The VFW is speaking up about the Pentagon’s new drone warfare medal, and America’s largest combat veterans group is less than thrilled.
The new Distinguished Warfare Medal was announced on Wednesday and veterans are already voicing their frustration. Why? Because the medal would rank higher than the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
Those medals are given to service members killed or wounded in battle. The new drone warfare medal would rank just below the Distinguished Flying Cross, notes Fox News.
VFW spokesman Joe Davis stated of the medal:
“It’s a boneheaded decision. This is going to affect morale and it’s sending troops in the field a horrible message.”
More than 800 people responded on the VFW’s Facebook page by Thursday afternoon. The majority of those who responded suggested that the new medal’s high ranking would serve to hurt the already-bruised US military morale.
Yahoo! News reports that the new medal is the first combat-related award to be created since the Bronze Star in 1944. Some opponents of the new Distinguished Warfare Medal called it a “Geek Cross.”
They also speculated that the Pentagon would soon award Purple Hearts to video-gamers for their animated wounds. But the Pentagon defended the medal’s ranking, saying:
“Those furthest from the fight/risk are not eligible for a higher award than those engaging the enemy and risking their lives each day. There are several existing medals that may be awarded to members who incur risk associated with valorous acts.”
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta claimed that the medal serves to recognize how drone operators and cyber warfare have become an integral part of combat and how wars are fought.
John Hamilton, the VFW’s commander-in-chief, acknowledged that “those far from the fight are having an immediate impact on the battlefield in real-time.” He added, however, that “medals that can only be earned in direct combat must mean more than medals awarded in the rear.”
Do you agree with the VFW’s comments about the new drone warfare medal?