New Drone Medal's Rank 'Degrading', Say Veterans
Award for remote control operators outranks combat medals like Bronze Star
By Rob Quinn, Newser Staff
Posted Feb 19, 2013 1:10 AM CST
The Distinguished Warfare medal is the first new force-wide medal for combat achievement since the Bronze Star in 1944.   (Department of Defense)

(Newser) – The Pentagon's new medal for drone operators has sparked a backlash from veterans whose medals were earned on the battlefield but are ranked lower than the Distinguished Warfare Medal, the Military Times reports. The new medal is higher in the military's "order of precedence" than the Bronze Star, awarded for heroic conduct on the battlefield, and the Purple Heart, for troops injured in battle. "To rank what is basically an award for meritorious service higher than any award for heroism is degrading and insulting to every American combat soldier, airman, sailor, or Marine who risks his or her life and endures the daily rigors of combat in a hostile environment," the Military Order of the Purple Heart said in a statement.

Other veterans' groups have also criticized the new medal's rank and a petition urging the White House to demote it has been signed by nearly 6,000 people. "Under no circumstance should a medal that is designed to honor a pilot, that is controlling a drone via remote control, thousands of miles away from the theater of operation, rank above a medal that involves a soldier being in the line of fire on the ground," the petition states. "This is an injustice to those who have served and risked their lives." Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says the medal "recognizes the reality of the kind of technological warfare we are engaged in the 21st century."

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Feb 20, 2013 8:15 PM CST
It is sad that our military would make such a joke of such honors past. I will laugh out loud at the first one I see on someone for they deserve no more honor than that. I would be embarresed to wear it unless Im a gamer.
Feb 19, 2013 9:20 PM CST
This is a slap in the face once again to the Men and Women actual combat soldiers that once again go to the back of the line. Most teenagers today with a Playststion could pilot a drone with little practice from the comfort of a climate controlled location within walking distance to the house. How about the military just unionize as our current administration is so found of and go on strike. Maybe they would respect that. As a veteran myself I hope the future inductees think twice as they might get more respect asking if you would like to supersize that meal and not be targeted by unknown enemies and get injured or killed for leadership that only cares when a camera is handy.
Feb 19, 2013 12:09 PM CST
TRUTH BE TOLD ..... From the minds of Obama and his Team of morons, idiots, and imbeciles .. comes the idea of giving "Military Medals To Drone Pilots, Who Fly Pilot-less Drones" --- Next we'll see Obama give a "Medal For Welfare Mommas" for not working? Reminds me of the headline, "Headless Body Found In Topless Bar" .. or Hillary Clinton to be awarded a "Medal For Being In A Comma, The Night Ambassador Stevens Was Assassinated" and had her finger up her ass, and she didn't remember anything .. but her finger and her ass. --- Somebody said, during her testimony before Congress she kept smelling her finger, and threateningly pointed her finger at them .. like she would stick that finger in their face, if they asked the wrong questions? -------------- REALLY?