GOLDEN TRIANGLE, Miss. (WCBI)-The Pentagon has come under fire after they announced last month a new medal for soldiers operating drones and launching cyber attacks. We talk to some Veterans who saw front line duty about where they stand on the issue.
The Bronze Star and the Purple Heart recognize for bravery and service to our country at the very front lines of war.
Now, The Pentagon wants to recognize a new group of soldiers. The new Distinguished Warfare Medal would be presented to soldiers operating drones. This medal would rank as high as the Silver Star; which is the third-highest award for bravery in combat given by the United States military.
Donald Francisco, a Vietnam veteran who received three Bronze Stars for his 23 years of service in Army Artillery, is not happy with the new medal.
“I think it’s…crap myself because people when they stay in the military and do a job in a place where they are not in harms way, how can they say that they can give them something more than a Bronze Star for sacrificing a year in a combat zone?,” says Donald Francisco.
Francisco believes there is already an award created that would better suit the soldiers operating drones.
“When you do a good job in the Army they give you what they call an Army Accommodation Medal and I think for them doing a good job is what they deserve,” says Francisco.
In 2005 Danny Browning was deployed to Iraq for a year with the the 2nd 114th strike Unit where he saw daily usage of drones.
“We used UAV’s many times to re-con order a situation or a commerce amorists they weren’t new to the battle they’re very valuable tools, but it’s not the same thing as some guy sitting back in a sitcom operating those things from the United States and bombing the stew out of somebody somewhere else. The Marines that actually operated those things were pretty close,” says Danny Browning.
As technology advances Browning believes the Pentagon feels a need to create a medal to go along with modern technology.
“I’ve never understood the Pentagon’s need to create another medal. They haven’t had one since 1944. And why they want to come up with one now that this latest technology at I don’t understand that,” says Browning.
Browning, a Bronze Star recipient himself, wants the soldiers operating drones to be rewarded for their hard work, but believes the status of the medal is overestimated.
“I think a Meritor Service Medal would be good, but not something that places the medal above the Bronze Star for valor or the Silver Start or anywhere in between those two. It shouldn’t be done,” says Browning.
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered a review of the award and expects to make a decision about the medal’s fate after assessing the findings.