Lawmaker Seeks Review of New Defense Medal

NGAUS Washington Report

(Feb. 26, 2013) A member of Congress has added his voice to those unhappy with the Pentagon’s decision to rank a new medal above those that can only be earned in combat.

Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Fla., an Army veteran, has asked the Defense Department to reconsider the importance of the Distinguished Warfare Medal, which was announced two weeks ago by Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta and would be awarded to service members who control drone aircraft, work in the cyber field and other duties away from the battlefield.

The medal’s order of precedence puts it above the Bronze Star with Valor device and the Purple Heart.

“I strongly urge the Department to reconsider its decision,” he wrote Monday to Jessica Wright, the acting under defense secretary for personnel and readiness.

He said he supports a medal for those who serve away from combat but contribute to the war, but simply disagrees with the ranking.

The medal’s rank has been questioned by the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the Military Order of the Purple Heart and other organizations and individuals.