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Thread: Combat recognition for UAV operators?

  1. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
    Tojai's Avatar
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    #1

    Combat recognition for UAV operators?

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    Drone pilots to get medals? - In the Loop - The Washington Post

    The Pentagon is considering awarding a Distinguished Warfare Medal to drone pilots who work on military bases often far removed from the battlefield.

    Pentagon officials have been briefed on the medal’s “unique concept,” Charles V. Mugno, head of the Army Institute of Heraldry, told a recent meeting of the Commission of Fine Arts, according to a report in Coin World by our former colleague Bill McAllister.

    Mugno said most combat decorations require “boots on the ground” in a combat zone, but he noted that “emerging technologies” such as drones and cyber combat missions are now handled by troops far removed from combat.

    The Pentagon has not formally endorsed the medal, but Mugno’s institute has completed six alternate designs for commission approval.

    The notion of greater recognition for drone pilots has been percolating for some time. Air Force Maj. Dave Blair, writing in the May-June issue of the Air & Space Power Journal, asked how much difference there is in terms of risk “between 10,000 feet and 10,000 miles.”

    A “manned aircraft . . . that scrapes the top of a combat zone, well outside the range of any realistic threat” is deemed in “combat,” Blair writes, but a Predator firing a missile is considered “combat support.”

    The proposed medal would rank between the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Soldier’s Medal for exceptional conduct outside a combat zone.
    The question of 10,000 feet vs. 10,000 miles is an interesting one ... then again piloting an aircraft is always going to be more dangerous than operating an unmanned one.

    Regardless, I don't have a problem with UAV operators receiving combat recognition/awards.

    Thoughts?
  2. Just another guy
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    #2
    They need their own medal. Would solve everything.
  3. Senior Member
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    #3
    Quote Originally Posted by WarSnoopy View Post
    They need their own medal. Would solve everything.
    Ha! Yes, I agree with this!
  4. Senior Member
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    #4
    I am on the fence on this. Most of these people joined the AF to be pilots, flying actual aircraft. Most were also pulled from that task with little option and had to become UVA operators. However, they are competing against actual pilots for the higher ranking, upward mobile jobs needed at the 05/ 06+ level. They don’t stand much of a chance when records are compared. Prime example of the world not keeping up with technology. I am not sure what the answer is. Would a separate medal be equal for boards?

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