Pentagon to Military Order of the Purple Heart: Drop Dead
The Distinguished Warfare Medal, the controversial medal designed for drone pilots, cyber warriors and other rear-echelon troops who accomplish notable achievements will retain its place in the order of precedence, according to a Pentagon release.
The Secretary of Defense announced that the new medal would be ranked higher than the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart – a move that sparked outrage from a number of troops and from the Military Order of the Purple Heart – a prominent advocacy association representing servicemembers who have received the award. The MOPH released a statement last week stating that they were adamantly opposed to the decision, which they found was “insulting and degrading” to their members – all of whom have shed blood in combat for the country as members of the Armed Forces of the United States.
The decision also met with a groundswell of opposition from the Veterans of Foreign Wars, as well as criticism from within the ranks, judging by the reactions of servicemembers to the story on military news Websites reporting on the new medal.
To be eligible to receive the award, a service member has to have direct, hands-on employment, such as an unmanned aerial vehicle operator dropping a bomb or a cyber specialist detecting and fending off a computer network attack, according to the Pentagon. The award is for specific actions affecting combat operations, and may not be used as an end-of-tour award.