April 17, 2012
Open Thread: Medals
If it were up to me, I would get rid of all medals not related to valor or campaign-specific service. Most medals awarded for "service" -- from the Army Achievement Medal to the Meritorious Service Medal -- seem like trinkets most often given based on the rank of the awardee on completion of a duty assignment rather than any activity soldiers actually take pride in. Maybe I am wrong. But you see a lot of soldiers out there who look like someone has spilled fruit salad on their chests when in actuality they have merely been competent in the non-combat-related aspects of the military bureaucracy. If the Army really wanted to encourage a warrior ethos, why not scrap everything but those Army Commendation Medals, Bronze Stars, Silver Stars, etc. given for valor under fire? After all, do you ever see Gen. Dempsey sporting his AAMs? Rarely.*
Anyway, discuss this amongst yourselves in the comments.
*The first medal I ever received was an AAM for writing good press releases at U.S. Army ROTC Advanced Camp in the summer of 2000. True story. I got a medal for that. And I then had to explain all that to anyone who asked about it. Folks, I did not feel like a warrior. I felt like a clown.