Friday, February 10, 2006

In the Sandbox...

Medals a ‘Serious Problem’

I see that the award issue is rearing its ugly head again.

I wrote a letter to the editor that was published on this very issue in the summer of 2005 while deployed to Iraq. Not only are Bronze Star medals given out at an alarming rate, but the people who receive them don’t deserve them at all.

After a year in Iraq and Kuwait, I realize that awards mean nothing. Some would say, “Hey, just making it back safe is my award.” Let’s be real. I witnessed firsthand this response from a commissioned officer, only to later flip out when his Bronze Star Medal wasn’t being tracked by the orderly room.

The Army doesn’t want to admit it, but we have a serious problem on our hands. The system is based on pageantry. The more awards and schools you have, the better you look when it comes time for promotion, among other things. Everyone knows that. But, at what sacrifice? We sacrifice our soldiers for the good of our careers.

The Marines do have it right. If a Marine told me, “I just want to make it back safe; that’s my award,” I would believe him without a shadow of a doubt.

-Sheldon Edwards, Mannheim, Germany (Stars & Stripes: Letters to the Editor)

...the girls of the Guard...
1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6

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