Imagine watching your hopes of ever experiencing the thrill of victory and the agony of TBI evaporate when you see your orders for Tech training. Your expertise and prowess on HALO- Warrior from the Sky video gaming has earned you a job at MacDill AFB and not that top dog, Red Beret for SAR. No sir. You are headed to an underground room and a video screen for four years.
Well now there’s a medal for you, too. The Distinguished Warfare Medal, baby. It’s above the Bronze Star and just below the Silver Star. Huh? Say all after above Bronze? Comment deleted due to low ratings.
My Uncle Jay was shot through the ankle and did the 63-mile Bataan Fun Run on it with a lot of help from his friends. He received a Bronze Star for that and another for his defense of Corregidor. Think about this. He had his foot amputated after he got back to Letterman Hospital in 1945. He couldn’t get here any sooner- he was a POW for 4 years.
Now we have a medal for flying a Predator remotely and taking out terrorists. Do they get a bronze oak leaf cluster after 5 kills? This is asinine. Why not just hand out a Joe Blow medal with a picture of an X box on one side and a Hellfire missile on the obverse? Call it the Virtual medal for those who were there in spirit and were infinitely familiar with the concept of cold coffee or a flat Dr. Pepper. It would rate right up there with the “I was there” medals and prove you weren’t a run of the mill REMF. I’m sure there’s a special place for airmen like this. In the sixties up in Laos, we used enlisted men as FACs (called Butterflies) until Gen. Momeyer found out about it in 67. After that it was done by reckless “commissioned” FACs rather than reckless “non-commissioned” ones. There went all the medals. Actually, it was damn difficult to get any medals over the fence because we weren’t there. I never got mine.
Our good buddy and fellow Vietnam Vet John Kerry was part of a group who espoused a desire to strike a medal for all those who refrain from shooting back when shot at. No, silly. it wasn’t when he was an active member of the Vietnam Veterans Against the War. I’m talking about more recently in the “blue on green” Afghani attacks on our troops. That seemed like a sure fire (no pun intended) one to take off with the American public. It never materialized. It seems America wants to see valor and selflessness. Touchy-feely medals just don’t cut it, I guess.
Another one I felt had merit was a Libyan medal. It would have very few recipients for obvious reasons but here again, the Virtual Video Warriors would have a good shot at it. They must have had some eyes on the ground watching the Ambassador and the SEALs getting snuffed.
So there you have it. The latest on medals and virtual warriors explained for all. So why do I still feel like the whole medal thing is becoming jaded? Why does it seem that a “V” device for valor has been usurped by a “V” device for virtual. Am I alone in this respect? Medals need to mean something. Medals should speak of privation and hardship. They should represent lousy food and foolhardy behaviour. Their essence should be steeped in camaraderie and shared misery.
There is a place for this medal but it seems it’s being overblown a bit. Why not an emblem like a Combat Infantryman’s Badge? How about a silver image of a handheld X Box controller with wings on it? A big V with wings on it? Anyone have an idea?
P.S. Or, as Robert observes, maybe an award for the most preparation H and 5 hour energy drinks consumed on one watch.