Pentagon announces review of all military medals

1/30/2014

With the increasingly prevalent use of drones and unmanned vehicles in operations around the globe, some top officials are rethinking how soldiers are rewarded for their service.

Despite backlash in 2013 after announcing a medal specific to drone pilots and soldiers whose deeds are performed from remote locations, Stars and Stripes reported that Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered a full review of all medals awarded for valor and courage on the battlefield. That specific award was scrapped, but some critics think that this review might open the door for more like it.

It's no question that drone missions have been crucial in the United States' operations abroad. The New York Times explained how the 2011 raid of Osama bin Laden's Abbottabad compound could not have been accomplished without the reconnaissance of an RQ-170 drone. The question at hand is whether to give the commendation to the robot or to the soldier who piloted it hundreds of miles away.

"We are all for proper recognition," Joe Davis of the Washington VFW told Stars and Stripes. "And we believe in protecting the rank order of those medals that can only be earned in a combat zone, and keeping them at their higher precedence."

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