Last month, the Distinguished Warfare Medal was unveiled by the US military. The medal is awarded to US troops who make "extraordinary achievements directly impacting combat operations...regardless of the member’s physical location or domain". This includes those involved in computer-based roles, and those who command remote attack drones and Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs).
The nature of these roles has resulted in it being nicknamed "The Nintendo Medal", and some have even joked that it should come accompanied with a joystick.
Clearly, such activities are a part of modern war and no doubt save many lives in battle. However, the medal has caused upset because it has been placed in order of precedence ahead of the Bronze Star, and even above the Bronze Star with a “V” — handed out for valorous conduct in combat. Critics are suggesting that the Distinguished Warfare Medal should be downgraded.
22 US senators have signed a letter addressed to Secretary Hagel, voicing their concerns:
We believe that medals earned in combat, or in dangerous conditions, should maintain their precedence above non-combat awards. Placing the Distinguished Warfare Medal above the Bronze Star and Purple Heart diminishes the significance of awards earned by risking one’s life in direct combat or through acts of heroism.
It would seem that the move has generated the desired response, as the Pentagon has issued the following statement:
In light of concerns about the medal’s place in the order of precedence raised by veterans organizations and a number of members of Congress, Secretary Hagel is going to work with the chairman, service secretaries, and chiefs to review the order of precedence of the medal.
Nintendo itself is probably less than keen about its brand being associated so closely with military action, but what are your thoughts on this? Do you think operators of drones and other unmanned craft who save countless lives via their actions should be given the same recognition as those who actually risk life and limb on the field of battle? Post a comment to let us know.