Question for Pentagon: Why Is Drone Operator Medal Ranked Higher than Purple Heart?
Over the last week, I have heard concerns from a number of veterans about the recent decision by the Department of Defense to rank the new Distinguished Warfare Medal, awarded to operators of unmanned aerial vehicles, above traditional combat valor medals, like the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart, in the military’s order of precedence.
Today, I sent a letter to the Department of Defense urging them reconsider this decision in consultation with veterans organizations. You can read the full letter here.
As an Army veteran and Member of the House Committee on Intelligence, I fully appreciate the contributions of our military men and women away from the battlefield. I support the creation of a medal to honor members of the military whose extraordinary achievements directly impacted combat operations. However, I firmly believe there is no greater sacrifice than risking your own life to save another on the battlefield, and that the order of precedence should appropriately reflect the reverence we hold for those willing to make that sacrifice.
Our veterans who put their lives on the line in the battlefield should not be made to believe that their sacrifices are not are not sufficiently valued by our nation’s military or its government. I strongly urge the Department to reconsider its decision to honor the achievements required to receive the Distinguished Warfare Medal above those required to receive combat valor medals like the Bronze Star or Purple Heart.
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Congressman Tom Rooney