President’s Message regarding Distinguished Warfare Medal

February 18, 2013

Distinguished Warfare Medal

Dear Brothers,

Normally I do not post opinions of mine for political topics however, this time I must speak out and encourage you to contact your Congressman, Senator and fax the White House over this misguided effort to promote a Valorous Medal for people who play with computer drones sitting in a plush chair in the warm sands of Tampa, FL.

I have never denigrated any person in the military for the job they do. But this time it is different.

This “medal” will have a higher rating than a Purple Heart or Bronze Star with “V” device. This basically says these people who have never put their asses on the line, took the point, or flew in a hostile combat fight are honored on a higher scale than those who made the ultimate sacrifice.

For us in the Silver Spurs know far too well what the Purple Heart, especially Posthumous, really means. We have seen our brothers die on the battlefield, wounded with grievous life changing wounds and some of us had the sad duty of placing our brothers bodies in a rubber bag. Something you don’t forget.

To see our brothers in our war denigrated to below a computer geek sitting on his ass dropping missiles in a safe place, going home at night to their families is an absolute outrage.

Leon Panetta is way out of touch. Maybe he needs a patrol or two in Afghanistan or work as a combat medic to clear his vision. I do not know but I know our brothers on the Wall deserve the Honor they were bestowed.

An interesting point closing. Antunano’s family recently received his Purple Heart after being KIA-BNR for over 40 years. That in itself is disgrace but placing a few officers who fly their computer game in their own living room is bullshit and even a higher disgrace.

Brothers, I beseech you to get on the phone and start calling everybody, White House included whether you voted for the President or not.

We, the Vietnam Veteran, have fought countless battles with admin pukes over the years. We cannot afford to lose the biggest one of all; the Honor of our Fallen.

God Bless you all








John “Waldo” Pepper

Additional information:

Petition: Lower precedence of new drone medalArmyTimes – 18 Feb 13

Backlash against new U.S. medal for drone pilots by Phil Stewart

Purple Heart group: New medal ‘insulting’ArmyTimes – 15 Feb 13

VFW slams Pentagon’s drone medal, complains it would outrank Purple HeartFoxNews – 14 Feb 13

White House fax number: 202-456-2461

Sign the petition:
Lower the precedence of the new Distinguished Warfare MedalWhite House

Update: Senate bill would reduce rank of drone medalArmyTimes – 7 Mar 13

Update: Pentagon halts production of drone, cyberwarfare medal amid backlashFoxNews – 12 Mar 13

Update: Statement by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel on the Distinguished Warfare MedalDoD – 15 Apr 13

“…The Joint Chiefs of Staff, with the concurrence of the service secretaries, have recommended the creation of a new distinguishing device that can be affixed to existing medals to recognize the extraordinary actions of this small number of men and women. I agree with the Joint Chiefs’ findings, and have directed the creation of a distinguishing device instead of a separate medal…”





About Roger Young

Roger "Bear" Young served with the Silver Spurs as a Scout crew chief and Line Chief from Dec '69 through Nov '70. Upon his return to the "world" he served at Hunter AAF as a Cobra Periodic Inspection team leader. He founded the Spur website in Sept 1997.
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16 Responses to President’s Message regarding Distinguished Warfare Medal

  1. avatar Bear says:

    I have contacted the White House and both my Senators regarding this latest travesty of degrading the medals of valor by this decision to elevate those thousands of miles from combat receiving a medal that is given more importance than a Purple Heart or Bronze Star w/V device.

    Many of our fallen on the Vietnam Memorial only received a Purple Heart for their ultimate sacrifice in service to our country. To have their sacrifice diminished by this latest medal is completely dispicable in my opinion!

  2. avatar Arthur C. Bonevich says:

    In my opinion, this Medal should fall below the ARCOM w/’V’.Leon.Panetta is insulting thousand’s / million’s of Military Serviceman that put their lives on the front line for the award they had recieved. For us, it was not a game…Artie, Scout’s Out

    • avatar Bear says:

      Perhaps an ARCOM with drone device…

      PS: After following this subject for over a week, it has become clear that this medal was pushed by the USAF with the explanation that UAVs and their operators have saved lives of our ground forces.

      I’m sure that is very true and they should be recognized for doing an excellent job, but it is still NOT a position that warrants a medal of valor in my opinion.

  3. avatar David Abblitt says:

    I am of the opinion this medal shoud be quashed. It was ill planned and thought out. Does this now get extended to the launch of a cruise missile? How can something so ill defined even be considered in the first place? If you want a medal that defines Valor then enter the Valley of the Shadow of Death!

  4. avatar Paul Clergy says:

    This Country is sadly becoming a joke.A medal for playing a video game ? It should rank right with the Good Conduct Medal or below. My Door-gunner and I both spilled our blood in Cambodia to earn our Purple Hearts,and those guys are going to get a medal that out ranks it for playing with a Joystick ? Stick your Joystick up your ass !

  5. avatar Chuck says:

    It must be nice to receive a valor award for sitting in a cushy office operating a joy stick on a computer, hundreds of not thousands of miles from the action. What next, a Purple Heart for a Hang Nail that might inhibit the operation of the joy stick? Keeping in mind anything above a Purple Heart and Bronze Star w/ V is a valor award.
    Clearly no thought at all went into this nor the impact it might have on those who are really in the action. Talk about demoralizing!! In addition it diminishes the real valor awards earned by so many. For the record I personally consider a Purple Heart a valor award. At least the recipient was there in the action, which is a lot more than can be said about these glorified Joy Stick operators.
    I contacted my elected officials and the White House last week when I first got word of this nonsense.
    I do not even recognize today’s military with all the PC nonsense.

  6. avatar JERRY L ORR says:


  7. avatar Bear says:


    In my opinion we were betrayed by our fathers and our nation while serving in Nam. Today with what our Pentagon is doing makes me feel we have been betrayed again.

    I know many of us across this country did a lot of rather amazing things supporting this military while in Iraq and for years in Afghanistan. From confronting anti-war protesters, funeral protests, passing funeral protest laws, giving them good sendoffs and returns, care packages & financially supporting their wounded and maimed. We looked at it correctly as “never again” but I have no intention of doing much in the future except for an annual contribution to Fisher House.

    Today Panetta announced more benefits for gay couples which won’t apply to heterosexual unmarried couples in the military. The current civilian and military leadership seems far more concerned about social change then training boys to become men. Duty, honor & country is apparently a low priority.


  8. avatar Allan La Grange says:


    I’m not sure I can add much to what has already been said but I want all of you to know that I appreciate your involvement and interest in the issues that affect our veterans past and present . I hope that sanity will return but I am not optomistic about the near future. Apathy is our greatest enemy and the Nation is in a dire condition. Our country has indeed “Eyes that cannot see and Ears that cannot hear.”
    Al La Grange, Rifles

  9. avatar Jeff Anthony says:

    We (Vietnam Veterans) are no more or less special than those who have served before or since our experience. The roles we have all played are extensions of decisions made by others. The prices paid is always personal.

    While I can certainly understand and appreciate the passion that drives the argument against this particular award, I do not condone an assault on the dedication and skills of those who currently serve in a valued, albeit very different role than we may have endured.

    Times change. We rode in helicopters and engaged directly. For our country this was a new form of warfare and the recognition of it’s peculiarities was revered by some and seen as”not as tough as we had it in WWII” by others.

    Today the role of warrior has changed with the technology, just as it did for us all. If a shot fired remotely reduces the exposure and risk to a fellow trooper deployed half way around the world I say….”man, how I wish he was there for me during Tet ’68.”

    No soldier deserves to have their contributions diminished because they are more efficient and effective than the one that came before them.


    • avatar Bear says:


      I don’t recall any of us, our Generals or the Pentagon during our war attempting to place the Air Medal above the Purple Heart or Bronze Medal with V/device. I think that was the point here?

  10. avatar Bear says:

    This in from VFW today, 22 Feb 2013:

    “Others Want New Medal Ranked Lower

    “More veteran and military service organizations have joined with VFW in opposing the placement of the new Distinguished Warfare Medal, which, if left unchanged, will rank it the ninth highest in the order of precedence—higher than the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart. The VFW has been joined in our call to lower the ranking by the Military Order of the Purple Heart, National Association of Uniformed Services, and the Military Officers’ Association of America, among others. The new medal, announced by Defense Secretary Panetta on Feb. 13, would be awarded to drone pilots and cyber warriors who are having a significant impact, but who are not required to be physically present on the battlefield. ‘The VFW fully concurs that those far from the fight are having an immediate impact,’ said VFW National Commander John Hamilton, ‘but medals that can only be earned in direct combat must mean more than medals awarded in the rear.’ The VFW continues to urge the Department of Defense, and now the White House, to reconsider the new medal’s placement in the military order of precedence.”

    And here’s an article of interest sent to me by fellow Spur, Charlie Helms:

    Drone Pilots Are Found to Get Stress Disorders Much as Those in Combat Do by James Dao

  11. avatar Allan La Grange says:

    Spurs, I have been thinking about Jeff’s concerns and of course we most of all know how it feels to be looked down upon by previous generations of veterans (and the general public as well). I have the highest regard for present members of the military that serve multiple tours while knowing that little more than lip service is given by the public for their sacrifice. Medals are given in an unpredictable way. As the saying goes that many earned them (and a few actually received one). I do, however, agree that valor is earned only by placing yourself in harms way. That said , I thank each and every soldier, sailor, marine, airman and coast guard member what ever their MOS is and regardless of where they serve. Maybe it is that we Vietnam Vets know how the top echelons of the military and civil government officials have been negligent and unconcerned with our safety and Honor. I fear that we will see this again and so it is only natural that we are very sensitive to decisions that appear to be arbitrary and not properly considered or consulted on with present and former vets prior to implementation. I feel confident that no Spur would intend to degrade the Honor of our earlier or present Veterans. Al La Grange, Rifles

  12. avatar Frank O'Donnell (OD) says:

    Are you kidding me. Give them a certificate and a badge for expert on computers

  13. avatar Roger Young says:

    Update: Senate bill would reduce rank of drone medal – ArmyTimes – 7 Mar 13