Feb 15, 2004

Now how the hell did THAT happen? 

Well chalk up one for MSNBC. They finally managed to string together a collection of thoughts that isn't completely asinine. Well, at least the author of the piece,Michael Moran did. MSNBC probably ran it because they don't get it.

“You look at the Air Force and the number of medals it’s giving out, and then you look at the Marines, who still apply reasonable standards,” grumbles Hackworth. You can’t tell me that these Air Force guys have seen more blood and fire than the Marines who fought their way all the way to Baghdad.”

"Thank God for the Marines," says a retired Navy officer. "They haven't changed their uniforms or their world view in 50 years. Why should they change the way they hand out medals?"
The debate over the awarding of medals and honors has raged for decades. Some of it is interservice BS, but a lot of it is valid. How do two guys get awarded the same medal when one pulled his wounded buddies out of a burning tank, and all the other one did was sign the documents that sent the tank there in the first place? I don't know, but stuff like that happens all the time. I personally have seen a guy get a Navy Commendation Medal for planning the Marine Corps Birthday Ball, while two other guys were denied a Navy-Marine Corps Medal for saving a little girl from being run over in traffic.*

In everyone's defense, none of those guys sought or cared for the awards, they were just doing what Marines do. But, it proves the point that acts of officework witnessed by many seem to carry more weight than acts of heroism witnessed by few. And REMF's who know what they're doing can get themselves a stack of awards, while trigger-pullers out doing their jobs get zip.

Personally, I don't want any awards for anything I do. Buy me a fifth of Johnny Walker Black after it's all said and done, and we'll call it even. Among the reasons that I hate Osama (and this one is low on the list, but still ON the list) is he screwed up my uniform. That's right - before him, all I had to put on was my shooting badges. Now I have to waste time with the damn National Defense ribbon they gave to everybody after September 11. I can NEVER get the thing on there right on the first try. And then if it's a big event, I have to wear the MEDAL, and the backing for it is even harder to make work right, especially when trying to get it through the thick fabric of my dress blues. Those are minutes I'll never get back!

All kidding aside though, this is a sore point with many and probably always will be. Like I've showed, even the Corps screws this up (much less so than others, but still...) and somewhere right now, somebody who knows the system is generating the paperwork to get himself a Bronze Star, while somebody much more deserving who couldn't give a crap about it, goes unrecognized. It's just a shame, that's all.

found at Better Living Through Blogging

* = The Navy Commendation Medal (now the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal) can be awarded for acts of heroism, meritorious achievement, or meritorious service. The above case would fall under Meritorious Achievement, where "The achievement should be such as to constitute a definite contribution to the naval service, such as an invention or improvement in design, procedure or organization." Planning a Ball? Hmmm..........

The Navy and Marine Corps Medal "may be awarded to service members who, while serving in any capacity with the Navy or Marine Corps, distinguish themselves by heroism not involving actual conflict with an enemy. For acts of lifesaving, or attempted lifesaving, it is required that the action be performed at the risk of one's own life." Of the two Marines who saved that little girl, at the very least the one who actually dove and snatched her out of the path of an oncoming vehicle met the criteria.

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