Representatives introduce legislation to lower precedence of "Distinguished Warfare Medal"
A trio of Republican lawmakers moved Tuesday to prevent the Defense Department from establishing the Distinguished Warfare Medal for drone operators as an award that ranks higher than the Bronze Star or Purple Heart.
Reps. Duncan Hunter of California, Timothy Murphy of Pennsylvania and Tom Rooney of Florida, introduced a rare bill that tells the Defense Department how to set the precedence of medals. While introduced as a stand-alone bill, there is a strong chance the legislation will end up as an amendment to the 2014 defense authorization bill, congressional sources said.
I tried pulling up the bill on the Library of Congress website, but they do not have the text of it yet. Oddly, the title of the bill only addresses part of the concern:
To amend title 10, United States Code, to require that the Purple Heart occupy a position of precedence above the new Distinguished Warfare Medal.
We agree (of course) that the Purple Heart should rank higher, but also the Bronze Star, or at least those given for Valor. Representative Duncan Hunter (who authored the bill) seemed to say as much in his quote in the article:
Hunter, an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran, said there is a difference between direct combat and flying a drone from a safe location. “Those engaged in direct combat put their lives on the line, accepting extraordinary personal risk,” Hunter said. “There is nothing wrong with having a military award that recognizes commendable actions off the battlefield, but it’s absolutely necessary to ensure that combat valor awards are not diminished in any way.”
Anyway, National Commander Koutz also gets a shout-out in the piece:
On Tuesday morning, the national commander of the 2.4 million-member American Legion, the nation’s largest veterans groups, urged Legionnaires to include complaints about the medal in conversations with lawmakers.
Keep up the heat on this one. Contact your Members of Congress and let them know that we support creating this medal, but that it's precedence needs to be more in line with non-valor/non-combat medals.