‘Disgraceful’ Awards Decision
"I have noticed a lot of letters referring to the awards system in the military.
I am currently halfway through my tour in Iraq. At this point of the deployment, we are expected to write awards for all of our soldiers. Before writing these awards, we were given the choice of putting them in for Army Commendation medals (ARCOM) or Army Achievement medals (AAM).
After serving in Afghanistan, and witnessing with my own eyes many senior noncommissioned officers and officers receiving Bronze Star medals for doing their jobs — and most of them doing very easy jobs — without ever “leaving the wire,” as it is put, I decided that all of my soldiers deserved at least an ARCOM for their everyday routine of leaving the wire, and at many times, coming close to being seriously wounded, or worse.
I believe all combat arms soldiers who go on regular patrols, risking their lives everyday deserve at minimum an ARCOM. They have given up a year of their own lives to serve their country.
But after writing these awards, we were told that only a certain amount of soldiers could receive an ARCOM, and the rest would receive an AAM.
This is an absolutely disgraceful decision. This is like having to choose which one of your children you love the most!
It makes me feel sick, because, if you are of a higher rank, it seems to be automatic that you will receive at least a Bronze Star.
The Army is supposed to be about putting soldiers first, but this obviously proves that there is a lot of selfish leaders in the Army, and as long as they receive their awards, why would they care if Joe Snuffy gets an ARCOM or not."
-Sgt. Paul Falzarano, Camp Liberty, Iraq (Stars & Stripes: Letters to the Editor)
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