Monday, March 11, 2013

U.S. Lawmakers Want "Drone Medal" Below Purple Heart


WASHINGTON, D.C. -- Many lawmakers in Congress, including Congressman Bill Posey (R-Florida), want the Distinguished Warfare Medal (also known as the "Drone Medal") to rank below that of the Purple Heart.


U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panneta proposed that the medal rank above both the Bronze Star and a Purple Heart but just below the Distinguished Flying Cross in a letter dated February 13: 


...The DWM award criteria intentionally does not include a geographic limitation on award...the member's actions must have resulted in an accomplishment so exceptional and outstanding as to clearly set the individual apart from other comrades or from other individuals in similar situations...



The Distinguished Warfare Medal has come under criticism from many veterans' organizations because drone operators located in a safe location would be awarded a combat medal.  The Veterans of Foreign Wars has sent out the following call to action of its members:


The VFW needs you to immediately contact your members of Congress to urge their support of H.R. 833 and S. 470 to lower the ranking of the new Distinguished Warfare Medal to below the Purple Heart.

Here's why:

Because in a letter to VFW National Commander John Hamilton, the Defense Department again said they would not lower the status of the medal, which now ranks 9th highest out of five dozen current medals and ribbons in the order of precedence – and you don't have to go to war to earn it.

As of this morning, H.R. 833 had only 41 sponsors out of 435 members of the House, and S. 470 had only 10 sponsors out of 100 members of the Senate. We need more.

This VFW-supported legislation has bipartisan support because it is the right thing to do for the troops who go into harm's way and not home every night. This is a policy disagreement over the placement of the new medal, not whether drone operators, cyber warriors and others don't deserve to be properly recognized for the tremendous impact they are bringing to the battlefield in real-time. The VFW just adamantly believes that medals that can only be earned in combat must rank higher than new medals awarded in the rear.



Below is the list of Senate Bill 470 Co-Sponsors who want the medal ranked below the Purple Heart, according to the Library of Congress THOMAS information:

Sen Baucus, Max [MT]
Sen Begich, Mark [AK]
Sen Boozman, John [AR]
Sen Burr, Richard [NC]
Sen Heitkamp, Heidi [ND]
Sen Heller, Dean [NV]
Sen Landrieu, Mary L. [LA]
Sen Leahy, Patrick J. [VT]
Sen Manchin, Joe, III [WV]
Sen Murphy, Christopher S. [CT]


Below is the list of H.R. 833 Co-Sponsors who want the medal ranked below the Purple Heart according to the Library of Congress THOMAS information:

Rep Bachmann, Michele [MN-6]
Rep Bridenstine, Jim [OK-1]
Rep Calvert, Ken [CA-42]
Rep Coffman, Mike [CO-6]
Rep Cole, Tom [OK-4]
Rep Connolly, Gerald E. [VA-11]
Rep Cook, Paul [CA-8]
Rep Crawford, Eric A. "Rick" [AR-1]
Rep Fleming, John [LA-4]
Rep Franks, Trent [AZ-8]
Rep Gibson, Christopher P. [NY-19]
Rep Green, Gene [TX-29]
Rep Grimm, Michael G. [NY-11]
Rep Heck, Joseph J. [NV-3]
Rep Kinzinger, Adam [IL-16]
Rep Lamborn, Doug [CO-5]
Rep Latta, Robert E. [OH-5]
Rep Massie, Thomas [KY-4]
Rep Matheson, Jim [UT-4]
Rep McKinley, David B. [WV-1]
Rep Murphy, Tim [PA-18]
Rep Nugent, Richard B. [FL-11]
Rep Nunnelee, Alan [MS-1]
Rep Palazzo, Steven M. [MS-4]
Rep Paulsen, Erik [MN-3]
Rep Pingree, Chellie [ME-1]
Rep Pittenger, Robert [NC-9]
Rep Reed, Tom [NY-23]
Rep Rigell, E. Scott [VA-2]
Rep Roby, Martha [AL-2]
Rep Rooney, Thomas J. [FL-17]
Rep Runyan, Jon [NJ-3]
Rep Simpson, Michael K. [ID-2]
Rep Sinema, Kyrsten [AZ-9]
Rep Stivers, Steve [OH-15]
Rep Thompson, Mike [CA-5]
Rep Turner, Michael R. [OH-10]
Rep Westmoreland, Lynn A. [GA-3]
Rep Wittman, Robert J. [VA-1]
Rep Yoho, Ted S. [FL-3]
Rep Young, C. W. Bill [FL-13]