Photo: Wikimedia Commons
With the controversial Distinguished Warfare Medal being mocked, opposed by veterans groups, and now delayed by the defence Secretary, it seems the forces of outrage are strong with this one.Now it’s gotten even stronger with a Medal of honour recipient lashing out at not only its ranking — which places it higher in precedence than the Bronze Star and Purple Heart — but its very existence.
In an interview with the U.S. Naval Institute, Col. Jack Jacobs called it a “telling and sad commentary”:
“The very name of the decoration is ludicrous. ‘Distinguished’ implies a level of admiration that can’t possibly be reached in the prosaic act of piloting a drone,” Jacobs said.
Now commonly referred to as ‘the drone medal,’ the Pentagon created the award last month for military members demonstrating “extraordinary achievement” as drone operators or cyber warriors.
The comments from a military hero such as Jacobs’, who earned the nation’s highest award in Vietnam, are likely to be taken into consideration by Secretary of defence Chuck Hagel, who also saw combat there.
According to his award citation, Jacobs’ was wounded by mortar fire but continued to direct air strikes while “bleeding profusely from head wounds.”
His comments were echoed among many servicemembers who spoke with Business Insider when the medal was first announced.
“When you put it up there with the Bronze Star, you are recognising a person with facing adversity and hardship,” one Airman told Business Insider, speaking on condition of anonymity. “You’re placing them up there with folks like Chris Kyle and Marcus Luttrell (both highly decorated Navy SEALs) and they shouldn’t even be in the same league.”
As we’ve reported in the past, the Department of defence already has a number of lower-ranking awards that recognise noteworthy achievement, such as the Achievement Medals, or Commendation Medal and other medals of merit.
“Although these weapons are used in warfare, that in no way implies that the operators are warriors themselves,” Jacobs told USNI. “They are decidedly not.”
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