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(Marine Corps Times)   In a move that will in no way annoy combat veterans, the DOD has announced a new medal for drone pilots, and it ranks above the Bronze Star with V device. Because having to sip warm Mountain Dew 10000 miles from the front lines deserves a medal too   (marinecorpstimes.com) divider line 199
    More: Asinine, Bronze Star, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, Distinguished Flying Cross, combat operations, unmanned aircraft, Doug Sterner  
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4791 clicks; posted to Main » on 14 Feb 2013 at 3:44 AM (1 year ago)   |  Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2013-02-14 04:33:34 AM
All these kids are getting the Bronze Star as we speak.

www.pearlanddean.com
 
2013-02-14 04:33:37 AM
 
2013-02-14 04:33:58 AM
Farkers get a bronze star + V?  Wow.  I'd support this if they were wired to batteries that delivered a lethal voltage if they lost the drone in combat.  But.... probably not so much

//Bronze Star OEF 2010-2011
//CAB, OEF 2010-2011
// Actually shot at by the taliban
 
2013-02-14 04:34:55 AM

Summoner101: More and more though it's becoming it's own career path while trying to justify keeping the perks of regular aircrew members while not facing the drawbacks of being one.


And it would really be terrible if less people were injured/killed/psychologically-affected. I mean, what's the point of war if we aren't keeping up on our share of the death and destruction?
 
2013-02-14 04:36:56 AM

kyrg: Teknowaffle: namatad: OMG
seriously
bronze stars require you to be in a combat zone

WTF

One of my friends was a drone pilot and lived on a forward operating base in Afghanistan. I always thought the army had all their drone pilots on the front lines. And that CIA and Air Force operated from the States.

Most likely Your friend flew a "Raven" if he was on a FOB, A hand thrown video camera with wings. A Predator, on the other hand can be flown from Tampa , Nellis or any number of other bases. It has the ability to shoot back.


Still has to be boots on ground to land the thing.
 
2013-02-14 04:37:45 AM
This is just all kinds of stupid. I don't think any military personnel should qualify for any kind of medal if he/she wasn't in any kind of danger from the enemy whatsoever. And flying a drone 10 000 KM away from the actual action doesn't qualify.
 
2013-02-14 04:41:31 AM
Summoner101:

Now, with UAV personnel, you have people that get most of the advantages without really facing any of the negatives.

This was exactly the point I was trying to make.
 
2013-02-14 04:41:46 AM
Enough freaking medals. Just do your job like the rest of us. This ridiculous pageantry is part of our constant obsession with and hero-worship of the military that makes it impossible to have a reasonable conversation about our role in the world and the fact that we account for half of the world's defense spending, while totally broke. "Defense" indeed.
 
2013-02-14 04:46:53 AM

profplump: Summoner101: More and more though it's becoming it's own career path while trying to justify keeping the perks of regular aircrew members while not facing the drawbacks of being one.

And it would really be terrible if less people were injured/killed/psychologically-affected. I mean, what's the point of war if we aren't keeping up on our share of the death and destruction?


Do those that don't put their lives on the line deserve the same advantages as those that do?  Does a guy sitting in a cargo container flying a remote controlled airplane deserve the same accolades as the crews flying in a combat zone daily or the soldier going outside the wire?

Drones have their place in modern warfare and yes they do mitigate American casualties while accomplishing American objectives.  There is an argument, however, that not facing the high costs of a manned flight makes us too willing to blow stuff up.
 
2013-02-14 04:47:33 AM

Axel_Gear: Summoner101:

Now, with UAV personnel, you have people that get most of the advantages without really facing any of the negatives.

This was exactly the point I was trying to make.


Which is why I was agreeing with you.
 
2013-02-14 04:47:44 AM
Medals = Promotion points. They're just a way for people to get their buddies and juniors they like promoted faster.
Be a normal E4 and go out on 14 hour missions for 6 days a week for the year, get the standard ARCOM at the end of the deployment
Be an attractive female E4 and sit at a computer in the TOC all year, get 3 ARCOMS and a Bronze Star.

Now who gets promoted first on the E5 list? Who is actually tasked with leading other soldiers and training them? The guy who went on missions or the TOC Roach who flirted with with CO/1SG all year? Yeah. Fark medals.
 
2013-02-14 04:55:22 AM
Did Ender get a medal?
 
2013-02-14 04:58:13 AM

Summoner101: Axel_Gear: Summoner101:

Now, with UAV personnel, you have people that get most of the advantages without really facing any of the negatives.

This was exactly the point I was trying to make.

Which is why I was agreeing with you.


Oh... Well... Screw you too then.

/sarcasm
 
2013-02-14 05:00:24 AM
Can you exchange them for Xbox bucks or Playstation dollars?
 
2013-02-14 05:06:27 AM

Summoner101: Do those that don't put their lives on the line deserve the same advantages as those that do?  Does a guy sitting in a cargo container flying a remote controlled airplane deserve the same accolades as the crews flying in a combat zone daily or the soldier going outside the wire?

Drones have their place in modern warfare and yes they do mitigate American casualties while accomplishing American objectives.  There is an argument, however, that not facing the high costs of a manned flight makes us too willing to blow stuff up.


Your first question presupposes that flying in a combat zone is necessarily more nobel or honorable than other missions. For any given mission that could be true, but assuming it is true for all missions seems a stretch. Is there some automatic criteria for this new medal that makes it more likely to be awarded to undeserving servicemen?

As for the cost of war, I agree there's social value in having war be expensive. But literally the entire history of military technology is related to making war more costly for the enemy than it is for ourselves; if the use of drones is not as honorable as the use of traditional planes, why is the use of guns as honorable as the use of spears?
 
2013-02-14 05:07:08 AM
It's not like playing video games, 17% of all drone pilots suffer from clinical depression related to their job and 30% are burned out.. http://www.npr.org/2011/12/19/143926857/report-high-levels-of-burnout - in-u-s-drone-pilots
 
2013-02-14 05:07:22 AM
*sniff*
The generation that got medals for participating on sports day has grown up.

/dusty
 
2013-02-14 05:15:56 AM

Resident Muslim: The generation that got medals for participating on sports day has grown up.


The generation that got medals for participating on sports day got those medals from their parents.
 
2013-02-14 05:17:54 AM
Do you get more benefits or money for the medals you receive?
 If not, then it seems like nothing more than a pat on the head.
 
2013-02-14 05:19:22 AM

letthepossumlive: Do you get more benefits or money for the medals you receive?
 If not, then it seems like nothing more than a pat on the head.


You get promoted much faster based on the medals you receive. Which in turn becomes more money.
 
2013-02-14 05:20:41 AM

profplump: Summoner101: Do those that don't put their lives on the line deserve the same advantages as those that do?  Does a guy sitting in a cargo container flying a remote controlled airplane deserve the same accolades as the crews flying in a combat zone daily or the soldier going outside the wire?

Drones have their place in modern warfare and yes they do mitigate American casualties while accomplishing American objectives.  There is an argument, however, that not facing the high costs of a manned flight makes us too willing to blow stuff up.

Your first question presupposes that flying in a combat zone is necessarily more nobel or honorable than other missions. For any given mission that could be true, but assuming it is true for all missions seems a stretch. Is there some automatic criteria for this new medal that makes it more likely to be awarded to undeserving servicemen?

As for the cost of war, I agree there's social value in having war be expensive. But literally the entire history of military technology is related to making war more costly for the enemy than it is for ourselves; if the use of drones is not as honorable as the use of traditional planes, why is the use of guns as honorable as the use of spears?


Medals are meant to separate those that do from those that don't and the level of accomplishment of delegated by the level of award that you receive.  An Aerial Achievement Medal doesn't require you to fly in a combat zone, but requires you to fly in the direct support of a mission.  It's not as prestigious as an Air Medal, which requires entry in to a combat zone, but still recognizes a direct support of a military air operation.  The idea is there is an inherent risk to flight, the example being a flight off the coast of China where the crew can be intercepted and drawn down as in the case of Hainan Island.

Issuing medals that compete or dwarf medals to those that do a comparable job but don't face an ounce of the same risk is insulting to those that actually face real danger.  This is why giving Bronze Medals to those that don't face actual combat is insulting to ground troops and erodes combat troops faith in the system.  It's inherently unfair to reward those not in harms way to the same or over those that are.

You also miss the point of drones versus manned flight and guns vs spears.  With drones, the pilot is in negligible danger while the pilot of a manned flight is, in the very least, in danger of mechanical failure and crashing.  Whether the combat is with guns or spears, if the Civilization games have taught me correctly, there is still a non-zero chance the spears will kill the guys with guys.  If someone shoots down the drone, the pilot throws up his hands and goes to the canteen to fill his coffee mug.
 
2013-02-14 05:23:09 AM

Summoner101: the spears will kill the guys with guns.


/FTFM
 
2013-02-14 05:24:31 AM
Reagan's prediction has come true.
 
2013-02-14 05:27:17 AM

platedlizard: It's not like playing video games, 17% of all drone pilots suffer from clinical depression related to their job and 30% are burned out.. http://www.npr.org/2011/12/19/143926857/report-high-levels-of-burnout - in-u-s-drone-pilots


So, it's JUST LIKE playing video games.

/probably should have checked to see if I'm the 5th person to make that joke.
//didn't bother.
 
2013-02-14 05:36:39 AM

Popcorn Johnny: staplermofo: Every now and then there are reminders that the military recruits from high schools.

A higher % of people in the military have a college degree than found in the general population.


Not true.  Recruiters like to mislead people about this by comparing officers with bachelors to the general population, and enlisted with high school or better.  If you combine them, the % of people in uniform with a college diploma is less than in the civilian pop.
 
2013-02-14 05:36:42 AM
Anyone who thinks collecting awards is the reason for sacrificing ones life in service to their country needs to remove their head from their ass.
 
2013-02-14 05:36:52 AM
imgace.com
 
2013-02-14 05:41:06 AM
s3.postimage.org
 
2013-02-14 05:44:13 AM
Wake up... Go to work in cubicle... Control joystick... Go home and know that you actually killed some people with a button. Try to go to sleep so you can wake up and do it again tomorrow. Yes- that farker deserves a medal.
 
2013-02-14 05:44:38 AM

Summoner101: Issuing medals that compete or dwarf medals to those that do a comparable job but don't face an ounce of the same risk is insulting to those that actually face real danger.


Again, you're assuming that "real danger" is a good and noble thing and and of itself, and that a failure to achieve "real danger" is a disqualification for medals. You're welcome to believe that, along with your own definition of "real danger", but please stop pretending it's all a settled question.

You also miss the point of drones versus manned flight and guns vs spears.

You miss my point in the analogy. Spear throwers were in much more danger than gun shooters; spears have a much smaller effective range and place the wielder in much more "real danger" than guns, therefore spear throwers are more honorable, by your own definition, and gun shooters should be subject to the same restriction in medals that you propose for drone pilots.
 
2013-02-14 05:45:35 AM

MaudlinMutantMollusk: thermo: I just had a mental picture of a Top Gun remake..... "Top Drone"

Can those of you with Shop Kung Fu please complete my vision?

♫  IP to the danger zone... ♫


I initially read that as "Top Gear," made me think of this
 
2013-02-14 05:51:05 AM
great, first there were medal whores in BF3 and MW3, now they will be able to do it in real life....
 
2013-02-14 05:52:28 AM
I'm envisioning this as a jolly, shiny, candy-like button being carried in the claws of an eagle with lightning bolts in its beak. You could add pips around the button for every 10 targets you got close to.
 
2013-02-14 05:58:48 AM

profplump: Summoner101: Issuing medals that compete or dwarf medals to those that do a comparable job but don't face an ounce of the same risk is insulting to those that actually face real danger.

Again, you're assuming that "real danger" is a good and noble thing and and of itself, and that a failure to achieve "real danger" is a disqualification for medals. You're welcome to believe that, along with your own definition of "real danger", but please stop pretending it's all a settled question.

You also miss the point of drones versus manned flight and guns vs spears.

You miss my point in the analogy. Spear throwers were in much more danger than gun shooters; spears have a much smaller effective range and place the wielder in much more "real danger" than guns, therefore spear throwers are more honorable, by your own definition, and gun shooters should be subject to the same restriction in medals that you propose for drone pilots.


For your information:
Valor : strength of mind of spirit that enables a person to encounter danger with firmness

So yes, being in "more danger" would make you more valorous.  There are other medals in place to honor those that serve in non-combat situations.  This is the military.  Putting yourself in harms way, completing objectives, and serving your country as well as your fellow soldier/airman/seaman/marine/coastie is the name of the game.  Should drone pilots be recognized?  Sure.  Should they be recognized for service comparable to those that serve in actual combat?  You'd have to show me the impact of the service they did for that medal, but it shouldn't default above a combat medal.

I was also unaware we still had many spear throwers in the US military.  If we do and they're successful, then yes, I will confess my reasoning still applies that they would deserve a higher degree of medal by default for valor.  That's pretty badass and yes, they would require more valor as they would be under a significant amount more danger to complete commiserate objectives .  Should riflemen receive no recognition for combat experience? No.  They still face the risks of combat unlike drone pilots.
 
2013-02-14 05:58:52 AM
Do drone pilots also fly the hellfire into the target?
 
2013-02-14 06:04:14 AM

Axel_Gear: This is wrong. More medals equals more points for promotion. The rate at which they receive medals is already outrageous. Why do they need another boost above people who actually see combat?


You answered your question before you asked it.
 
2013-02-14 06:05:37 AM
We say that people get a medal for what they did... But really, they get the medal for what we asked them to do... In this case, kill people with a joystick and then go home and try to act normal with their family. Drone pilot stress is a kind of stress that hasn't made it into any shiatty indie films or documentaries yet...
 
2013-02-14 06:06:18 AM

platedlizard: It's not like playing video games, 17% of all drone pilots suffer from clinical depression related to their job and 30% are burned out.. http://www.npr.org/2011/12/19/143926857/report-high-levels-of-burnout - in-u-s-drone-pilots


As compared to say, EVERYONE ELSE IN THE ARMY?
 
2013-02-14 06:18:52 AM

BarkingUnicorn: Popcorn Johnny: staplermofo: Every now and then there are reminders that the military recruits from high schools.

A higher % of people in the military have a college degree than found in the general population.

That's counting only survivors.


Better chance of surviving the military than the streets of Chicago:

Chicago Homicides Outnumber U.S. Troop Killings In Afghanistan
 
2013-02-14 06:20:26 AM

keithdcmoore: We say that people get a medal for what they did... But really, they get the medal for what we asked them to do... In this case, kill people with a joystick and then go home and try to act normal with their family. Drone pilot stress is a kind of stress that hasn't made it into any shiatty indie films or documentaries yet...



And we ask infantrymen to watch as the rest of their squad dies only inches away, while killing people face to face, then go home and then go home and try to act normal with their family. So why should they get a lesser medal than those who only risk getting mild carpal tunnel syndrome?
 
2013-02-14 06:22:17 AM

Teknowaffle: EngineerAU: If you're bored, check out Wikipedia's list of military awards and decorations. You'll be surprised by some of the things they hand out medals for.


Right before he retired from the Navy, my dad got a medal for figuring out a way to save the Navy millions of dollars. It also had a hand written note from Bill Clinton along with it.

See that's where he screwed up big time - should have kept the idea to himself for another 6 months then offered it back to the military as a "consultant".  Plan to save $millions as someone IN the military = pretty ribbon and 15 seconds of presidents time.   Plan to save $millions as someone NOT in the military = $100,000+ in consulting fees every year until the people you made look good retire or move on.

The ribbon should be among the most prestigious of the "support" medals but having zero chance of having your head blown off at any moment kind of puts it below any combat medal IMHO.
 
2013-02-14 06:28:06 AM

staplermofo: Two air forcers who got the Bronze Star for something other than throwing grenades at Nazi bunkers got cyber bullied.
Every now and then there are reminders that the military recruits from high schools.


Wow that's pretty pathetic. A bunch of grown adults bickering about who got what award. Unfortunately this childish mentality is everywhere, and I've seen it at every place I've ever worked. "Why does Johnny get to park in one of the front parking spaces, that's not fair....how come he gets to go and we don't...why did Amy get an award and we didn't..." People need to just focus on what they're doing and stop worrying about everyone else.
 
2013-02-14 06:29:09 AM
Reasonable to post this?

http://youtu.be/GPFjToKuZQM
 
2013-02-14 06:30:58 AM
If there's one thing I learned from the GOP, it's that Purple Hearts, Bronze Stars and the like are handed out all the time for nothing. Can't see why anyone would care about any of those medals.
 
2013-02-14 06:31:13 AM

Popcorn Johnny: staplermofo: Every now and then there are reminders that the military recruits from high schools.

A higher % of people in the military have a college degree than found in the general population.


Overall they are better educated than their civilian counterparts

and that includes their spouses

military wives are better-educated, on average, than civilian wives.
 
2013-02-14 06:32:54 AM
A medal?  Sure, why not.  A medal higher than a Bronze Star with V for Valor?  Get the fark outta here.
 
2013-02-14 06:37:35 AM
Well in all fairness, you will likely never see both worn by the same person so we're all about semantics.
 
2013-02-14 06:43:31 AM

justoneznot: staplermofo: Two air forcers who got the Bronze Star for something other than throwing grenades at Nazi bunkers got cyber bullied.
Every now and then there are reminders that the military recruits from high schools.

Wow that's pretty pathetic. A bunch of grown adults bickering about who got what award. Unfortunately this childish mentality is everywhere, and I've seen it at every place I've ever worked. "Why does Johnny get to park in one of the front parking spaces, that's not fair....how come he gets to go and we don't...why did Amy get an award and we didn't..." People need to just focus on what they're doing and stop worrying about everyone else.


Except in this case them getting the BSM put them in a better promotional position over people that may have actually seen combat.  Also, high level medals can make the difference when competing for special duties or education/commissioning programs.  Granted, they were at least IN Afghanistan so could say they were at least in the daily danger of being mortared or overrun depending where they were.  Whether that should be worthy of a BSM and not a JCM or AFCM is another matter.
 
2013-02-14 06:45:24 AM

Securitywyrm: platedlizard: It's not like playing video games, 17% of all drone pilots suffer from clinical depression related to their job and 30% are burned out.. http://www.npr.org/2011/12/19/143926857/report-high-levels-of-burnout - in-u-s-drone-pilots

As compared to say, EVERYONE ELSE IN THE ARMY?


From what I can tell it's pretty similar. The drone pilots watch their target day in, day out. They see him do his normal everyday stuff, like get up, work, play with his kids, etc. They see him do the 'badguy' stuff as well, but it's hard to hate a guy you spend six hours a day getting to know. Then they're ordered to kill him. They see strikes go bad, they see US troops get shot by the enemy. They see all that. It doesn't matter to the human brain that what they're seeing is 7,000 miles away, our brains have no way to filter that out. It's real, and it causes them stress, depression, and PTSD.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/30/us/drone-pilots-waiting-for-a-kill -s hot-7000-miles-away.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0

But go on thinking it's just like playing video games, it only shows how ignorant and heartless you are.
 
2013-02-14 06:47:11 AM
Summoner101: 

Except in this case them getting the BSM put them in a better promotional position over people that may have actually seen combat.  Also, high level medals can make the difference when competing for special duties or education/commissioning programs.  Granted, they were at least IN Afghanistan so could say they were at least in the daily danger of being mortared or overrun depending where they were.  Whether that should be worthy of a BSM and not a JCM or AFCM is another matter.

Why does someone who was actually in Afghanistan automatically deserve a better promotion than someone who was able to carry out the mission while not in Afghanistan?
 
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