add a Defense Meritorious Service Medal.  Good Grief.  Keep the Service Crosses and Distinguished Service Medals for historic reasons, but clean up the rest. And while you're at it, what's the difference between a Legion of Merit and a Superior Service Medal?  Nothing, just more bling for senior officers and NCO's. 

4.  Volunteering to coach soccer is great, but a military medal for it?  All of these doozies need a serious pruning.

5.  Recognize service during war and in a war zone.  Recognize valorous acts.  Recognize meritorious service and achievement at various levels. Recognize war wounds.  That outta be about it. Petraeus might lose a few rows, but he will still have plenty, he earned them.
 
Knew a NG Pfc who got a MSM for volunteering to help out the boy scouts on their annual national gathering.
 
I have a BS (no V - I say agian, no V)  that I got for doing my job OK, but not brilliantly. At the time (RVN 1971), the Army was handing them out to any officer who didn't actually eff-up monumentally - it was kind of  a thank you for doing something we now have decided wasn't worth doing. I have always regretted that I didn't have the moral courage to turn it down, but at the time I worried that not having it when everyone else had one would send a misleading signal. Mea culpa.
 
"For being alive in 65," was the response I was given when I questioned the provenance of a particularly colourful ribbon on a USAF pilot's chest.
Like so many things in society that have gotten out of control, the medal caper is just one benchmark and the juxtaposition of Petraeus and Ike really brings it home.
 
 In the civilian world there is a category of awards generically known as "Employee of the Month." That being the archetype for the class.
 

Of course one of my personal favorites is that multiclolored piece of ribben awarded for winning the 3 legged race at last's year's family day back at Fort Listless.

 
as a retired Army LTC (active/reserve), I feel the rows and rows of pretty colored ribbons are foolish. Many, many times I wished I could just wear the "top three" on a single row and only wear a full rack for official photos. If the awards were for valor, than more than three would be OK, but all the rest for school crossing guard, etc. could be "assumed". I think the British used to do this, and maybe still do....those with far more current knowledge please step in here. One "ol-phart's" thoughts anyway.
 
 *Well Done*, John. The contrast between Petraeus and Ike is quite profound. Ike was, in many ways, a simple man who handled extremely complex situations.  Thank you.

Auld Pharts, Yeah!
 
 Let's call this what it is:  the Drone Medal.
 
Active duty Army 1987 - 2012.  5 1/3 rows of ribbons, 3 wide.  4 rows are just "thanks for showing up" awards.  
 
Van,

Nothing says you have to wear them all, except for DA photo.  Dempsey wears top three most days and I often did back when Class B was the uniform of the day and I had to wear my blouse in the classroom (USMA before the green shirt).
 
Life imitates satirical movies once again; I hope it doesn't look like the medal for typing at 0:58

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9CBTYmZfDTI
 
 For all you wannabe military historians, this medal/device horsepuckey is how "peacetime military" works. For reference, look up "controlled OERs".

Ivncenturion, I recall having Air Force Manual 35-10 pounded into my head many times, and nowhere in that manual do I recall the "top three" choice. That must have been a local option, but I don't remember ever being stationed anywhere that option was exercised. Commanders DID have the option to allow "plain-chest" on the office uniform, but not "top three". Plain-chest was the name tag and your career-field device, if your career field had one (in my day, there were only a few). 
 

U.S. Navy Uniform Regulations, para 5312 allows wear of the "top 3 ribbons" (quoted below.)

Other services may or may not have similar language covering their members.

QUOTE
3. Arrangement. Arrange ribbons in order of
precedence in rows from top down, inboard to outboard.
Wear either the three senior ribbons, or all ribbons if you
have earned three or more.
END QUOTE
 

 
Passed by your post and decided to share it on my blog so my followers can see it too. I used the same title, "Argghhh! The Home Of Two Of Jonah's Military Guys.. - Regarding the "Distinguished Warfare Award""