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Distinguished Warfare

Posted by on March 6, 2013

This just in!  For immediate release from the Obvious Desk over in a dark corner of my National News Center:  Outgoing Pentagon Chief Leon Panetta is making major moves to have himself remembered as Secretary of Defense with the worst track record since former shoe-clerk Robert McNamara and his corporate Whiz Kids substituted systems analysis for military leadership back in the sorry-ass 1960s.

It’s getting so I can’t get a good night’s sleep without worrying about what new bone-headed military personal policy this lame-duck SecDef is going to implement by reveille the next morning.  One night I go to bed happy to hear Uncle Leon is leaving his cabinet post as senior civilian in our military hierarchy. Then I wake up horrified to discover he’s been burning the midnight oil with social engineers in the White House and decided to lift the gay ban throughout the ranks.  While warhorses like me were still shaking that one off, Panetta drops the other boondocker and declares that direct combat billets will now be open to females. I launched a blog-rocket about that one recently wondering why the hell America would need—or want—to do that and evincing some hope that there are still enough brains remaining under the current crop of brass-hats to avoid gender-norming the qualifications for direct combat outfits.

In the meantime, our military leaders seem to be joining hands and dancing merrily around the PC flagpole so the jury is still out and the troops are still being used as lab rats in ongoing social experiments.  And you thought our hard-earned tax dollars went to maintain a military designed to kill people and break things? Shows what you know.

Now comes a bulletin indicating Panetta has approved a high-ranking medal for drone pilots and other uniformed techno-geeks that have never set foot in a combat zone, never smelled cordite or gagged over freshly-spilled blood much less even seen an enemy combatant except on a computer screen. Combat veterans worldwide are clasping their dog tags and heading for the fainting couch over establishment of a new variety of military fruit salad called the Distinguished Warfare Medal.  This is just wrong…in so many ways.

Take the title of the new bauble for starters.  Makes it seem like this is a gong given for taking part in a Distinguished War.  As opposed to what:  An Undistinguished War like World War II, Korea or Vietnam?  But that’s a quibble compared to what Panetta and his PC cronies have announced concerning the precedence of the new medal for absentee participants in ultra-long distance battles that pose no more threat to them than a chronic case of carpel-tunnel syndrome.

According to Panetta’s tub-thumpers—as interpreted by uniformed spokesmen speaking through clenched jaws—the new medal will rank just below the Distinguished Flying Cross in order of precedence which means it will out-rank the Bronze Star with Combat V for Valor in direct combat and the Purple Heart given for wounds received on a genuine battlefield.  Let me say this as clearly as possible:  As a guy who wears the Bronze Star with V and three Purple Hearts, this totally pisses me off.  Had I known then what I know now, I’d have been way the hell out of Danang and over there at Creech slinging those drones at the guys who were trying to kill me and had an even chance to do so.

The Pentagon people I spoke with concerning this latest Panetta travesty were a little unclear on the concept but they did say publically that the primary beneficiaries of the new medal would be aircrews who did something really neat and heroic from places like Creech Air Force Base, located about 45 miles from Las Vegas, while piloting a drone flying at altitude over Afghanistan, located about 7,000 miles from Creech Air Force Base. Other potential decorated heroes of the non-fight would be “offensive cyber-war experts” whatever the hell those are.

Unofficially, those same Pentagon contacts told me some of the pressure for a new medal of such questionable necessity came from factions in the military—particularly the U.S. Air Force—who thought they were going unrecognized for their long-distance, safe, sterile and sanitary eight hour shifts staring at computer screens and  keeping those all-important drones flying over battlefields being steadily deserted under orders from an administration that promised to bring the boys—and girls—home regardless of strategic consequences.  They also held their collective noses and referred me to the SecDef’s comments in announcing the Distinguished Warfare Award.

“This award recognizes the reality of the kind of technological warfare that we’re engaged in the 21st century,” Panetta said of his reasons for the new medal.  In what seemed like an after-thought—or an attempt to duck the fire he knew would be aimed at him by decorated real combat veterans—Panetta added “Our military reserves its highest decorations, obviously, for those who display gallantry and valor in actions where their lives are on the line, and we will continue to do so.”  Yeah, right…and tell that to the people wearing Medals of Honor, Navy Crosses, Distinguished Service Crosses and Silver Stars for heroic actions above and beyond the computer screen.  What about the Army, Navy and Air Force Commendation Medals or Achievement Medals already in existence that can be awarded with a Combat V?  Why gin up some super-gong for the Cyber Corps that makes them look like decorated combat vets that risked it all in close-range fights and ran a more than even chance of winding up dead in the effort?

Seems to me our outgoing chief Pentagon bureaucrat is recognizing a few at the risk of insulting the hell out of whole bunch of genuine heroes. Panetta did two years in the Army back in the 1960s (remember McNamara?) and was assigned to Military Intelligence.  Perhaps the old cliché about the apparent oxymoron might apply here.  I guess we’ll have to wait to see what Chuck Hagel brings to the table.  At least he was a 9th Infantry Division grunt in Vietnam. If he’s got an ounce of Mekong Delta mud left in his craw, the first thing he’ll do is tell the PC-Nazi’s and social scientists to go piss up a picket rope.

5 Responses to Distinguished Warfare

  1. USMC 2171

    Capt Dye,

    Everyone knows that the PC sucking crowd in DC wants a feel good story that promotes tolerance of all leftist leaning policies, as long as it can be intolerant of anyone or thing counter to their point of view. The SecDef is no different.

    You can see this frustration flowing over from the seasoned General Warriors suffering from either foot in mouth (General McChrystal), or being confused with to apply the colloquialism shared in military branches of “when in doubt, whip it out” (Fmr CIA Director Petraeus and Gen Allen). Some are able to do great things with the power they are given, others succumb to the fate of Icarus.

    In a climate where people will do or say anything to hold onto the tattered strings of power whilst trying to please all, ultimately many fail to please any and are forced to “duck and cover” to save any shred of dignity left after they’ve sold their souls to the political machine.

    The difficulty for our military leaders is that they are no longer there to lead troops to war, but they have to pander to the feel good crowds. These leaders have to make sure they don’t slip up and forget that they are now forced to embrace CNN, the NYTimes etc in and amongst their rank and file; all the while undertaking a job that ensures the freedoms and safety of Americans. Americans who after a very short season of fascination and support, quickly change to disgust at the atrocities (Price) of that said freedom and safety.

    Your frustrations are well noted and shared equally!

  2. Randy

    Capt Dye,

    As a military medal collector and historian I also find the order of precedence of the so called Distinguished Warfare Medal quite insulting. It really should be placed a level below the army air medal.

    I have a good freind who also served in the USMC in Vietnam. He was awarded Bronze Star with V and Purple heart for actions at KheSanh. I can tell you he paid a heavy price. There is absolutley no way the actions for a Distinguished Warfare Medal could even compare to his sacrifice. This is clearly a complete and total insult to all combat veterans.

    Despite the stupidity in Washington, it is likely very few people will recognize decorations for the Distinguished Warfare Medal or even know what it represents. Please be advised we will not forget your sacrifice or the sacrifice of other combat servicemen who truly paid the price.


  3. Seabee56

    This social engineering bunch who are the civilian leadership are going out of their way to outrage everyone except the enemy. The Army’s new regulations that are hostile to Christians, Pandering to Gays repeal of Don’t ask- don’t tell, Drone medals, Targeting the military in Sequestration, chastising the brass over sexual harassment and finally sticking women in direct combat roles show a blatant disregard for the effectiveness and wellbeing of the men and women in our military today. These decisions will have long standing negative effects on our service branches and our society as a whole. The sexual harassment issues will alone escalate because of the women/combat decision. Men and women already are around each other too much in our military as it is……which leads to these issues fraternization, adultery, pregnancies, rapes and finally harassment…..Isn’t there anyone in Congress and DoD that has any common sense?

  4. Steve Combes

    While serving with Captain Dye in Beirut, we were welcomed ashore by a car bomb exploding near our beach landing position. The only casualty was suffered by one of the skippers combat photographers. A piece of shrapnel nicked his hand and drew blood. He happily asked Captain Dye when he would receive his Purple Heart. Captain Dye informed him, in his usual sardonic manner, that “shrapnel does not count” and that there would be no forthcoming Purple Heart. According to the skipper, every one who served in the bush in Vietnam inevitably would bring home some shrapnel in various parts of their body, so the Purple Heart was saved for those who truly earned it. That way, it meant something. This is not the little league where everyone gets a trophy for participating.

  5. Jesse Brown

    Steve Combes,

    “This is not the little league where everyone gets a trophy for participating.” Tell that to John Kerry for his bandaid purple hearts and his Silver Star for shooting an unarmed fleeing VC in the back.

    Jesse Brown
    1st Bn/ 1st Marines 69-70

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