Politics Magazine

New Military Medal Overvalued ?

Posted on the 25 February 2013 by Jobsanger
New Military Medal Overvalued ? The medal pictured at left is the newest military medal. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced its formation on February 13th. It is called the Distinguished Warfare Medal (DWM), and is meant to be awarded for "extraordinary achievement" by a soldier in the fields of cyberwarfare or combat drone operations. It is to be awarded for single exemplary acts -- not sustained service.
I don't have a problem with the medal being awarded for those who show excellence in cyberwarfare or combat drone operations. Excellence should be awarded in all areas. However, I do have a problem with where the military ranks the DWM among the medals it hands out. It is ranked above the Bronze Star (even with V designation) and the Purple Heart.
That is just wrong. The Bronze Star (with V) and the Purple Heart are awarded to those who have been in actual combat. These people have put their lives in danger (and some of the recipients have received them posthumously). But the DWM is awarded to soldiers who fight their war from a well-protected bunker, usually far from the actual combat zone.
The wife of one Bronze Star recipient (who died in the action in which he won that award) thinks this devalues the heroism of soldiers in combat. Veronica Ortiz-Rivera said:

"To know that somebody sitting at a computer who never risked their life is going to get something that’s worth more, it almost puts less of a value on what my husband did and what so many other men have done. To take that new medal and give it a higher classification than the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart is disrespectful. Maybe I’m just biased because my husband was killed in combat.

It feels like it almost strips away a little of his heroism, honestly, although he is and always will be a hero to us."
I have to agree with her. No military medal, even one awarded for excellence, should be valued higher than awards given to soldiers who earned them in actual combat, where their lives were on the line. Creating the award was proper, but ranking it higher than the Bronze Star and Purple Heart was an egregious mistake -- and it needs to be corrected.

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