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Old 02-17-2012, 08:26 AM
 
Location: Texas
14,078 posts, read 17,045,549 times
Reputation: 7707

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Well, let's just see if there has been "medal inflation" over the years. Let's look at US medals and decorations awarded to Army Commanding Generals. Since there were no individual medals other than the Medal of Honor and Purple Heart until about the 20th century, we'll start with WWI. (So far as I can determine, Gen. Grant had none.)

Gen. Pershing: He commanded the largest American Army to ever take the field during that war, and was a veteran of the Indian Wars, the Spanish-American War, the Philippine Insurrection and the "Border War" with Mexico before assuming command of the Doughboys in France. His combat experience ranged from service as a young LT to the Commanding General.

Total individual awards (excluding badges): 9

Gen. Eisenhower: Overall Commander of SHAEF still the largest US Army ever. He was a veteran of the the Border War and WWI as well, though he had no direct combat experience before he assumed Command in North Africa.

Total individual awards: 13

Gen. William Westmoreland: Commander of MACV, the American war in Vietnam and a Veteran of WWII and Korea. His direct combat experience ranged from serving as a junior officer in North Africa to a Regimental Commander in Korea.

Total individual awards: 13

Gen. David Petraeus: Commander of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. His first direct combat experience was as the 101st Division Commander in Iraq.

Total individual awards: 26

Gen. Martin Dempsey: The current Chairman of the Joint Chief's of Staff. His first combat experience was as a staff officer during the Gulf War and he later commanded the 1st Armored Division in Iraq.

Total individual awards: 24


A note: Individual awards, especially for heroism, are usually earned by officers while they are in the junior grades. The reason is that General is not typically a combat rank. Wars are actually fought by officers in the ranks of LTC and below. Senior Commanders don't normally lead men into combat; they manage resources. Battalion/Regimental and Company grade officers are the one who do the actual fighting. Among that list above, note how many awards and decorations have gone to those who had no direct combat experience at those lower ranks.

Like FOX...I report, you decide.
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:44 AM
 
Location: Matthews, NC
14,693 posts, read 22,481,697 times
Reputation: 14290
Quote:
Originally Posted by PacificFlights View Post
I rememebr seeing a certain medal listed on people's resumes. I noticed that it stopped being listed for yournger service memebrs and now its back on just about everyone's resume. So I spoke to a collegue who was a long time serviceman who retire after I think 30 years. I asked him what that medal was for and he said "Don;t get court-martial, get a medal". To this day i still have a hard time figuring that one out...
That's a Good Conduct medal (or Good Cookie). Basically, don't do (or get caught) doing stuff you shouldn't do and you get it.
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Old 02-17-2012, 08:55 AM
Status: "Rocktober...well that was fast. :-(" (set 24 days ago)
 
Location: Fredericksburg, VA
10,314 posts, read 10,462,290 times
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@skillkit,
Congress has created more awards over the years, too. Some of the awards are literally only for General Officers! Can you imagine that? You have to wear stars to even be in the discussion for some of these awards!

As for the overall trend of service members today wearing more awards, I think that it has to do with the public perception and awareness of what the troops are doing on a day to day basis. Back in WWII, the troops would leave and return when the war was over. Some were gone for over 4 years, and this was before email and facebook and such.

Today, our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are broadcast from the front. Hell, I gave Anderson Cooper a tour of my AO when I was in Afghanistan! At any rate, because the public is more "connected" with the day-to-day goings on of this generation of warfare, I think that the services are responding (knowingly or not, that's debatable) by ensuring that the troops receive recognition in the form of medals. Parents know what their kids are going through these days on a day to day basis (or weekly at the very least) whereas in WWII it could be weeks before word from the front made it home.

I think the higher volume of awards is a product of warfare in the information age.

Another thing is that this generation saw four campaign medals: the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, and the Afghan Campaign Medal. In addition to the ACM, many troops in Afghanistan also received the NATO ISAF medal. Not only that, but there is the National Defense Service Medal. And in the Navy and Marine Corps, a deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan also comes with a Sea Service Deployment ribbon to top it all off. So a Marine with 18 months in the Corps could have five ribbons/medals (GWOT Service, NDSM, ACM, ISAF, SSD ribbon) following a single deployment, and that's if he did not receive a personal award during his deployment.
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Old 02-17-2012, 09:25 AM
 
Location: Texas
14,078 posts, read 17,045,549 times
Reputation: 7707
Quote:
Originally Posted by iknowftbll View Post
@skillkit,
Congress has created more awards over the years, too. Some of the awards are literally only for General Officers! Can you imagine that? You have to wear stars to even be in the discussion for some of these awards!

As for the overall trend of service members today wearing more awards, I think that it has to do with the public perception and awareness of what the troops are doing on a day to day basis. Back in WWII, the troops would leave and return when the war was over. Some were gone for over 4 years, and this was before email and facebook and such.

Today, our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are broadcast from the front. Hell, I gave Anderson Cooper a tour of my AO when I was in Afghanistan! At any rate, because the public is more "connected" with the day-to-day goings on of this generation of warfare, I think that the services are responding (knowingly or not, that's debatable) by ensuring that the troops receive recognition in the form of medals. Parents know what their kids are going through these days on a day to day basis (or weekly at the very least) whereas in WWII it could be weeks before word from the front made it home.

I think the higher volume of awards is a product of warfare in the information age.

Another thing is that this generation saw four campaign medals: the Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, the Iraq Campaign Medal, and the Afghan Campaign Medal. In addition to the ACM, many troops in Afghanistan also received the NATO ISAF medal. Not only that, but there is the National Defense Service Medal. And in the Navy and Marine Corps, a deployment to Iraq or Afghanistan also comes with a Sea Service Deployment ribbon to top it all off. So a Marine with 18 months in the Corps could have five ribbons/medals (GWOT Service, NDSM, ACM, ISAF, SSD ribbon) following a single deployment, and that's if he did not receive a personal award during his deployment.

I think it goes deeper than that.

"Bling" is now a necessity for promotion and the more stuff you have, the more impressive you are. Have you ever been to Bldg. 4 at Ft. Benning (Infantry Hall) or the 5-Ring Circus in DC? Too many of them walk around with the left side of their chests stuck out so everyone can see what great soldiers they are! It's like a meat market where everyone is sizing up the competition and the more medals you have, the more "important" you are. So, for those without actual, junior grade combat experience, the obvious answer was to create more medals to look more like a "real" soldier!

And, there's the additional benefit of making civilian's who don't know any better swoon. If you're old enough to remember LTC Oliver North's appearance before the Congressional Joint Committee investigating the Iran-Contra affairs, you'll recall that North appeared in full uniform and just about caused most of the members of that panel to kiss his azz in public. They were overwhelmed by his sparkling bling. Sen. Daniel Inouye wasn't impressed and said so publicly. In fact, to make his point, he began wearing the lapel pin to his own Congressional Medal of Honor.

Compare that with today. Few of our members of Congress have any military experience and fewer still have combat experience. When a phalanx of senior officers appears before them decked out in all their "good boy" ribbons, the Members of Congress are blinded by the dazzle because they don't know that most of those ribbons have nothing to do with anything other than that the wearer has become proficient at playing "the game." Remember the deference shown to Gen. Petreaus? Well, why shouldn't they? Heck, he's got ribbons just about running over his shoulder and down his back like Curly of the Three Stooges! He just HAS to be a great leader, right?

As you can probably tell, I'm among those who are not at all impressed with the senior leadership of our Armed Forces, especially the Army. They have resume's which would cause a real, combat soldier to faint, but their lack of knowledge about what goes on at platoon and company level during war is a critical component of our inability to win wars these days. They really don't know what those CPT's and LT's and SGT's and Privates are doing out there because they've never been there. You'd never know that by looking at their chests though, would you?
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Old 02-17-2012, 09:41 AM
Status: "Rocktober...well that was fast. :-(" (set 24 days ago)
 
Location: Fredericksburg, VA
10,314 posts, read 10,462,290 times
Reputation: 13262
I can't and won't comment on Army leadership, as I am in the Marine Corps. I do have confidence in the senior leadership of the Marine Corps for a few reasons. Not the least of which is the mentality that the Marine Corps has toward its officers. It is a very small group, and every Marine wearing brass has a few shared experiences, no matter the generation or MOS.

Regarding Oliver North, I was 7 or 8 years old during those hearings so I obviously did not follow them at the time. What I will say is that North wore the uniform that is customary of a Marine when testifying, and as part of that uniform he wore the medals and ribbons which he had rightfully earned, mostly in combat in Vietnam. He didn't wear them to impress anyone, he wore them because he earned them and they were part of his uniform. No less a part of his uniform than his rank insignia or his Marine Corps Emblems.
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Old 02-17-2012, 02:45 PM
 
30,770 posts, read 16,999,133 times
Reputation: 6792
Quote:
Originally Posted by stillkit View Post
Well, let's just see if there has been "medal inflation" over the years. Let's look at US medals and decorations awarded to Army Commanding Generals. Since there were no individual medals other than the Medal of Honor and Purple Heart until about the 20th century, we'll start with WWI. (So far as I can determine, Gen. Grant had none.)

Gen. Pershing: He commanded the largest American Army to ever take the field during that war, and was a veteran of the Indian Wars, the Spanish-American War, the Philippine Insurrection and the "Border War" with Mexico before assuming command of the Doughboys in France. His combat experience ranged from service as a young LT to the Commanding General.

Total individual awards (excluding badges): 9

Gen. Eisenhower: Overall Commander of SHAEF still the largest US Army ever. He was a veteran of the the Border War and WWI as well, though he had no direct combat experience before he assumed Command in North Africa.

Total individual awards: 13

Gen. William Westmoreland: Commander of MACV, the American war in Vietnam and a Veteran of WWII and Korea. His direct combat experience ranged from serving as a junior officer in North Africa to a Regimental Commander in Korea.

Total individual awards: 13

Gen. David Petraeus: Commander of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. His first direct combat experience was as the 101st Division Commander in Iraq.

Total individual awards: 26

Gen. Martin Dempsey: The current Chairman of the Joint Chief's of Staff. His first combat experience was as a staff officer during the Gulf War and he later commanded the 1st Armored Division in Iraq.

Total individual awards: 24


A note: Individual awards, especially for heroism, are usually earned by officers while they are in the junior grades. The reason is that General is not typically a combat rank. Wars are actually fought by officers in the ranks of LTC and below. Senior Commanders don't normally lead men into combat; they manage resources. Battalion/Regimental and Company grade officers are the one who do the actual fighting. Among that list above, note how many awards and decorations have gone to those who had no direct combat experience at those lower ranks.

Like FOX...I report, you decide.
Not sure what your trying to say, or prove?

Most Soldiers now a days....even before I retired....had 4x4 rows....yes that 16+, less than 8 years active duty.....

from 2004...

Is the U.S. giving out too many medals? - World news - Brave New World - msnbc.com
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Old 02-20-2012, 06:23 PM
 
1,482 posts, read 1,801,363 times
Reputation: 854
Quote:
Originally Posted by stillkit View Post
I think it goes deeper than that.

"Bling" is now a necessity for promotion and the more stuff you have, the more impressive you are. Have you ever been to Bldg. 4 at Ft. Benning (Infantry Hall) or the 5-Ring Circus in DC? Too many of them walk around with the left side of their chests stuck out so everyone can see what great soldiers they are! It's like a meat market where everyone is sizing up the competition and the more medals you have, the more "important" you are. So, for those without actual, junior grade combat experience, the obvious answer was to create more medals to look more like a "real" soldier!

And, there's the additional benefit of making civilian's who don't know any better swoon. If you're old enough to remember LTC Oliver North's appearance before the Congressional Joint Committee investigating the Iran-Contra affairs, you'll recall that North appeared in full uniform and just about caused most of the members of that panel to kiss his azz in public. They were overwhelmed by his sparkling bling. Sen. Daniel Inouye wasn't impressed and said so publicly. In fact, to make his point, he began wearing the lapel pin to his own Congressional Medal of Honor.

Compare that with today. Few of our members of Congress have any military experience and fewer still have combat experience. When a phalanx of senior officers appears before them decked out in all their "good boy" ribbons, the Members of Congress are blinded by the dazzle because they don't know that most of those ribbons have nothing to do with anything other than that the wearer has become proficient at playing "the game." Remember the deference shown to Gen. Petreaus? Well, why shouldn't they? Heck, he's got ribbons just about running over his shoulder and down his back like Curly of the Three Stooges! He just HAS to be a great leader, right?

As you can probably tell, I'm among those who are not at all impressed with the senior leadership of our Armed Forces, especially the Army. They have resume's which would cause a real, combat soldier to faint, but their lack of knowledge about what goes on at platoon and company level during war is a critical component of our inability to win wars these days. They really don't know what those CPT's and LT's and SGT's and Privates are doing out there because they've never been there. You'd never know that by looking at their chests though, would you?
Did North walk over to Sen. Daniel Inouye and throw up the salute the Senator was entitled to
when he arrived in the room ?
Or do Senators have all the same ranking MOH or not ?

We do not salute politicians, we do salute Ministers of the crown, but ordinary politicians are just the help.
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Old 02-20-2012, 06:29 PM
 
Location: Richmond, VA
2,633 posts, read 4,399,964 times
Reputation: 4214
Quote:
Originally Posted by nzrugby View Post
Did North walk over to Sen. Daniel Inouye and throw up the salute the Senator was entitled to
when he arrived in the room ?
Since he was indoors, and not under arms, I doubt it.
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Old 12-13-2012, 06:55 PM
bjh
Status: "Glad it's November." (set 1 day ago)
 
Location: Memphis - home of the king
26,184 posts, read 22,803,080 times
Reputation: 119748
Default How unusual is a Bronze Star?

I just learned a couple of days ago that an uncle was awarded the Bronze Star during WW2. I am gathering paperwork to request his military records. (It's been >62 years since his discharge.) Those records may shed some light on why he received that decoration. In the meantime, I was wondering how unusual or for want of a better phrase, how big a deal is a Bronze Star award?
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Old 12-13-2012, 08:11 PM
 
Location: Florida
3,194 posts, read 4,243,159 times
Reputation: 9436
Officers decorate each other with awards like Halloween!

Rank and MOS play a part in who is approved for awards.
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