Friday, October 03, 2003

Perfect Attendence Medals for Operation Iraqi "Freedom"

Many of us who support the military and have friends and family in uniform watched in stunned disbelief after the Grenada operation as hundreds of medals were passed out for knocking off a Cuban construction battalion. "Medal inflation" continues; our generals now look like Soviet marshals bedecked with tin, and even recruits have a bigger ribbon bar than my dad who served in Korea with the Marines and then 29 years as a full time Air National Guardsman. And, in Iraq, the medal firehose is ON! Retired Colonel David Hackworth, who has actually been shot at, opines:

Recently in Iraq, an Army two-star general put himself in for the Silver Star, a gallantry award, for just being there, and for the Combat Infantryman Badge, an award designed for infantry grunts far below the rank of this division commander.

During the war, members of an Air Force bomber crew were all awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross for lobbing a smart bomb from 30,000 feet onto a house where Saddam was rumored to be breaking bread – even though Saddam’s still out there somewhere sucking desert air. In 1944, the only way a bomber crew might have gotten the DFC would have been if it had wobbled back from Berlin on one wing and a prayer after a dozen-plus missions of wall-to-wall flak.

Here’s another “Believe It or Not”: When the Scuds were thumping down on Kuwait, a Navy two-star admiral and six of his flunkies were awarded the Bronze Star after a missile struck 10 miles away.

Business as usual. I recently saw an Air Force band perform whose members had enough ribbons between them to sink a battleship. But, as Hack points out, at least one branch of the service has refused to cave into this "let's give everyone the Iron Cross Second Class!" mentality:

But as of Sept. 22, 2003, the U.S. Marine Corps has approved only 56 Meritorious Bronze Stars – 46 to officers, 10 to enlisted – and 15 Bronze Stars for valor – 11 to officers and four to enlisted – for their 70,000 fighters who kicked more than a little butt during the war in Iraq.

Kudos to our gallant Marine Corps for not following the quota system and to its top brass for refusing to play the Pentagon’s public-relations medal-giveaway game.

Indeed. A medal in the Marine Corps means something. A medal in the other services is not unlike a Cracker Jack prize.


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