A new medal is stirring up quite the controversy in the military community. Defense leaders created the new Distinguished Warfare Medal to recognize the evolving face of warfare. The Distinguished Warfare Medal recognizes the extraordinary achievement of military who aren’t physically on the battlefield but who have a direct effect on the success of combat. An example is a Drone Operator who could be on a different continent, far from the battlefield.
“The Distinguished warfare medal is something that was created to recognize kind of a new type of combat. These are troops who aren’t necessarily on the battlefield. In fact in many cases they are not even on the same continent as the battlefield. But they are still directly involved with that combat nonetheless,” said Staff Sgt. Matt Jones with the PA National Guard. “It’s meant to be awarded to someone who has done something absolutely exceptional. This isn’t an award that is just going to be given away by any means just like a bronze star isn’t an Army Accommodation Medal or any other medal for that matter. They are not given away. They are meant for things that are truly exceptional.”
The Distinguished Warfare Medal will sit above the Bronze Star and Purple Heart and below the Distinguished Flying Cross.
“It’s great to receive a medal for what the troops behind the line are doing,” said John B. Getz Jr. Adjutant Quartermaster with the PA VFW. “These people can’t be killed in combat, so how can they place that above a Purple Heart or a Bronze Star of Valor.”
The Purple heart is awarded to military hurt or killed in combat, the Bronze Star of Valor Medal is also combat-related. Thousands have signed petitions against the placement of the medal and groups like the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) and the Military Officers of America Association (MOAA) have lodged complaints. MOAA statement
But this isn’t the first medal of merit placed above one for combat. “An award of merit being awarded above an award of valor, that certainly rubs people the wrong way. The reality is there are already awards of merit that outrank awards of valor. A Bronze Star itself can be awarded for merit or valor so it doesn’t have to be awarded for combat. And that would rank above an Army Accommodation for Valor,” said Sgt. Matt Jones. “A Legion of Merit, which is another meritoriously one so that wouldn’t be for combat but would be very distinguished nonetheless.”
Sgt. Matt Jones says the medal hasn’t been awarded yet and they haven’t received any recommendations yet either, but we could see the first one within the next two to four months.