The Distinguished Warfare Medal for Drone Pilots

The Pentagon has come up with a new medal for drone pilots. It is called the Distinguished Warfare Medal. And it looks like a Joint Service Achievement Medal to me:

Distinguished Warfare Medal

Distinguished Warfare Medal

The medal will be considered a bit higher in ranking than the Bronze Star, but is lower than the Silver Star, defense officials said.

18 thoughts on “The Distinguished Warfare Medal for Drone Pilots

  1. So these guys who sit back and operate from the safety of home get a medal? Shouldn’t it have a pizza motif with a slice out of it some where on the medal?

    What about the drone who does the work, does it eventually get retired with full military honours? Does the missile qualify for a military funeral (or what’s left of it)?

    NavyOne please tell me this is a ‘bite’… If so I have taken the bait, hook line and sinker!

    Yours Aye.

  2. Today has been a long one with little shut eye from the night before.

    My last few comments have been sent via my iPad from within my darkened bedroom, using my thumbs as strikers against the keyboard. Technically I could qualify for some kind of Mellow Jihadi Medal as I am exhausted mentally & physically!

    I am prepared to settle for a typed framed citation that I will hang on my freshly decorated toilet wall…

    Yours Aye.
    ( Who is also prepared to take a hit for the good of the Blog).

  3. When I saw your picture, I thought that was what it was, the Joint Services Achievement Meda. Dammit, now I won’t be able to wear my ribbons without having to explain that I earned the darn thing 20 years ago!

    Seriously, though, this has to be one of the worst ideas I’ve heard in years. There are already plenty of awards for non-combat service that goes above and beyond. Why come up with yet another medal, especially now?

  4. EB: A pizza medal or a Mellow Jihadi medal? Great idea! (And sorry, this is real. Amazing, eh?)
    DB: I know. I thought, JSAM. . .

  5. This is unbelievable stuff Navy One…I’m flabbergasted or something equivalent….I extend my sympathies to Ex Bootneck…he seems to be overtired….I’ve wandered in and out of your blog today and find I’m a little confused as to the direction you’ve been going….k

  6. Thought at first it was a hoax but it’s not and it’s precedence sits just below the DFC. It was bad enough when NATO suggested the Courageous Restraint Award but this worse. This is Panetta’s going away slap in the face to our Nations warriors.
    http://www.defense.gov/releases/release.aspx?releaseid=15817
    There are plenty of rewards available for support billets without insulting/degrading front line troops.
    What’s next? Purple Heart for monitor eye strain or the dreaded carpal tunnel syndrome.

  7. Lots of comments from those who clearly know very little about the Remotely Piloted Aircraft programs of the military. All I see is a lot of jealousy.

    • Do you really? Being awarded a medal that supersedes the Bronze Star and ranking below the Silver, for doing your killing from an air conditioned clean room on a video game wall-to-wall monitor, from the Pentagon (or Langley), in a freshly laundered uniform after a morning shower & shave, after a hot breakfast & a Grande Latte followed by a two olive Stoli martini, cheese tray & a hot date with a pretty Congressional aide after a hard days “work,” must be living hell. “In the Rear with the gear,” as it were.

      Those Army & Marine chumps in the field (who do their killing up close & personal, low down & dirty) can take some solace, I suppose, from the fact that this merit badge award won’t be given with a “V” for valor.

      No warrior is “jealous” of an award given for action above & beyond the call but, they will be a tad ticked when Keyboard Kommandos with no skin in the game are elevated to an imagined equal status.

    • Mark

      Arm chair warriors and gamers have no entitlement to real life combat medals. However; what ever they purchase at gamer conventions they are entitled to wear in the comfort and shelter of their own home without ridicule.

      Until you have bled a little and cried a little through time at the ‘pointy’ end of war, where you see the dust lift from a hit to the body that has crumpled in front of you, and caught the smell of the dead and the dying around you; then, and only then, can you say that you know what the reality of war is about.

      Every person who contributes to the war effort plays an equal part, whether they are based in a rear echelon or even supporting the boots on the ground back home. They each in turn will have spent countless hours working with true commitment assisting in greasing the wheels of the machine; they are entitled to recognition for their dedication to duty.

      But, and you know the ‘But’ is coming…

      Flying a remote controlled aircraft from the safety & comfort of a controlled environment, (with heaters in the winter and air conditioning in the summer), whilst you know you will be home with your family at the end of your shift; does not qualify you to a combat medal.

      Jealous, moi? Take one of mine mate, I have several…

      Yours Aye

      An Ex-Bootneck with 23 years on the job service.

  8. Guys, please note that Mark is not mark who comments here regularly. And I certainly agree with all your alls points. Except for Mark. Sure, drone pilots do good work. But not that good. . .

  9. Mark, I was one of the soldiers who created the technology the UAV pilots use when they control their airframes from CONUS. Please don’t play the “you don’t know man, you just don’t know.” card here. Yes, UAV pilots are an exceptional force multiplier and provide outstanding intelligence and strike capability to commanders and national leaders.

    But they are not in combat. Like I said, they provide a great additional tool in leadership’s kit, but unless something goes really wrong, they aren’t in danger of being injured or killed by their targets or anyone else. If they do their jobs well, there are already awards like the AAM, ARCOM, and even the MSM, or their equivalents in other services, that will recognize that. Creating this award, and putting it above a Bronze Star with V and the Purple Heart is insulting to the soldiers that Intelligence is supposed to support.

  10. I’ve never heard of artillerymen getting medals rating above the Bronze Star, despite them doing more work, more neccessary, life saving (well, not for the Talibans) work, and actually being in theater. But then again, it sort of makes sense, as it’s not the contribution as much as the personal sacrifice and courage that is rewarded. Well, at least it was that way until now, when undeserved medals are about to be institionalised.

      • Indeed. To people not very familiar with this, it might be easy to just wave it off by saying “well, no sensible person joins for the medals”, but seeing as how medals affect promotions and such, it really does create a terrible mess.

        Imagine that we one day see two AF officers, both of whom are considered for a promotion, and it goes to the man who flew drones from cozy chair at home, and not to the man who “only” got the Bronze Star for going in on the ground with the grunts as a JTAC in Afghanistan.

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