Bronze Star Backlash, Ordeal at Dover — this week's Air Force Times


Two female airmen have come under fierce and personal criticism online after the Air Force posted stories on their being awarded the Bronze Star for meritorious service in Afghanistan.

Many of the people leaving comments said the airmen didn’t deserve the award, prompting the Air Force to take one of the stories offline because, “No one deserves that level of criticism for meritorious service in a combat zone,” said David Smith, a spokesman for Air Education and Training Command.

By far, most of the Bronze Stars awarded by the Air Force and Army are for meritorious service, not combat valor.

Doug Sterner, a Vietnam veteran who maintains the Military Times Hall of Valor database of military awards, called criticism of the two airmen “small-minded.”

“I certainly wouldn’t want to go back to any of these half a million Vietnam War veterans who got meritorious Bronze Stars and start questioning them,” he said.

Also, Mary Ellen Spera is one of the whistle-blowers whom the Air Force retaliated against for letting investigators know about the mistreatment of fallen troops’ remains at the Dover Air Force Base port mortuary.

An Office of Special Counsel investigation vindicated her and the other whistle-blowers, but Spera still has one nagging thought.

“That some soldier out there says, ‘Oh my God, if I get killed, I’ve got go to go to Dover,’ is the sickening thing to me,” she said. “Just let the American public and especially the American military know that we’re taking care of them. We always have and we always will, regardless of what may be happening in the background. They are the reason we do what we do.”

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  1. SSgt Everybody on

    I think the criticism is fully justified, without knowing the full citation. From what the articles displayed they got Bronze Stars for showing up to work everyday while deployed. Does that really sound like something the Bronze Star is supposed to represent? What makes it even worse is that they went to one of the most disliked career fields in the Air Force today, finance. Thousands of airmen show up to work everyday while deployed because that is the expectation. It is an insult to everyone out there when you read what they got it for. I personally have deployed 6 times and TDY’d 17 times since I joined the Air Force in 2003. I have two Achievements to show for it. Some may say that’s a failure on my leadership, I consider it a standard. Showing up to work home station or deployed is the standard. You want some recognition, exceed it.

  2. My concern was not me getting a medal but getting my troops home alive with all fingers and toes. My troops made me sucessful so I made sure they were awarded for it. Unfortunately thet were denied by people who were Arm Chair Commandos. The whole system is unfair and this proves it. Before I left Iraq I wrote over 25 packages and all were turned down by their units. Why? The system needs to fixed. I don’t blame those TSgt’s I blame the leadership.

  3. SSGT Airborne on

    We all know this goes on, BSM given out to further people’s careers for just doing their job. Honestly we’ve all seen awards given to people for doing their job to minimum standard. We has a BSM given to a Captain for sitting in a bunker in Kuwait for four months watching other people do data entry. It’s how it goes.

  4. Criticism is more than justified. And all the criticism isn’t aimed at the individuals, it is aimed at leadership. AF leadership is a joke as they give one another Bronze Stars and Combat Action Medal submissions and ignore the Airmen who are actually doing the real work.

    I can name a half dozen dog handlers off the top of my head who have had real combat action. These men have killed the enemy, recovered the corpses of our fellow combat warriors and yet they have recieved zero recognition. I know of one in particular who has been attempting to get his combat medals, including Purple Heart for years. Yet, no one in leadership has contributed more than 5 minutes to him. Despite the documented proof of his injuries.

    So when criticism is leveled, it isn’t at the POGs, it is at the leadership who allows such a thing to occur. Those BSMs those POGs get also come with many benefits which are reserved for combat heroes. The BSM isn’t simply an equivelent to the MSM, it has a much greater implication to it as society and even most of the military doesn’t understand the difference between combat valor and meritorious service.

    The Marine Corps doesn’t give almost any BSMs out for meritorious service. I know for a fact they even had a standing order that no BSMs were to be given for meritorious service. If a person did something meritoriously, they got a MSM.

    So I have no sympathy for those 2 because they are feeling the backlash of the combat fighters who have been neglected by leadership. We have handlers who have blown up and killed the enemy who leave the AOR with nothing more than a hand shake and a good game.

    Give me a break…

  5. TSgt Somebody on

    SSgt Everybody, you are the problem with our Air Force today. Whining and crying because you didn’t get “yours”. Go out and do your job, excel at it and engage your leadership to make sure you are recognized. You have no idea what these 2 NCOs did to EARN their Bronze Star. If you can do nothing but insult our fellow Airmen for what they’ve achieved then you don’t belong in OUR Air Force.

  6. I’m an Airman living in a predominately Army area so I alway hear about how I’m weak and scared because I chose the Air Force. Honestly, if the Air Force had volunteer deployments for combat oriented jobs I would probably be the first to volunteer.

  7. AF MSgt (Ret) on

    I think before people critize the two members who “earned” the Bronze Star they should read the criteria for the award. If they had been in combat, they would have also been authorized to wear the V device.

  8. The Bronze Star (without combat V) is the appropriate award for meritorious service in a combat zone. Ergo, it is the exact counterpart of an MSM but in a combat zone. The AF has handed out MSMs to junior NCOs at the cyclic rate compared to the military historically….I’ve seen more MSMs on admin pogues at the local AF base admin shop than I’ve seen in entire Marine battalions. That is fact. The Army has handed out more valor awards to battalions than the USMC has given out to regimental size units. For those who don’t know, Silver Star and above bumps retirement pay 10%. Full disclosure…I received an MSM for my role in the invasion of Iraq with I MEF, in-country, on the ground….strangely, the field grade officers all got BSs….The MEF G-1 at the time…a total clown, said, and I quote “I don’t give a damn what the regs say” as he continued to ignore The Naval Awards Manual and gave the CG bogus advice. Another issue was senior officers demanding BSs instead of LOMs, they wanted another ribbon and already had LOMs….when BSs were recommended for less senior officers and SNCOs they were downgraded with the explanation…that’s what we give to principal staff officers…

  9. and by the way doghandler…that action (no meritorious BSMs) was in violation of the regs in force up until they rejiggered the NAVMC…there literally hundreds of erroneously awarded MSMs that should have been BS…and as I’ve noted those were to those not in the field grade and above ranks.

  10. Pingback: Air Force In Crisis Mode as BSM Fallout Continues « thelittlep

  11. I have been unable to read the actual story, so I dont know all the facts except what posted here. BSMs can be awarded for meritorious service but if your only deployed for 6 months what did you have time to accomplish that was above and beyond? In my experance you show up and do your job (in the army) you get a ARCOM, if your an officer or Sr NCO and do a little more then your job you most likly get a BSM. I have AF medics that work for me and I dont see how any of them could rate a BSM for showing up.

  12. No use in getting angry over the BSM (historically considered a combat award) being awarded to a finance clerk. That happens in every war and I’m sure everyone can think of a few people I know personally that got awards they didn’t deserve. But how frakin dumb are AF PAOs? Most units are smart enough not to try to turn a finance clerks BSM into a feel good news story. Some AF PAO was dumb enough to try and now some dumber PAO thinks that putting this on the cover of the AF Times is going to make things better. I’m sure there was some airman at that base that did something a bit more newsworthy that week.

  13. Tsgt ridiculous on

    Outrageous, the problem with the Air force is that support is a bad word. People are so out of touch, they forget that people are actually fighting terrorists. That’s right, even if you are deployed, you can be in a support role. Unless you are directly hunting terrorists or are exposing yourself to them, you are supporting the war. This is an important role, but Not a combat role deserving of a BSM. It embarrasses me when I am deployed at a support base and people at the Fox sports lounge think they’re at a forward operating post. Please take a moment and respect those serving outside the wire not recieving awards for doing their jobs.

  14. There are some EOD techs who have several BSM’s. Along with Purple Hearts. No V device for the BSM. Techs that have been killed or maimed doing their jobs have only a BSM w/o ‘V’ and a Purple Heart. This is for ‘just’ doing their job. After all this and a clerk gets one for showing up to work everyday, having never once gone outside the wire. To get one for good attendance is just plain old disgusting. Maybe someone in power ill review those naked BSM’ and set things right. Some of those, I am convinced, should be upgraded to Silver Stars.

  15. I read the first story in a JBSA base paper about one of the female TSgts, which cited some of the actions for her BSM…really no different from what she do home station, except she was downrange. The following week another story was in the same base paper about an AF JTAC warrior that was hit by an IED, not once but twice, lost his eyesight, continued to return fire, then aided his brethren in combat by rationing out his ammo so they can continue to engage the enemy. He was also awarded the BSM, but with Valor. Two things: one, how can you even compare these two and put them in the same category? And two, what else is being overlooked by AFCENT leadership?

  16. I don’t agree with most of these comments. When i saw these sgt’s that got these awards i looked up the criteria and they fit it. I was mad at first but u cant be mad at them just understand that if u are a good writer u can get your troops any award they are put in for. Now for me I have been in for 6 and a half yrs and have been deployed 6 times and countless tdy’s. My first deployment i was put in for an achievement medal and turned down due to the fact that CENTAF had a 10% policy and you know what i did i tried harder quit complaining. If these really are techs and staffs that are complaining like this you all are the problem with the air force. LEAD BY EXAMPLE!

  17. Msgt Nomerit on

    Bullying? No sorry that would be Bullsh*t. Interesting how fast the BS flag goes up when it’s that obvious. The people involved in this backlash know it’s BS. the people that wrote and approved the medals know they are BS, and most importantly, the people that received them know they are BS. A medal will stand on the merit of it’s citation. These won’t and don’t. A job description, inflated by superlatives and superfluous numbers, does not a BSM make. Oh it might be legal so to speak, but lack any real merit. You whiners that support this tripe just hope you get yours before everyone starts to actually read them before they sign them.

  18. My civilian brother read this and called to ask why he shouldn’t be awarded for balancing his checkbook while he was at his civilian job.

    The point is the Civilians that we are accountable to read these BSM awards and question the validity. While the criteria for being in a Combat zone was met, was the intention and image of the BSM meet. The Civilian population is wading in and rightfully so. If the BSM is inflated, and it does happen every war, when will we get it right? Until then, the Civilians that vote in the our political leaders, will pass judgement in the voting booth, which will have an affect on the congressional budget vote…

  19. Through the military, there has been and always will be fraud in awarding its members. Those that are true heros hardly ever get recognized. The value of military awards has been degrated so heavily that an old Marine like me is not impressed with any one who is wrapped aroud the axle about awards. Your true valor and virtue comes from your combat experience. Garrison duty has its place, but the true test is in a combat situation. That medal means nothing if the action did not merit the award. The honorable thing to do would have been to refuse such an award for less than worthy efforts. Only a coward or selfish individual would accept false acalades. My award was better than any medal they could have given me. I brought alll my Marines home in one piece. My efforts helped win the war. I will always remember the great times we had in that miserable place. In this world medals mean nothing. God doesn’t give a dam if you got one or not.

  20. I am active duty USAF and have deployed three times; one of which was outside-the-wire duty embedded with US Army. I can speak directly about the justification (or not) for BSM awards.

    First of all, let me state that the derision expressed toward these two airmen awarded the Bronze Star is misplaced–it’s not their fault they got put in for that medal. The fault actually lies with the chain of command above those airmen that failed to preserve the integrity of that decoration.

    Secondly, I respectfully disagree with a previous writer who stated, “The Bronze Star (without combat V) is the appropriate award for meritorious service in a combat zone. Ergo, it is the exact counterpart of an MSM but in a combat zone.”

    This is false. This perception comes from a myth that said The Meritorious Service Medal is not authorized to be presented in a combat zone, and this is not correct. The MSM can indeed be awarded in a combat zone, and in fact is actually the more appropriate decoration for the vast majority of Bronze Star Medals (BSM) awarded to personnel who operated in air-conditioned offices.

    The BSM is an award intended to specifically recognize ground combat duty (and in fact was originally intended in World War II to be called “The Ground Medal”, as a counterpart to the Air Corps “Air Medal.”) General George C. Marshall, in a memorandum to President Franklin D. Roosevelt dated 3 February 1944, wrote:

    “The fact that the ground troops, Infantry in particular, lead miserable lives of extreme discomfort and are the ones who must close in personal combat with the enemy, makes the maintenance of their morale of great importance. The award of the Air Medal has had an adverse reaction on the ground troops, particularly the Infantry Riflemen who are now suffering the heaviest losses, air or ground, in the Army, and enduring the greatest hardships.”

    Hence, the “Ground Medal”, which was officially released as the BSM, was deliberately intended to be restricted to those personnel who experience the often miserable existence of ground combat troops, those troops who in today’s military work “outside the wire.” Put another way, and in my opinion, if you don’t step outside the safe perimeter of your base nearly every day of your tour, if you are not wearing full kit and carrying a rifle nearly every day, then you should not be eligible for a Bronze Star (meritorious service.) This is not intended to disparage your valuable contribution to the mission. If you do an outstanding job in your air-conditioned office at Kandahar or wherever, and if you are carrying a large amount of responsibility, then you should be appropriately considered for recognition with a Meritorious Service Medal or AF Commendation Medal. The spirit, intent, and integrity of the BSM MUST be preserved. The BSM must be reserved for personnel engaged in ground combat duties outside base perimeters.

  21. SSgt Common Sense on

    I think there need to be some issues cleared up, especially in the realm of the Air Force Times (and other agencies) going out of their way to justify these BSM awards. First, saying that these medals are justified because they were awarded under meritorious service is bunk. The AFAM, AFCM, and MSM are all awarded for meritorious service as well. If the official citation reads anything like the description in the Air Force Times article, then there is no plausible way that you can justify these BSMs on meritorious service. The Lackland award reads like a solid AFCM, maybe an MSM. What so many people fail to understand is that airmen and NCO’s are doing exactly the same things as these two TSgt’s are doing, in regard to impact and contribution, and are getting (in most cases) the appropriate medals for those contributions. A finance NCO, pricing a security system (while significant), DOES NOT rise to the level of a BSM. Please stop insulting an already insulting situation by trying to justify it under the realm of meritorious service. Airmen at all levels of leadership are criticizing this, I suggest you listen to that criticism instead of calling people “small minded”.

  22. Airman Snuffy on

    They deserve all the bashing the working side of the Air Force can dish out. Finance does not produce “Sorties” and to be honest I dont care if my pay get’s messed up while I am in the desert, my mind is more set on the rockets and mortars raining down on us on a day to day basis sitting out at EOR. When I get home I can deal with the money issues and get my pay fixed. So in all reality finance did nothing for me over in the desert. I think they deserved a Commendation Medal at best, but a bronze star?!!?!?! NFW!!!

    I fear for the human race if this is the kind of leadership we have in our military.

    It will get ya!

  23. Michael Wise on

    I’d actually have to agree with the commenters. People can be cruel sometimes when they are seriously passionate about a subject, this obviously being one of them. This doesn’t excuse their behavior, but if I was either of the two air women, I would have never accepted that medal. Maybe a lower level achievement medal would have been more proper. I know of Marines who do their job, which is much more physically demanding and mentally strenuous, everyday with not so much as a pat on the back. And I think that may be society’s fault in general. No one should be rewarded simply for doing their job. Exceptional performance should be acknowledged, but again, the way they chose to go about these instances was wrong.

  24. Earl D. Taylor on

    I personally have had the honor and pleasure to serve this great nation side by side with one of the bronze star recipients. Therefore I can speak from firsthand knowledge when I say that I have no doubt that the duties she performed down range were executed beyond reproach. I’m sure the leadership that awarded her this prestigious award share these exact same sentiments. However, I’m not sure why her fellow comrade-in-arms would make a mockery her significant achievement and even worst question the decision of our leadership who deemed her worthy. This makes me afraid that technology has escalated the concept of freedom of speech beyond the common sense of my fellow comrades who feel that it’s okay to demise our fellow service member through cyberspace while hiding behind fictitious names and call signs via social media. Nevertheless I’d like to take the time to say job well done and congratulations on this prestigious award. I will go to war with you ANYTIME!! Earl D. Taylor, 1st Lt, USAF.

  25. Jason Terrale Wimes on

    First and foremost, I am amazed at all of the creative names that each of your parents decided to name you. I applaud them for that. Secondly, the award system is designed to be reviewed by numerous people, and those of which have the rank and positions 99.9% of the people who have commented on this matter do not have. If leadership saw fit to award these two individuals for what they felt like was above and beyond work for there country, who are you to say otherwise? You should have a sense of pride to know you serve in a country where everyone’s contribution to the war fighting effort is appreciated no matter what career filed they are in. Who is the enemy here? So now we are in the business of turning on each other when our brother and sisters in arms are doing what we all have sworn to do? Next time you get that EPR/OPR I challenge you to take it back to your supervisor and tell them you are not worthy of your “firewall 5” or your “meets standards”. Gamez I will ride with you until the end! Squad Memebers For Life. Jason T. Wimes, 1st Lt, GA ANG 116th Air Control Wing

  26. Jason Terrale Wimes on

    First and foremost, I am amazed at all of the creative names that each of your parents decided to name you. I applaud them for that. Secondly, the award system is designed to be reviewed by numerous people, and those of which have the rank and positions 99.9% of the people who have commented on this matter do not have. If leadership saw fit to award these two individuals for what they felt like was above and beyond work for their country, who are you to say otherwise? You should have a sense of pride to know you serve in a country where everyone’s contribution to the war fighting effort is appreciated no matter what career field they are in. Who is the enemy here? So now we are in the business of turning on each other when our brother and sisters in arms are doing what we all have sworn to do? Next time you get that EPR/OPR I challenge you to take it back to your supervisor and tell them you are not worthy of your “firewall 5″ or your “meets standards”. Gamez I will ride with you until the end! Squad Members For Life. Jason T. Wimes, 1st Lt, GA ANG 116th Air Control Wing

  27. I think it’s time for the Inspector General (at the request of the SECDEF) to pull all the narrative of AF BSMs so the SECDEF can do a little housecleaning. Why is it that so many 0-6s and E-9s are running around with these ribbons?
    Ma and Pa Kettles around the country see these medals as representation of heroism in combat…and the PAOs have been cramming the ‘perceptions are everything’ nonsense into our heads in PME for eons.

  28. SSgt Common Sense on

    I’ve been in a position of seeing decoration reviews. I acted as a CCE within my squadron for a year and I saw first hand what decorations did and did not get approved for. I’ve even spoken to a former commander who shook his head over this. The citation for TSgt Gamez does not read like a BSM (regardless if it’s for meritorious service). You also say, Lt, that we live in a country where everyone’s contribution is appreciated, that in itself is the problem with these BSM’s. When cops, firefighters, maintainers, and other various career fields give just as much (and in many cases more) than what has been cited here, we don’t feel like we’re appreciated. We are gracious for the decorations we are awarded, and are disrespected when we see others given inflated awards, many times at our expense. So if you cannot appreciate why these BSM’s anger so many Airmen, then you need to put yourself in our shoes.

  29. Joshua St. John on

    I have also had the distinct honor with Taylor and Wimes to be a member of the 116th (Squad Member) with the Bronze Star Recipient Gamez. As a matter of fact she was the one who trained me on a small part of the things she did while deployed and it is directly because of that training that I sit in the position I sit today. The amount of knowledge that Gamez contains is immeasurable. While we were all in Georgia together we saw how bright of star Gamez was and we watched her get praised time and time again for her efforts because she deserved them from awards to her reputation on base for getting missions accomplished when others couldn’t. What did we do? We didn’t talk about her and say how she didn’t deserve anything she got. We tried to get to her level and embraced her so that she could possibly rub some of that shine off on us. Gamez is an amazing Airman and I have to agree with the Lt’s. It seems like we live in an age where people walk around saying they love haters but is that really the case? It seems more like we want to tear down the accomplishments of others because we didn’t get one. As a matter of fact it amazes me that when I found the article on Gamez I sent it to everyone I knew and Gamez congratulating her on this amazing accomplishment and I was proud to know her. Then what happens I read a month later in the Air Force Times that people are ripping her apart for not “deserving” the medal. I was dumbfounded. Honestly, how would you feel if you received one of the greatest honors in the military. Then you have the AF portal feel they have to explain why you fit the criteria to get that honor? In an answer to one of the last comments I read you say it’s hard for someone to read that a finance troop gets this honor, and yes it is an honor, because she was not saving lives or diving on a bomb. Well let me ask you this would you agree that finance has to be one of the most underappreciated jobs in the military and yet we are one of, if not ALWAYS the most popular offices on base. And yet no one can ever see how finance impacts ANY and EVERY mission in the Air Force.

  30. SSgt Common Sense on

    Sir, it is increasingly difficult to appreciate what finance does for us when we are tasked with doing more and more things ourselves. A significant amount of that “popularity” you speak of is Airmen visiting finance because their pay was screwed up. Eventually, there will be no more finance because they will have reduced their ability to help others to the point that the position will no longer be justified. If I can go to a database program to fix all of my financial issues, why do I need to visit the controller?

    Now, to the meat of the point. Saying that TSgt Gamez is being insulted because she didn’t deserve a BSM for her accomplishments is false. If she received a MSM (the more appropriate award based on her citation) then very few people would be complaining. The Lackland paper could have ran the same story and gotten zero backlash from it. It makes me feel good that so many of you are coming on here to defend her character and actions, as I’m sure she is a fine NCO, but you’ve done nothing to justify her actions warranting a BSM.

    Look, the Air Force has gotten into trouble over awarding the BSM in the past. Kosovo in 1999 saw the DoD step in to investigate the sheer volume of BSMs awarded as compared to our sister services. At some point, our leadership created the incorrect precedent that BSMs can be handed out for “just being there and doing a good job”. That was wrong, and it led to the Mickey Mouse culture of Air Force decorations that is criticized by our sister services (and in many cases rightfully so). I highly suggest you scroll up and read GS Jockey’s comments (on 19 April) to see when and where the BSM was misused. It was designed to be a “Ground Medal” to compliment the Air Medal in 1944. Since then, it has been watered down to the point that we see in the case of TSgt Gamez and countless others.

    I will close by saying this, if you think these BSMs are truly justified, are you prepared to do so on the premise that you are right while so many other people are wrong? The Army is laughing at this, the Navy is laughing at this, the Coast Guard is laughing at this, the Marines are laughing at this. Countless others in the Air Force are disappointed by this, and a strong contingent of Air Force leadership is disappointed by this. So, when you say that this is simply a matter of TSgt Gamez being a really swell NCO and that others are just jealous they didn’t get theirs, I say look harder at what I spelled out above.

  31. Wow so they just handout BSM’s for doing what is expected of you? When I saw this my heart sank, from what I have understood this medal is for people who were in combat, I see this as a disrespect toward all our members that are actually fighting the fight (without air conditioning), I understand without “money” things wouldn’t get done, but without the courage, motivation, blood and sweat, that money would be a waste and the mission a failure.

    You might say “hey she deserves it for doing a good job” yea okay, THAT’S WHATS EXPECTED…. To any that fought and made it back and looked out for their own thank you.

    @Gunny my heartfelt thanks, your courage is admired, I salute you, comradery over medals…..POW/MIA you will never be forgotten…

  32. ForceReconS4 on

    @JoshStJohn and 1stLt Wimes. You guys are totally drinking coolaide. Heck, I wouldn’t be surprised if you also received a BSM for being POGs…you probably wrote yourselves up for it. “Squad Members for Life”? Wimes, you’re a 1Lt, is that some sort of love proclamation? It smacks of how blurred the relationship between AF officers and their enlisted is. She’s a junior enlisted. “Gamez I will ride with you to the end!”??? Where to…the DFAC? You’re a 1Lt, what the heck do you know about service, boot? Hilarious. Don’t assume that senior Officers aren’t reading (and laughing) at the defenses for these CHairmen listed here.

  33. Its easy to fix the Bronze Star Medal by awarding it for { Meritorious Combat } !!! NOT MERITORIOUS SERVICE OR ACHIEVEMENT!!! Keep a combat award for combat regardless if its not with V-device !!!!!! The Military has allot of people who risk their lives like Infantry everyday but don’t qualify to be the main hero by fate.{{{ WHY HAVE WE TAKEN THEIR RISKING THEIR PERSONAL LIVES FOR GRANTED CLAIMING ITS JUST THEIR JOBS!!!!! }}}

  34. What is Meritorious Combat???–Risking your very life in an engagement with the enemy but not being the main hero in the engagement with enemy forces. This would show that we have respect for our fellow soldiers who risk their lives in actions with direct contact against enemy forces regardless of rank!!! RANK DOES NOT IMPLY COURAGE IN COMBAT !!!!

  35. Back in W.W.2. Meritorious Service had a different meaning then it does now !!! The Military awarded The Bronze Star for combat actions that would merit a C.I.B. for direct combat or engagements with the enemy. The C.I.B. meant that the soldier was in actual combat. That by itself was enough to warrant an award of the Bronze star for meritorious service because the soldier risked is life in an engagement with the enemy regardless of rank!!! Rank has no place in awarding combat awards!!! THEY GAVE THE AWARD FOR MERITORIOUS COMBAT !!! WHAT IS SO HARD THAT THE PEOPLE IN THE MILITARY CAN”T FIGURE THAT OUT!!!

  36. The abuse of the Bronze Star Medal is in awarding it for non-combat [ as seen ] in the military’s numbers of awards given for Meritorious Service. The desk jocks only look at this as meaning { NON-COMBAT }! The other side of this coin shows that those who actually are in combat are not being recognized at all with this award because they don’t have the rank. This was also abused in the Vietnam war the same way!!!! The problem shows itself when one looks at those that were killed in Vietnam were in the ranks of E-1 to E-4 with 75% of those were infantry { NOT SUPPORT }!!!

  37. In WW2 ONLY INFANTRY THAT HAD BEEN AWARDED A CIB RECEIVED A BRONZE STAR FOR MERITORIOUS SERVICE. Tens of thousands of Army INFANTRY did {{ NOT }} get this award of the BRONZE STAR FOR MERITORIOUS because they had not engaged the enemy in direct combat to receive a CIB !!!!! This means only one thing {{{SOLDIERS }}} COMBAT WAS THE REASON TO BE AWARDED THIS MEDAL !!!!!!

  38. Rank has nothing to do with awarding the Bronze Star for Meritorious Service !!! If it did , then all the other wars were wrong in awarding it to PVT’s, PFC’s CPL.s !!!! PUT THAT IN YOUR PIPE AND SMOKE IT LEADERS !!!!!!

  39. I just dont wear mine, to embarrasing especially after I read what guys had to do (and die sometimes) to get a BSM in prior wars. The write ups always seem to have the words: “move” “against” “enemy” and “fire” in them. I was awarded one as part of a blanket policy for being staff at a headquarters. Damn embarrasing!

  40. The Bronze Star can be awarded for non combat under regulations and I as a retired soldier I have no problem with that. The problem is a bigger one when the award is not being awarded for soldiers in combat actions and only requiring a V-device to justify their performance to be recognized for an award of a Bronze Star medal. The Army is violating this award under its Regulations not to be awarding it to soldiers who actually engage the enemy !!!! The regulations state it is to be awarded to any soldier serving in any capacity while serving in the Armed Forces of the United States !!! This is not a rank oriented medal like the M.S.M.!!!!! The regulations are different !!!!! That’s why during W.W.2 PVT., PFC.,T/4 and CPL received this Bronze Star Medal !!!!!!!! Then in 1947 it was expanded for all soldiers that received the C.I.B. because to receive the C.I.B. an Infantry soldier HAD TO ENGAGE THE ENEMY IN DIRECT COMBAT. A large number of Infantry [ DID NOT GET THE C.I.B. } BY FATE they never had to engage the enemy so were not qualified for an award.

  41. Any officer who has award approval authority that claims Justification of the Bronze Star Medal as a Combat Zone related M.S.M. is totally wrong !!!! Any Officer who has award approval authority that claims The Bronze Star Medal for Meritorious Service is only entitled to any NCO’s and above are completely wrong!!!!!!!! The Bronze Star is to be awarded to {{{any soldier while serving in any capacity !!!! }}} RANK IS NO FACTOR IN AWARDING THIS MEDAL AND V-DEVICES ARE NOT THE ONLY FACTOR TO BE AWARDED A BRONZE STAR FOR COMBAT REASONS!!!!!!!!



  43. @Michael Cox – no, it is not by regulation to be awarded only to people in those ranks. However, it does by regulation denote a level of service which is generally commensurate with those ranks, so de facto it becomes tied to rank. No, it may not be awarded to anyone in ANY capacity, the capacity must be tied to a level of service commensurate with the level of the decoration. Also, in previous wars the cases of PVTs and others in junior grades receiving the award were either for valor, or in the case of WWII when they made the determination that all who earned the CAB were also entitled to the BSM, which changed for later conflicts.

  44. You all need to stop. They were awarded the medal, end of story. If you were in their shoes you would wear it too. Grow up, keep your opinion to yourself and go about your business. NOTHING is going to change no matter how much you cry.

  45. In W.W.2 Bronze Stars awarded during the war were commonly not awarded W/V device in the Infantry !! The V device was available but rarely given. In 1947 again the Bronze Star was awarded { NOT WITH V/DEVICE }. To ALL INFANTRY WITH A C.I.B. !!!!


  46. In non-combat supportive units in a combat zone you can award the Bronze Star Medal for Meritorious Service with regards to rank and responsibility and proficiency.

    In an actual combat engagement in the Infantry all ranks share the same risk of life. The Bronze Star for their Meritorious Service was created to value their lives and respect the FACT that they, not support risked { all } as a citizen of their country. The Bronze Star w/v device would be awarded to those in the same action that stood out as individuals!!!! ITS NOT THE SAME GAME AS AWARDING SOLDIERS IN SUPPORT UNITS !!!!!!!


  48. @ Michael Cox The BSM was created in 1944 following the creation of the Air Medal to ensure similar recognition for the sacrifices of ground troops. There are several big problems with your argument:

    1. When it was created, it was the only medal decoration to recognize such performance. The Army Commendation medal was created in 1945 as a citation, and not given as a medal until the 1960s. The creation of an award beneath the BSM changes the nature of how the award is presented. Just as the Silver Star and even the Medal of Honor used to be given more broadly because of a lack of lower level awards, the creation of those awards both raises the status and the requirements for earnign those decorations.

    2. Yes, all CIB recipients in WWII were retroactively authorizd the BSM in 1947, but it wasn’t EXCLUSIVE to earning th CIB. Many also received it who did not receive the CIB. Again, the reorganization of medals post-WWII with the addition of different medals changes a number of factors. What you are saying about the BSM would be true today -IF we did not have the Commendation and Achievement Medals.

    The result of all of this is we have a hierarchy for valor and for meritorious service.

    Valor: CMH, Service Cross, SSM, BSM/V, ARCOM/V, AAM/V
    Meritorious Service: DSM, LOM, BSM/MSM, ARCOM, AAM

    Level of valor and level of meritorious service determine the appropriate decoration. This generally corresponds to level of authority for service which generally correlates to rank. Yes it is unfortunate that some use a shortcut and just say that rank determines dec, but if the person is doing the right job it should correlate properly.

  49. The Army Commendation {ribbon ] was available as an award and was retroactive back to Dec.7th 1941. The V-device was also available. 5 Star Gen. Bradley who was the head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1947 had no problem with connecting the Bronze Star to the C.I.B. and awarding it regardless of rank like the Army did during the war !!! The Army Commendation was available also as a ribbon an cold have been given to recognize people with the C.I.B. but was not. The C.I. B. is a Qualification Badge and only denotes you actually were in a direct Combat engagement to qualify. Its a highly prized badge in the infantry it stands for what you are, not what you do in combat.

    Bronze Stars can be awarded to E-1 to E-4 in the Infantry in today’s Army in direct combat engagements !!

    1. If you are dead.

    2. If you are dead and receive it with a V/device.

    Reasons for not getting it :

    1. If you get wounded regardless how many times you engage the enemy.

    2.your rank !!!

    3.Actually risking your life in actual combat that very few in the army do over and over from one combat engagement to engagement.

    At the end of war find out most that died was in the ranks of E-1 to E-4 !!!!

    For Non- combat just show up with enough rank !!!!!!

  50. Your opinion of the Bronze Star is why so many in war that risk their lives aren’t noticed in today’s twisted regulations just to keep it form the common soldiers of lower ranks for which this decoration was intend for !!! Sure, regulations do give it to non-combatants but completely have forgotten why this decoration came into existence!!! To quote 5 Star General Marshal { Infantrymen in particular } I don’t see it in today’s wars of dis-respect of the lower rank’s !!!!!!!

  51. The key word on the ARCOM is “Retroactive,” as is the same key word with tying the BSM to the CIB in 1947 retroactive throughout WWII. Again, this speaks to its role during WWII alone and not after the role and status of the decorations were reorganized when new medals were created. In Vietnam, 170,626 medals were awarded for valor and 549,342 were awarded for meritorious service, which again is differentiated from the Commendation Medal by the level of meritorious service, so this is by no means a new issue.

    Your answer seems to be ‘everyone gets a trophy’ and that will in turn give everyone recognition, rather than instead de-valuing the decoration itself. Yes, there is lots of BS surrounding the dec and I earned two MSMs in combat tours for which I also earned a CAB so I have as much reason to be frustrated about it as anyone, but you are simply talking nonsesne here. The BSM in WWII was a fundamentally different creature than it is today because the entire system looks different. Your proposed solution would make the issue worse by essentially de-valuing the BSM when other decs/devices already exist to recognize exactly what you are speaking to (and the idea that our soldiers in combat are not receiving recognition just causes me to shake my head).

  52. I don’t blame either of these two Airman for receiving their Bronze Star…I blame the Air Force Captain that wrote them and the chain of command for not having the common sense to downgrade to the appropriate medal. The write up in the article is more in line with an Air Force Achievement or Commendation medal.

    I have seen some of my fellow Airmen get Bronze Stars simply for “being there,” worse, I’ve sat through some of the narratives thinking to myself that there was no way one person could have accomplished all that in 6 months, when they hadn’t accomplished anything over the two years previous to their deployment…

    I have also written and saw awarded three Bronze Stars for Meritorious Service…these guys were in the red zone working with Special Forces getting the real bad guys…some of these SF guys weren’t awarded anything close to a Bronze Star. To watch some finance Airmen working on an installation get the same medal I wrote for my troops is disheartening. They absolutely deserved a medal…just not this one.

  53. Michael, yes other medals do exist in the Army but none are combat decorations only given in a combat zone. All trophy’s should not be given exclusively to upper ranks but since you received 2 MSMs that shows me they are given to soldiers of rank and are rank oreinted. NOW why do you think the Bronze Star should be given exclusively to upper ranks as well, when regulations state — To be awarded to ANY SOLDIER while serving IN ANY CAPACITY !!!! THE MSM DOES NOT STATE THAT. SINCE WHEN DOES BEING IN COMBAT IN A COMBAT ZONE DOES NOT QUALIFY FOR A COMBAT DECORATION { BECAUSE } OF ONE”S RANK???????

  54. The Problem with the Bronze Star for Meritorious Service is simple-{its tied to rank} not combat or non-combat JUST RANK FOR PROMOTION POINTS. HANDED OUT BY HIGH RANKS FOR HIGH RANKS !!! TO HELL WITH REGULATIONS IF YOU HAVE ENOUGH RANK !!!

  55. The Bronze Star is still being abused. It is given out like candy to all sorts of staff positions in Afghanistan these days.

    @Tom – I actually do put some of the blame on the Airman for getting them. They could stand up and say no. I have turned down awards before that I knew I should not get and insisted the chain of command downgrade them. Everyone involved is responsible.

  56. Michael Cox, I’ll explain this once more very simply:

    In WWII, two decorations were created simultaneously in a scramble to give ground troops the same morale boost as the Air Medal – the CIB and the Bronze Star.

    After the war, when the dust had settled, they recognized this problem, opted to award the BSM to all troops who had earned the CIB in WWII to fix the problem up to that point, and reclassified them from that point on – The CIB would be awarded for all troops involved in actual combat, the BSM would be a decoration for either valor in combat of a level beneath the Silver Star but greater than the Army Commendation with V, the Bronze Star would be for Meritorious Service in combat of a level below the Legion of honor but above the Army Commendation medal. This is the system that went into effect from roughly 1947 on.

    The official criteria spelled out in the original criteria for giving the award fails to make the same distinctions because it predates the creation of subsequent and similar awards. When the BSM was created there was no Commendation medal, but when the MSM was created (in 1969), it was created specifically to fill a gap for non-combat meritorious achievement between the Commendation and the Legion of Merit that the BSM was filling in the combat role. You’re looking at a bit of a reverse causation here – the MSM was modeled after the BSM, it is not the case that the BSM is being turned into a combat MSM.

    Finally, once more, it is not tied to rank, it is tied to level of meritorious service. Rank is also tied directly to level of service, so there is a strong correlation between the two which, yes, sometimes goes too far and in some commands becomes part of the criteria for decoration. No, this should not be the case and if a Corporal is doing the work level of a MSgt, he should be put in for the same dec. But 99.99% of the time he will not be doing that level of work.

  57. The Bronze Star Regulations states- To be awarded to any member of the Armed Forces while serving in { any capacity.} The level of performance for a private is his level of capacity in his performance and a level of a General is his level of performance in his capacity !! The Bronze Star is not an award based on a soldiers level of responsibility !!!

  58. The Army Commendation with V-device is a combat award for combat and is awarded because the valor was not at the level to warrant a Bronze Star Medal. The regulations does not mention the level has to be higher to receive a Bronze Star with a V-device. So the Bronze Star for Meritorious Service can be awarded for a Combat action. LOOK UP THE REGULATIONS GOVERNING THE ARCOM With V. !!!

  59. Logic apparently wasn’t your strong suit. The “V” device was added to the medal after that reg went into effect, and its very writing recognizes the BSM as a step above the ARCOM for combat, both for valor and for meritorious service.

    Seriously, find another hobby, because you’re not very good at is one.

  60. Michael: Your logic only says if you have low rank and you risk your life in combat, to receive an award for valor it has to be awarded either a Army Commendation with V-device or Bronze Star with V.


    SORRY but NOT for rank’s behind a desk FOR NON-COMBAT. You don’t seem to see the difference WHY???

    I am a Vietnam veteran from the 173rd Airborne Brigade. I place great value on soldiers who risk their very lives in direct- combat knowing if they fail in their level of job performance regardless of rank they are no longer part of this world. They can’t do it better the next time like those HIGH NCO’s in the rear. To place your job performance in giving higher awards in the rear shows complete dis-respect in the value you place in other soldiers life’s in war. Play your silly games with your level deserves higher awards but you can forget about respect from your fellow soldiers just because you claim rank that makes you exclusively entitled.

  62. Logic is irrespective of emotion derived from position – that is the essence of reason. Also, learn to post once at a time, multiple post just make it look like you are unable to contain your thoughts. And no, there is no level of combat valor award between the ARCOM w/V and the BSM w/V, for any rank.

    Once more, the level of award is tied to either level of valor or level of meritorious service. The awards guidance, derived from the EOs responsible for outlining the criteria for those decorations, make that abundantly clear. This does not mean that rank = level of award, but rank should = level of responsibility, which in turn suggests the appropriate level of meritorious service.

    The U.S. Code:
    “(1) Heroism. Awards may be made for acts of heroism, performed under circumstances described above, which are of lesser degree than required for the award of the Silver Star.
    (2) Meritorious achievement and service. Awards may be made to recognize single acts of merit and meritorious service. The lesser degree than that required for the award of the LM, must nevertheless have been meritorious and accomplished with distinction.”

    The ARCOM:

    Your main beef is that the wording is explicit with regard to award for valor, but only implicit with regard to achievement. The ARCOM can be awarded for meritorious service in combat, and the implication within the BSM criteria post-WWII (which was clarified beyond what it was during that area as I already stated) shows that the level of meritorious service must be ‘meritorious and accomplished with distinction.’ The implication, long recognized, is that the ARCOM is awarded for meritorious service at lower levels of service. It’s a pretty simple concept.

    And yes, it’s irrelevant, but I already stated I am a combat veteran of two wars and yes I have plenty of combat decorations (which can onoly be earned in actual combat, not support) to show for it.

  63. There is nothing wrong in awarding the Bronze Star for Meritorious Service for combat. Its all about what is brought to the wars regardless of rank.Why does a soldiers rank in their level of performance out way that of soldiers that risk their very life’s in battle. What exactly are you High ranking NCO’s in the rear and supportive units losing if you don’t do a good job. NOTHING !!! Compare that to a E-1 to E-6 in Combat that risk his life and career and all he or she is in this world. SORRY, but you are not playing the same game in war !!!

  64. You do know that actual combat Decorations are not combat decorations that only can be awarded just because your in that ZONE. Actual combat decoration are awarded for actual engagements against the enemy that occur within that zone. A very small percentage of soldiers are in that group. While hundreds of thousand soldiers receive combat awards never to see combat !!!

  65. They were Iraq and Afghanistan, while working for the Air Force while serving with Army infantry units when I was engaged in actual combat (that’s how I earned my CAB and my AFCAM, not just for collecting HFP/IDP). Just as those E-1s – E-6s serving in combat get the CIB/CAB for their service the way the BSM was originally designed in WWII but has since been modified. Beyond that, for special recognition for MERITORIOUS service they can receive the ARCOM, the BSM, or the LOM for varying levels of meritorious service or the ARCOM(V), BSM(V), or higher (SSM-DSC-MoH) similarly based on the level of valor at work. The latter is much less related to rank as it is about individual acts under extreme circumstances, while the former is based on sustained level of performance over the period of the tour. If a junior rank is holding that kind of responsibility for an entire tour sufficient to earn that level of recognition, something is really messed up with their command structure.

  66. Michael: Do you personally think the Bronze Star has moved out of the hands of the common soldiers who fight in wars? In looking at its creation and Gen. Marshal’s reasons to award this medal backed up by General Bradly in 1947 no ranks had priority.One would only think it was to Honor those of lower ranks that actually have to fight the wars and risk all they are and very life’s as citizens. Its the common soldiers who win wars! I have no problem with recognizing soldiers of support but I have a real problem with leaving out those that risk all to claim they don’t deserve the lowest combat decoration [ only ] given in a combat zone and only claim they have to do something that requires a V-device to be awarded the bronze star. But the upper ranks don;t have to do something like that to get a Bronze Star Medal. Now only award decorations that are available in the states or a combat zone to lower ranks!!! This is BS!!!!
    The MSM is at the same level as a Bronze Star but a Bronze Star is NO MSM ! They are not of the same family of Merit or position of level of responsibility.
    In combat you act as a team all risking the same value you have in your own life’s!!! No man’s rank has more value then the life of the man next to him.
    The upper ranks are hijacking this medal in their own interpretation. Regulations are clearly different in both these awards. They will sell you the reason for their benefit.

  67. I was in the Infantry in Vietnam with the 173rd Airborne Brigade. I served 11 months during those 11 months I went from PFC E-3 to Sgt. E-5 had to OJT to become a mortorman. Awarded- CIB, 2 Army Commendation Medals, The Air Medal, The Good Conduct Medal. Was in action at 2:30 the morning of June 4th 1970. Attacked by 35 to 40 NVA with RPG’s,Small Arms, and mortor’s at our camp. Total camp strength-12. Three sappers killed in the camp, 2 of our guys Killed in camp. Our ambush that was sent out that night killed two more NVA from the ones that broke contact after hitting our camp for 2 Hrs. Awards given one Silver Star to a Sgt who killed the sappers. Two Bronze Stars w/ V award to our two killed both PFC’s.

  68. Again, you are talking about its intended creation during WWII as a ground equivalent of the Air Medal, and the 1947 order retroactively awarding it to all personnel who received the CIB in WWII because of the criteria and uneven awarding of the decoration (as you can see in the regulation, this only applies during WWII: Sec 3-15). Yes, it has changed, as have a number of other things. In 1947 when the decision was made to retroactively give it to all CIB restrictions, they also decided to separate the criteria for the CIB and the BSM, as the CIB was performing the role intended for the BSM. The BSM was thus elevated to a higher award for valor or exemplary meritorious service in combat operations, while the CIB filled the original mission for which the BSM was envisioned. The biggest changes came in the early 1960s, when most of the medals were overhauled to bring some clarity to the system:

    – 1960: Army Commendation Ribbon upgraded to medal, authorized for wear with or without V to denote meritorious service or valor.
    – EO 11046 ( ) changes the criteria for awarding the BSM by specifically authorizing the SecDef to set criteria for its award, which is set in the federal code ( ), which requires the meritorious service must be ‘The lesser degree than that required for the award of the LM, must nevertheless have been meritorious and accomplished with distinction.” From this point on, The BSM would function similar to the ARCOM but to denote higher levels of valor and meritorious service. You can see these changes go into effect in the award history ( ) where 395,380 were given in WWII (no V at that time), 30,359 in Korea (also no V at the time), but in Vietnam it shifted to 170,626 w/V and 549,342 w/o). We can argue the merits of whether, as a result of the new criteria, it is given out too freely, but that is a separate discussion from the one we have been having.

    1969: EO 11448 establishes the MSM, motivation was to be a peacetime/non-combat equivalent of the BSM ( ). So, in a way, this post of yours was correct, although not as you intended:

    ” Michael Cox Says:
    July 16th, 2013 at 10:22 am


    No, the BSM is not a combat zone MSM, the MSM is a non-combat zone BSM. The CIB fills the role that was originally envisioned for the BSM.

  69. There is very little difference between a high ranking NCO doing an excellent job in a combat zone or in the states, There is a strong difference in a Pvt. risking his very life in combat to end his military career and life on this planet.

  70. Tat is why the Private gets the CIB and the NCO does not. Again, the BSM and CIB were created at the same time to recognize the same thing by two separate channels. After the war, they tried to rectify this by saying they would retroactively give all who were awarded the CIB the BSM, but from that point on the BSM would be a merit/ valor award for higher levels and not a combat service award, which is the role the CIB would fill from that point on.

  71. How many NCO’s and Officers do you know that wear the CIB or CAB???
    How Many awards that you received can’t be awarded in the states?
    How many good conduct medals awarded in a combat zone are combat decorations?
    Can the AFCAM or ARCOM be awarded in the states?
    Can The AIR MEDAL be awarded in the states?
    Can a Bronze Star be awarded in the states?
    The only 2 Qualification badges just to show you and I were in combat are the CIB and CAB !!
    The only Actual combat decoration given { only } in a combat zone is the Bronze Star and your not worthy of it regardless if you risk your life or how many times you get wounded.
    BUT–if your a high ranking NCO or Officer in the rear not engaging the enemy or risking your life you get a COMBAT AWARD ONLY GIVEN IN A COMBAT ZONE!!!!
    If you only look back at other wars you would see that the Bronze Star was given to any rank that engaged the enemy!!

    In Vietnam we had PFC’s SP/4 SGT’s S/SGT receive them for Meritorious Service for engaging the enemy but at that time the army was trying to only award E-5 and above for Meritorious Service or Achievement. The V/device on the Bronze Star is only used to denote a special act of valor by a individual soldier but does not mean to only award that soldier for the action that others were also risking their life’s.
    A very small number of soldiers engage enemy in war and risk their life’s. Its fate for the most part to be in an action in a war.
    My father in W.W.2 was in the Infantry on the front lines.
    He was in Co. E 397th Infantry 100th INF. DIV. There were 389 men in his company of that number only 253 received the CIB because they had engaged the Germans in actions.

  72. Michael: Go to D-Day Militaria On the web and see for yourself how many CIB and CMB were awarded to the 3 Infantry Regiments in the 100th INF. DIV. 397th,398th and 399th then go to the !00th INF. DIV. Roster SONS OF BITCHE 1944/1945 on the web for the total number of Infantry in those 3 Regiments. Over 2000 Infantry in that Divisions Regiments did not receive the CIB !!!

  73. I posted this yesterday with links for citations, which apparently AF Times moderators are sitting on:

    Again, you are talking about its intended creation during WWII as a ground equivalent of the Air Medal, and the 1947 order retroactively awarding it to all personnel who received the CIB in WWII because of the criteria and uneven awarding of the decoration (as you can see in the regulation, this only applies during WWII. Yes, it has changed, as have a number of other things. In 1947 when the decision was made to retroactively give it to all CIB restrictions, they also decided to separate the criteria for the CIB and the BSM, as the CIB was performing the role intended for the BSM. The BSM was thus elevated to a higher award for valor or exemplary meritorious service in combat operations, while the CIB filled the original mission for which the BSM was envisioned. The biggest changes came in the early 1960s, when most of the medals were overhauled to bring some clarity to the system:
    – 1960: Army Commendation Ribbon upgraded to medal, authorized for wear with or without V to denote meritorious service or valor.
    – EO 11046 changes the criteria for awarding the BSM by specifically authorizing the SecDef to set criteria for its award, which is set in the federal code, which requires the meritorious service must be ‘The lesser degree than that required for the award of the LM, must nevertheless have been meritorious and accomplished with distinction.” From this point on, The BSM would function similar to the ARCOM but to denote higher levels of valor and meritorious service. You can see these changes go into effect in the award history where 395,380 were given in WWII (no V at that time), 30,359 in Korea (also no V at the time), but in Vietnam it shifted to 170,626 w/V and 549,342 w/o). We can argue the merits of whether, as a result of the new criteria, it is given out too freely, but that is a separate discussion from the one we have been having.
    1969: EO 11448 establishes the MSM, motivation was to be a peacetime/non-combat equivalent of the BSM. So, in a way, this post of yours was correct, although not as you intended:

  74. Very good Info- When are they going to come out with a Combat Decoration {only awarded in a combat zone for soldiers who risk their lives for their country in actual combat who don’t qualify to be the hero of the day } OH! and one that upper ranks can’t change regulations to serve their ego’s to make false claims of being one !!!!

  75. That’s what the CIB, CAB, and CMB do today. Many senior rafters try to fake it with the EIB, but everyone who knows anything knows the difference.

  76. Michael: I’m glad you received the new CAB. The military for years needed to recognize those of other MOS’s who were in actions with a badge of their own.
    Remember- its a qualification badge that is honored by those who have engaged the enemy directly.
    Being a Vietnam Vet I have to say it sure does look like they have taken the Bronze Star Award away from the common soldier if you look at each war and the rank’s that receive it.I would be a liar not to say rank is not exploiting it to serve their promotion points.

    What would you think of a Bronze Star certificate that said [ For Meritorious Combat }!!! It might let all those who think that job performance in the combat arms and their merit is totally different than those in supportive roles when you evaluate them. I know the cost is fair more greater to the soldier.

  77. But that was true even in Vietnam. It’s been interesting seeing some comment on ‘medal inflation’ acting like it’s a new thing, but Colin Powell’s bio had a nice section lamenting the over-awarding of the BSM, Silver Star, and Air Medal back during that conflict. I do agree that the whole medal system needs an overhaul, but I think we’d come down differently on where those changes would come.

  78. Everyone has a different perception in war and everyone’s opinion is based on his place in that war. Most war movies show the ugly side of war. Then there is a side of war behind a desk. Those are hard for me to evaluate and value with the same respect I have for the lives of people who have to play for keeps and risk all they are and what ever rank they hold.
    A good example is the drone medal!! You really have to ask yourself if those who have the power to understand what war is, really share any concept you have.

  79. There are three reasons to award the Bronze Star in today’s military based on the way the military issues this medal.

    Two reasons are non-combat performance and only one for combat valor.

    A valor performance like all valor awards goes to the soldier for a particular act in combat for his success in engaging the enemy.

    { new ] Meritorious Combat is to respect soldiers who risk their lives in actions but contribute to the success of a combat action.

    The CIB, CMB, CAB is { NOT } a decoration !!! The intent for these badges is only to recognize a soldier was in a combat action { A Qualification Badge } !

    This way the Military can award this decoration for 2 combat reasons and 2 non-combat reasons.

    { NOW }Soldiers can get Purple Hearts Multiple times but still not qualify for a Bronze Star based on rank. This is pure B.S. and leaders know it.

  80. I actually still support the DWM, but like you say it is because I have a different perspective on warfare. From the Civil War through WWII, land maneuver was decisive and bravery was directly linked to accomplishment of military objectives. Today, most valor medals are given because troops were put in a bad position by poor leadership decisions and forced to fight their way out and save one another along the way. Bravery is still important, to be sure, but not as directly tied to achieving military objectives as it once was.

    The result of his system is, unless we take away points toward promotion and make medals invisible to promotion boards (ie, make them all about recognition for bravery), we end up in a situation where we reward those on the ground with the best tactical skills, but ignore those who are actually putting together and executingt he missions that are winning wars. If we continue to tie medals to promotions, we need a way to recognize both sets of skills otherwise we are screwing ourselves over.

    And BTW, he Air Force chose to make their CAB equivalent a decoration (the AF combat action medal) because it was seen as a step above a ribbon, but the Army saw a badge as being more important than a decoration because it would be worn with all uniforms.

  81. I was in 3 TICs, none killed on any thankfully, but seven injured significantly in one, five bad enough to be sent home with several still in rehab almost four years later. In the first one, where I received the CAB, I heard two bullets whiz by, probably within 3-5 feet before hitting an embankment behind me. We were able to call in air support to neutralize the attacking force in that one as we were on a patrol doing community outreach and not equipped to mount a counteroffensive.

  82. Michael: Its interesting to look at your point of view and how you support the DWM. What rank were you ? Are you retired from the military? Why do you think the DWM is needed as a combat award for those who are completely protected from harm or risk?

  83. 1. I am still on active duty and choose to leave my rank out of it, and 2. Because I believe awards and decs have long been for things beyond bravery. The DWM was designed as an alternative to the DFC, which can also be awarded for specific aerial achievements independent of valor. The DWM was designed basically to keep RPA drivers from getting the DFC (they can already receive the Air Medal and AAM), but ironically eliminating the DWM is more likely to result in giving them the DFC which would be of higher prestige, rather than giving them a separate and clearly distinct medal to recognize the differences.

    Further, as I aid war has significantly changed. There is a reason all the MOHs given in recent conflicts have been for saving lives of comrades rather than the older models – the Sgt York, etc – who took hills and magazine nests to win battles. It used to be, under systems of maneuver warfare from the Civil War through WWII, there was often a direct correlation between valor in combat and achieving military objectives. Today, it is less so as a military operation executed properly should have sufficient fire support so as not to put troops in such a precarious defensive position requiring the heroism of Gangjal or Keating. Recognizing that level of heroism is extremely important, but shouldn’t exclude those who are performing extraordinary feats to win the strategic war.

    The key example with RPAs was the mission to get Hussein’s sons in Iraq, with RPA drivers flying 600 hours of missions to find, track, monitor, and target those two, with a large number of analysts fusing the information to make it happen. An F-16 pilot is re-directed to drop a GPS-guided JDAM on the target facing no surface to air or air to air threat. The F-16 pilot got a DFC for the mission, the RPA drivers got a letter thanking them for their help. That’s fundamentally wrong in my eyes and the way our promotion process works that will perpetuate a system that emphasizes an obsolete way of war.

  84. You are a minority in your thinking of the DWM. Yes warfare is changing but I think this concept of winning wars in a safe area kills a soldiers perspective of war when so many still have to face the wars the old way. I get a strong feeling your in the Air Force and even stronger feeling your rank leaves you out of a lot of combat. What is TIC ? I have never heard that in Vietnam. It was either Contact, or Firefight, or engagement.
    Wars are different now I agree!!!!
    You know how bad things can get when a Company of men can go out to fight the enemy on search and destroy and no one comes back !!! Co. A 2nd Battalion 503rd Infantry 173rd Airborne Brigade June 22, 1967. Gone with one sweep in less than an hour.

  85. I never heard so much about Drones until after 9/11.
    It would make a great way to knock down two towers if Al- ENEMY had that tech! OR maybe we did.
    IT sure seems funny they use them all the time now doesn’t it ???
    Rotten eggs if it was true for blind people.

  86. Michael: The reason I ask what is your rank is, that it plays a important part in your perception of what war is and how that factor plays into your opinion on awards. That’s why lower ranks bleed more often then upper ranks. Prove me wrong !!!!

  87. TIC: Troops-in-contact, the modern word for a firefight.

    Yes, back then we lacked the capability of persistent air coverage and full battlespace awareness that enables broader situational awareness and rapid reaction for support. The RPAs were developed for the most part in the 1990s, first used for ISR over Kosovo, and first ordered to be made to fire missiles in 1999, which became operational in 2001, that’s why you didn’t hear of it until 2001, and once demonstrated production and training of pilots didn’t really ramp up until 2008.

    That’s the essence of net-centric warfare, we don’t need to send people out like that nearly so often, and when we do we do so in ways where they have overwhelming fire support on call to extract from those situations. This is why entire companies don’t get lost like that anymore, and why like I say the medals as awarded on current criteria give a skewed vew of the war as they are often earned as a result of someone above those who earn the decs massively screwing up, as was the case with COP Keating. A lot of Silver Stars and a DSC/MoH for a unit does not necessarily mean that unit was vital to winning a major operation as would have been the case in the World Wars or even up to Vietnam, but is more often an indicator that that unit’s higher-ups screwed them over and put them unnecessarily in a really bad position. I would like to see us work to tie awards to achieving military objectives, but yes sadly I am in the minority there.

  88. And again, my rank is irrelevant to the debate. I’d argue the perspective on medals from those who are close to the fight, while valid, are colored by emotion when reason should dictate the discussion.


  90. It’s hardly a video game to all the terrorists we’ve turned into pink mist. The goal isn’t to put yourself into a position to die for your cause, it’s to make the other guy die for his. Nothing immoral about finding better ways to kill the adversary (the Catholic Church once declared the English Longbow to be immoral and unlawful for that very reason), and for our military to get better at it we need to find ways to recognize all those for their contributions. Or maybe you’d rather we all just go back to fighting hand to hand as the only true form of combat?

  91. Why not award medals for pushing a button with that kind of thinking ??? You like to be way of base to justify a position !!! That doesn’t fly with anyone’s reasoning !!!!

  92. It’s not about just pushing buttons, it’s about all the work that goes into figuring out exactly where and when the bombs need to strike. When talking Find-Fix-Finish, of F2T2EA (whichever lingo you want to use), you favor a system that privileges ‘Engage’ above everything else, when it is increasingly becoming the smallest part of the kill chain and in many cases the easiest, but have no problem giving the people in that step a medal whether they truly faced danger or not. If you want to do that, the. Remove promotion points and promotion visibility of medals earned. Otherwise, I care about rewarding people for their contribution to winning the war as much as for their valor under fire.

  93. Michael : Face the facts ! The military does not make hero’s out of wantabee’s hero’s who don’t risk anything !! The idea of the DWM does not gain respect from fellow soldiers who risk their live’s and should not claim respect without that risk. Your opinion is baseless! Why are you personally motivated by this!!! Is it promotion points? OR are you a wantabee ?

  94. Do you mean a ‘wannabe’? Do you mean ‘heroes’?

    It’s not about heroism nor is it claimed to be. It is about recognition of who accomplishes the mission. Heroism is less and less correlated with mission accomplishment, it is increasingly correlated with bad leadership decisions making soldiers vulnerable. Great that we recognize their valor and heroism, but we need to recognize the accomplishments of others as well.

    Go read up on the DFC and the many non-valor reasons that award has been given. The irony of your position is that, by denying a DWM, you will end up just assuring RPA drivers get DFCs instead. I’d rather they get something that is clearly different, but apparently that is just me.

  95. The Defense Meritorious Service Medal or the Defense Superior Meritorious Service Medal are available for non combat. So what is your problem about these awards that are higher than the MSM ???

  96. 1. The DMSM is the MSM when awarded by the DoD or a joint command rather than a service so it isn’t higher. the Defense Superior Service Medal the Legion of Merit are together in the same boat one rung up, and the and the DSM is a rung above that. The problem is, except for the LoM (and not really given in that role since pre-Vietnam, and I think it needs to go back to being given for achievement at times ), each of these awards are for sustained meritorious service, not for individual achievements as is the DFC. This is the issue. Below and including the BSM, there are decs to recognize achievement, valor, and service. Once you get above the BSM/MSM level, there is a gap for achievement that I believe needs to be filled.

    2. Dropping bombs on people and destroying both targets and fielded military forces is combat. Exposing yourself to enemy fire is not a necessary prerequisite to define action as combat.

  97. If you are firing at an enemy with a longer range rifle than they possess or with long range artillery against lightly armed insurgents, are you engaging in combat? Absolutely.

    If you are engaging in an air-to-air campaign when you have stealth capabilities, BVR missiles, and data-linked targeting capabilities squaring off against a third or fourth generation fighter who you can shoot down without them likely knowing you are there, are you engaging in combat? I would still say yes and I’d think most would agree.

    If you are firing cruise missiles from a ship in the Indian Ocean or a B-52 over the same ocean against targets in Iraq and Afghanistan (with zero enemy threat to your aircraft or ship), are you engaging in combat? Both the AF and Navy, as well as DoD, say yes. We even created the “combat Readiness Medal” for crew positions, to include missileers who never left CONUS, in the Cold War.

    Where is the line of combat? It is not the level of personal risk, it is your role and responsibility in the kill chain. That is a reality of warfare.

    And no, I’m not interested in it, would not be eligible based on my career field and have plenty of combat decorations, thank you. This isn’t about personal glory, this is about making the system work in the best interest of national defense.

  98. NOW BACK TO THE BRONZE STAR !!! If the Bronze Star for Meritorious Service was wrong to give in other wars to ranks of E-1 to E-6 because of rank then what change happened in the regulations that made it only eligible for higher NCO’s and Officers only ???? NOTHING SOLDIERS !!!! NOT A DAM THING !!! ONLY PISS ANTS WITH RANK NOT WORTHY TO BE LEADERS TO CLAIM RESPECT FOR THEIR FELLOW SOLDIERS !!!!!!!!

  99. EO 11036 {1962 } It still states- to be awarded to { any person } while serving in { any capacity }!!! A private serves in his capacity because his rank {is} his capacity !!! What part of that do you not understand !! IT DOES NOT STATE THAT THE RANK IS RELEVANT! SHOW ME !!!

  100. It must be that Officers and upper ranks look at this Bronze Star medal in only one way. —{How can I best have it serve me for my benefit than give it to the lower ranks ????}

  101. “This order shall supersede Executive Order No. 9419 of February 4, 1944, entitled “Bronze Star Medal”. However, existing regulations prescribed under that order shall, so far as they are not inconsistent with this order, remain in effect until modified or revoked by regulations prescribed under this order by the Secretary of the department concerned.”

    The EO empowers the SecDef to set the policy for its award criteria. The SecDef in turn has delegated that to the services, through their instruction/regulation process, to further define that criteria. Within the AF, for instance, AFI 36-2803 spells it out in Table 3.8. The BSM is awarded for Valor “in combat to a lesser degree than required for the award of the SS.” and for meritorious service ” during
    armed conflict that are of a lesser degree than that required for the award of the LOM.”

    Based on that alone, your assessment may be correct, until you continue reading. First, the MSM:

    “Outstanding non-combat meritorious achievement or outstanding non-combat meritorious service to the United States. Normally the acts or services rendered must be comparable to that required for the LOM.”

    Sounds a lot, back to your OP, like it IS a non-combat version of the BSM. Then to the AFCOM:

    “1. Meritorious achievement and service. The degree of merit must be distinctive, though it need not be unique.”

    Does not have a specific caveat, but implicitly it is for a level of meritorious service below that of the BSM/MSM. Then, read into comments on the AFCOM:

    “2. Do not award to general or flag officer grades (O-7 and above). Place emphasis on award to outstanding company grade officers and junior NCOs whose achievements and services meet the standards.”

    So, here is where the rank begins to creep into the process (and explicitly in the regs). A CGO/NCO going their normal duties exemplifies the level of service required for a COM, a level above that = an MSM/BSM, etc. That is further codified into the local award crtierias as established by CENTCOM, CENTAF, etc.

    The difference with previous conflicts, once again, is that there are more awards now and thus require more details to differentiate who gets what for what level of performance. The Air Medal dates to 1942, the BSM to 1944, and the AFCOM to 1958. Just like how before WWI, the Medal of Honor was readily given out for any act of heroism because it was the only decoration available (read some of those MoH citations from the Indian Wars, some would barely merit a commendation today), we now have two tiers of awards below the BSM to recognize lower levels of meritorious service to try to preserve the prestige of the BSM.

  102. So why is the merit of those that risk their lives in the lower ranks in actual combat aren’t credited to having a higher degree of performance of their jobs in combat when they risk the value of their life’s so much more then those behind a desk? Or are we claiming that doesn’t count or that is just what is expected of them. Combat arms an support units live in two different worlds !!!

  103. “Combat arms an support units live in two different worlds !!!”

    They used to, but that isn’t as much the case these days. But besides that, we are talking about ‘meritorious service’ and not valor. No, I don’t believe those who sit at a desk should be eligible for the BSM and I believe those in combat roles likely shouldn’t be put in for MSMs (the system is messed up ther), but that is different from the question of the level of service required for those decs.

    But back to one more point, from the AFI (which is also mirrored in the other service regs):

    “3. Members of the Armed Forces of the United States who were awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge or Medical Badge for exemplary conduct in ground combat against an armed enemy between 7 December 1941 to 2 September 1945 may apply by letter to the Department of the Army for award of the BSM. ”

    This shows in the regs about the issue of overlapping recognition for the CIB and the BSM. If your interpretation was correct, there would be no reason for the terminal date of 2 September 1945, everyone who earned the CIB/CMB (and now CAB) should also automatically earn the BSM even to this date. This shows that those badges recognize what you want the BSM to recognize (combat service), while the BSM recognizes exceptional meritorious combat service, the kind associated with a higher leadership position.

  104. Meritorious Combat service is not associated just by rank or level of responsibly. It is also measured by sacrifice and risk to complete the mission at any level of responsibly. To lay claim that rank is the only factor is total contempt by upper rank’s.

    The Bronze Star with V-device should not be the only option lower ranks have to show their performance in a combat zone !! That’s why you have soldiers with multiple Purple Hearts for their service but no recognition even at a meritorious level of the BSM.

    Name one Combat Decoration { that can only be awarded in a combat zone } for Meritorious reasons to E-1 to E-6.



    REPEAT: The CIB, CMB,or CAB only denotes you engaged the enemy !!! IT IS NOT A DECORATION AWARDING YOUR EFFORT !!!

  106. “Meritorious Combat service is not associated just by rank or level of responsibly. It is also measured by sacrifice and risk to complete the mission at any level of responsibly. To lay claim that rank is the only factor is total contempt by upper rank’s….Name one Combat Decoration { that can only be awarded in a combat zone } for Meritorious reasons to E-1 to E-6.”

    No one is denying that. What I am denying, and what the Regs and history also deny, is that there are not varying levels of meritorious service which generally correlate to the ranks because ranks also generally correlate to levels of responsibility. In Combat Zones, this goes (I’ll just use the AF for consistency, the Army and Navy follow the same pattern):

    AFCOM (V), BSM (V), SSM, AF Cross, MoH

    AFAM (Normal work of an E-3 and below), AFCOM (E-4 – E-6, O-1 – O-3), BSM (E-7 – E-9, O-4 – O-5), LOM (O-6 and some E-9s), DSM (general officers)

    Yes, the exact same pattern exists for merit in non-combat, with the exception of the MSM for the BSM. And that occurred because of the timing and circumstances of the creation of the medals and because we didn’t want to clutter the process up with even more decorations. The regs pretty much spell that out when they spell out the criteria for the MSM, that it is the non-combat equivalent of the BSM for merit.


    No. It was only awarded under that criteria in WWII and Korea. From Vietnam-on, it was awarded in recognition of higher levels of meritorious service, generally correlated with rank as rank is generally correlated with particular levels of service

    “REPEAT: The CIB, CMB,or CAB only denotes you engaged the enemy !!! IT IS NOT A DECORATION AWARDING YOUR EFFORT !!”

    But you keep saying over and over again that “engaging the enemy”= the effort that justifies the BSM (“Meritorious Combat service is not associated just by rank or level of responsibly. It is also measured by sacrifice and risk to complete the mission at any level of responsibly.” – your own words). This is your central problem, there is no consistency to your argument, your claims are not backed up by history, and you seem unable to comprehend the regulations and the history when I present it to you.

  107. The problem we have is simple ; You define Meritorious Service as something not associated with direct involvement in combat actions. You define it to only mean for reasons of a non-combat nature in a combat zone.

    You completely leave out those in the combat arms of lower ranks saying their meritorious service only can be recognize to its leaders.

    You also claim the only way you can award the BSM to lower ranks who engage in actions in combat is if its awarded with V-device.

    Do you honestly understand how many who engage in actual combat you leave out from receiving the lowest combat decoration in actually risking their lives for their country?

    You evaluate non-combat higher than those in direct combat !
    The Military shows it in its numbers of awards in these wars for non-combat reasons!!!!!!!!

  108. 1. Yes and No. Meritorious service IS by definition independent of combat service (otherwise the MSM wouldn’t exist) and it does includes what lower levels do, it is simply not sufficient to warrant a BSM under the regulations, it warrants an Achievement Medal or a Commendation.

    2. If an E-2 is doing the level of work and responsibility of an E-7 or an O-4, I certainly would sign off on a BSM for that person. But that almost never happens and in fact should never happen.

    This is pretty basic, straightforward stuff.

  109. Why is risking ones life in combat not a level of work that merits higher recognition regardless of rank?
    Not all earn V-devices.
    The next war should be fought by those that don’t want to take the risk of losing their life.
    Maybe then they wouldn’t look like a horses ass in respecting the value of those that do.

  110. They get recognition for risking their lives in combat through the CIB/CAB/CMB. Merit is separate, with levels closely tied to rank and differentiated between combat (BSM) and non-combat (MSM). It’s pretty simple and with that I am done.

  111. Tell the E-1 to E-6 in the Infantry what they do has no merit in Combat Actions and those in the Army that receive the CIB,CMB, or CAB are given NO merit for risking their lives. The only ones qualified for merit are those not in combat but are in a combat zone.
    Michael that is completely wrong thinking of your fellow soldiers !!! Thanks for showing us the value you place in them. Stay at home !!!!!!

  112. No, they get credit for merit in earning Commendation Medals, which are awarded fro merit at a level below that which earns the BSM/MSM. Seriously, I cannot discuss this with someone who is incapable of reading plain English.

  113. Regulations will change to eliminate the blind bias of this decoration by upper ranks.

    Upper ranks know very well this particular decoration in its merit form is the only decoration that is exclusively awarded in a combat zone and should be available to all ranks without bias !!!!

  114. The percentage of men and women that fight and die in war make up the ranks below those who receive the Bronze Star For Meritorious Service. This is not the intent for which this decoration was created !!! To claim a CIB, CMB, or CAB is a decoration of merit is false !
    Qualification Badges and Medals are two completely different awards in the military and do not over lap each other.
    Performance while engaging the enemy regardless of RANK or MOS out ways any job performance in secured areas in a combat zone !!! To lay claim it does is a FALSE interpretation by upper ranks for self interest while in that zone !!!!!!

  115. LOUD NOISES!!!!

    Seriously, chill. I do not claim they are a decoration. You make contradictory arguments time and again because you seriously have no clue what you are talking about. You further intentionally misrepresent what I am saying time and again to the point where it really seems you have problems with basic comprehension.

    No, I did not claim the CIB or CAB is a decoration for merit. YOU claimed that those who had been in combat should receive some special recognition because, in your eyes, they contributed more by the very act of being in combat. I stated that the CIB/CAB/CMB fills that role as a qualification badge, leaving level of merit to be judged independently. When th BSM was first created in WWII, it and the CIB were created in parallel and with the exact same criteria, which led to both being awarded simultaneously. Post-Korea, once the Commendation Medal was added and the BSM/CIB de-conflicted, the BSM was placed as recognizing a higher level of merit, generally associated with leadership in combat, not simply performing your duties adequately. Had the service the chance to do it all over, it may simply be easier to just abandon the BSM all together as it is the only point on the pyramid of valor where the combat and non-combat dec are different, but as the BSM predates the MSM and they didn’t want to extend the BSM to non-combat, we get the current system. That’s what the regs all say, that’s the way it is, period.

  116. “The Combat Infantryman Badge (CIB) is an award of the United States Army which is presented to those officers, warrant officers and enlisted soldiers, in the grade of Colonel and below, who participate in active ground combat while assigned as a member of an infantry or Special Forces unit, brigade or smaller size, during any period subsequent to December 6, 1941. It was created with the primary goal of recognizing the sacrifices of the infantrymen who were disproportionately likely to be killed or wounded during World War II.”

    It was created to recognize the unique potential sacrifices of soldiers in combat, to raise esprit de corps, the original authorization refers to the CIB as an ‘award’, and this too notes that the CIB and BSM were originally created with the same criteria. The post-Korea change came to de-conflict the two and to make it so they recognized different things, which they do today.

  117. Its nice to know about the CIB!! Yes there is a difference between those who engage the enemy!! I do not agree that just because people receive this badge makes them not qualified for a bronze star for meritorious service. You put all your reasoning behind rank to protect your position and that is not right. The Bronze Star and the MSM are not the same !!!
    They are not both MSM’s but go by different names !!!

    Oh ya, this MSM is for peacetime and this MSM is for wartime but goes by the name Bronze Star for meritorious service !!!

    Face it,— that is your thinking and that is totally { WRONG } !!!

    Your opinion and evaluation is strictly rank oriented and your interpretation of meritorious service is strictly non-combat.

    Meritorious service can also be of a combat nature regardless of rank !!!!

  118. Michael: I have the after actions reports of the 1st. BN 503rd. Inf. 173rd Airborne Brigade for the first 6 months of 1970 that shows awards of the Bronze Star being awarded .

    The list of awards are separated between awards of the Bronze Star for Meritorious Service, Meritorious achievement, and those awarded with v-device.

    A large number of awards for meritorious service went to E-5 and above but also includes E-3, E-4 in the 2nd quarter in fact it shows 33 awards going to E-3 and E-4 for Meritorious Service not killed or wounded. nor were they with V-device.

    Looking at other infantry ground units in Vietnam in 1970 my Brigade was very strict at awards.

    During 6 years under a rotating system 30,000 could wear the patch of this Brigade.

    The strength of Infantry each year numbered 3200. of about 5000 total.

    Number wounded — 10,113
    Number KIA — just over1600

  119. Looking at wars in Iraq and Afghanistan of all US Forces your wars look like a cake walk so this is why it looks very strange in numbers of awards of Bronze Stars.
    The upper ranks are abusing this award in large numbers in their own selfish interpretation of regulations completely leaving out lower ranks who risk far more than where people sit on their piss ant ranks and with that you are losing respect of people under their commands !!!


  120. The Bronze Star for meritorious service in the infantry regardless of rank, is based on an infantryman’s performance in a combat action and what he as a soldier does to accomplish a task even at the risk of his life. The level of success denotes if an award of a V-device is warranted. In combat every soldier is a equal player in a team {NO RANK REQUIRED}!!!

    In Vietnam we had E-4s leading patrols with Officers going along to teach them how to stay alive. We also had Officers completely panic and out of control in a combat action.

    On March 26 1970 my platoon had a safety Officer come up to our camp and wasn’t there 4 hours when he decided to make a booby trap with a Clay-more mine. It exploded he was killed. For that he received a Purple Heart, 2 Bronze Stars one for meritorious service, and one for achievement!!!

  121. The Bronze star is awarded out of respect for some soldiers who give all to their country. This is honoring them !!! The leadership doesn’t honor rank!! They honor fellow soldiers.

    Death should not be the only requirement of the Bronze Star for Meritorious Service of lower ranks !!!

  122. No, my evaluation is not rank-oriented, it is level of meritorious service oriented. Yes, you can serve meritoriously at a lower rank, and that is recognized by a lower tier of decorations as I have explained ad nauseum.

    Code of Federal regulations, Meritorious Service Medal:
    “It is awarded to any member of the Armed Forces of the United States or to any member of the Armed Forces of a friendly foreign nation who, has distinguished himself or herself by outstanding meritorious achievement or service under the following circumstances: (1) After January 16, 1969, for meritorious service or achievement while serving in a non-combat area. (2) On or after September 11, 2001, for outstanding non-combat meritorious achievement or service in a non-combat or combat area.”

    Code of Federal regulations, Bronze Star Medal:
    “It is awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity in or with the Army of the United States after December 7, 1941, distinguished himself or herself by heroic or meritorious achievement or service, not involving participation in aerial flight, in connection with military operations against an armed enemy; or while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.”

    They sound like the exact same guidance, one for combat meritorious service, one for non-combat meritorious service. The Air Force even verbatim describes it as such: “This decoration was established by Executive Order 11448 on Jan. 16, 1969. This award was established as the counterpart of the Bronze Star Medal for the recognition of meritorious noncombatant service.”

  123. The biggest disgrace ever was a Chief at Charleston AFB who got a bronze star with valor for serving as a maintenance e-9 in Kuwait. what a joke. the reason I said E-9 is NO CHIEF would accept a medal like that for sitting in the ac and doing his JOB.. This happened about 4 years ago.. sickening..

  124. Its the level of Meritorious Service that only rank can provide ???

    So this level is not attainable if your E-6 and below.

    Awarded to any person { REPEAT, ANY PERSON } while serving in any capacity { REPEAT, ANY CAPACITY } in war meaning { RANK}!

    That MR. is a joke to all that risk their lives in defense of this nation !!!!

    Yes, The Bronze Star is the MSM of a combat zone regardless if regulations !!! { Different only for the chosen few } !!!!

  125. Lower ranks never argued over the MSM because they understood it to be a rank oriented award !!!

    The Bronze Star for Meritorious Service in a combat zone is not nor ever was meant to be considered the same as, or compare it to or evaluate it with the MSM !!!!!!!

  126. “The Bronze Star for Meritorious Service in a combat zone is not nor ever was meant to be considered the same as, or compare it to or evaluate it with the MSM !!!!!!”

    Was not when originally issued in 1944. In part because the MSM did not even exist. Once the two of them existed, yes they were widely understood both in practice and in the regs to be the same award to be given under different circumstances when recognizing meritorious service. That is exactly what the US code and the other references I have repeatedly shown say. Again, the MSM says the same thing: “any member of the Armed Forces of the United States or to any member of the Armed Forces.”

  127. Who do you know E-5 and below that earns MSM ?
    The Army Commendation actually says the same thing as the Bronze star almost word for word !!!

    Why is it your leaving out { Awarded to any person while serving in { any capacity } while serving in or with the armed forces of the United States.

    When I see the Regulations on the MSM it does not make that statement !! WHY???

  128. The MSM does not state {awarded to any person while serving in any capacity }. WHY ???


  129. It says to any person and in no way specifies a capacity, which by default means in any capacity. Why is that so hard for you to understand?

  130. Glad to see the Army finely awarding MSM to higher ranks in a combat zone like they award the Army Commendation for those who are in combat. Its really to late in the war to do much good.
    I guess higher ranks will now can be exposed to the public as being nothing more a fraud and a want a be hero in a combat zone but not getting a combat decoration for the plain truth they were never in combat !!!

  131. Most of the Bronze Stars awarded In Iraq and Afghanistan should have been MSM’s !!!
    Maybe its needed because the people in the rear think just because they are in a combat zone they are in combat. The truth is simple- The only difference in their jobs is location !!
    Like I said- Meritorious Service can be in actual combat of a lesser degree than that required to receive a Bronze Star with a V-device but its still combat. That is why you call any Bronze Star a Combat Decoration.
    You can receive a Army Commendation for Meritorious Service or Achievement for wartime or peacetime.
    The higher ranks have no problem with that awarding them to lower ranks.
    It should be the same for the MSM. in wartime or peacetime !!! Combat decorations at any level are for combat reasons !!!! Combat happens as a result of fate in a combat zone and some people’s jobs are to play with that fate at any price!!!

  132. Face it–most Airforce jocks fly into an airbase in a combat zone.
    Serve doing their jobs that year there, and fly out.

    They have to be reminded when they leave to pick up campaign ribbons because now they are experts and know just what real combat is.

    Most of them figure out that its just a location in a country that’s called a combat zone!!!

  133. Doing ones job in a combat zone: You support do your jobs and we infantry do our job.
    You can do a job and get awarded medals for doing very well like the Army Commendation because its a dual award during peace time or wartime

    In the infantry you can do your job in a combat zone and not get a CIB, Bronze Star, Bronze Star with V-device if your not in combat because those awards are for combat.

    I left Vietnam with NO Combat Decoration but I got 2 Army Commendations for doing my { JOB } in a combat zone.
    I got a CIB because I was in combat in that zone but was not awarded a combat decoration while in that zone.

    Don’t take it for granted that just because I was in the Infantry in a combat zone any medals I receive are for combat !!!!!

  134. Now why should you support people think you deserve a combat decoration over those who are in combat but don’t get a combat decoration??? We infantry do not get a combat decoration just because we are in combat and I repeat a ARMY Commendation is not a combat award !!! We get a CIB one time regardless how many times we are in combat!!!
    Now what makes your job different as to justify a Bronze Star over those in ACTUAL COMBAT ????
    BULL S##t !!!

  135. The only way lower ranks in the Infantry in a combat zone get a Bronze Star for Meritorious Service was because they engaged the enemy at the risk of their live’s.

    There is a world of difference and yes, it is a level above their jobs!!!

    This is why a Bronze Star is a combat decoration!!!

    Like I said you can do your job your hole tour but not be in combat even in the Infantry and be awarded Medals for non combat reasons for doing your JOB but not get a Combat decoration!!!

    This Bronze Star for Meritorious Service is available to all MOS but its still a combat decoration for combat reasons only!!


  136. “I left Vietnam with NO Combat Decoration but I got 2 Army Commendations for doing my { JOB } in a combat zone.
    I got a CIB because I was in combat in that zone but was not awarded a combat decoration while in that zone. Don’t take it for granted that just because I was in the Infantry in a combat zone any medals I receive are for combat !!!!!”

    So now we see what the rants are about…sour grapes.

    Time to get over it buddy.

  137. Sour grapes is not my problem but awarding Combat decorations to non- combatants is a crime against your fellow soldiers !!! That shows the mentality of low life piss ants!!!

  138. It’s our job when u sign that dotted line to show up for work. I’m a US Marine. I’ve done 5 combat dep. I did not ask for any of my medals or ribbons. I’m a grunt. We’re not medal chasers. Like some ppl. High class medals should be reserved combat related ppl. Not admin. Or POG. I was shot in the throat in Iraq in 05 I didn’t ask for it. Or a medal. I knew it might happen but like I said earlier it’s our job. Semper Fi

  139. It was a Logical move by the Army to make the MSM a wartime or peacetime award like the Army Commendation Medal is a dual award.
    It is not Sour Grapes over this award!!
    Its called false misrepresentation in a combat decoration to deliberately make the public think a soldier was in combat!!!

  140. In 1964 the Army came out with the Army Commendation with V-device.
    The total reason for this award was to take away the Bronze Star for Meritorious Service or Achievement away from the lower enlisted ranks and give them a lower award that could be awarded for a lesser degree of valor in a combat action.
    By doing this it would take an actual combat decoration from being awarded to the lower ranks and give higher ranks reason to award the Bronze Star for Meritorious Service exclusively to the upper ranks.
    Totally destroying the idea of giving a combat decoration of the Bronze Star for Meritorious Service to common grunts and soldiers who actually fight our nations wars !!!

    This is the total idea behind the Army Commendation with V-device

  141. The Army Commendation with V-device is a discredit to soldiers who have risk their live’s in combat in our nations wars only to receive a made up state side award that was made into a combat decoration with the addition of a V-device.
    The truth remains on the back of this award { for military merit } not for heroism like a COMBAT DECORATION !!!!

  142. Hmmm, my brother received the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal with a Combat V (along with a Purple Heart) in Vietnam. He didn’t think it was a discredit. Mr Cox, you’ve been dragging this on for close to a year and the story is almost 2 years old now.

  143. I was a supply troop and spent 9 years in a ACOMS unit. After two deployments and numerous TDY’s all I had to show for it was one AFAM and some other awards that didn’t mean squat. That’s what you get when your a non-comm AFSC in a communications squadron. I even saw one of my Chiefs get a BSM for going to Iraq with a combat comm unit.
    Quite frankly the awards and decorations system is not based upon what you do, but who you know.

    Tom Petty, TSgt, USAF(Ret)
    Tucson, AZ

  144. Ricky Keil and Retired T/Sgt

    Combat awards in Different Branch of Services have different meanings.
    A Navy and Marine Achievement Medal with a Combat V? The Army has no Achievement medal with a V.
    A V-device in the Army when awarded on a medal has the story of what the soldier himself did on a particular date and time in the actual combat action to be awarded this medal on the Citation that comes with the medal. I bet the Navy and Marine medal with combat V says { nothing } of personal heroism by your brother. { I am not cutting your brother down }!!! Awards are different in different branches of the military !!!!

    Retired T/Sgt.–Your right about who you know in the awards system !! Its like the { Good old Boy system] in a lot of units.
    Retired T/Sgt- What would feel like if the Military gave you a Combat Decoration like a Bronze Star and during your hole time you were in a combat zone you were never in combat but knew their were people in actual combat receiving awards lower than your award and risking their lives in actual combat?
    In the army in 1964 the Army took the Army Commendation Medal an award just for doing your job that was not a combat decoration and put a V-device on it. This same decoration could be awarded in this country for doing a good job. They then started to award it to soldiers in Vietnam for actual combat to lower ranks because these ranks would be in combat.
    Then started to award higher ranks The Bronze Star, {a combat Decoration only } for Meritorious Service for non-combat.
    This is why the problem today exist with The Bronze Star in Iraq and Afghanistan with the upper ranks exploiting this Combat Decoration at the tune of over 130,000 awarded. They all had a chance to claim they are real hero’s of war without being in real combat itself while lower ranks fight and die and are awarded state side awards with a V.

  145. To soldiers of other Branches of Service this is an example of a V-device on a Bronze Star or Army Commendation.

    -Citation- EXAMPLE


    With V-device

    Is Award To: PVT. JERRY J. SMITH

    For the actions on the night of June 9th 1969 in Phu Vin Provence Pvt Jerry Smith was sent out on a night ambush with 4 other members of C-Company 124 Infantry. Around 02:45 Hr. the team made contact with 5 VC. In a hale of small arms fire one of Pvt Smith members of his team was hit and badly exposed to to the enemy. With complete disregard in his own life Pvt Smith under intense enemy fire pulled his badly wounded team member to safety. Pvt Smith’s courage and determination reflects great credit upon himself , his unit and the United States Army.

    Now did your bothers combat V on the Navy and Marine Achievement medals tell that type of story Ricky Kiel ????

    Like I said V-devices in other Services have very different meaning.

  146. In a combat zone an Infantryman’s job does not start when you engage the enemy there are a lot of different things he has to be good at and can get medals unrelated to combat in a combat zone like all other soldiers in other occupations in the military.
    Combat is a different part of what he does but only job related like it would be for a truck driver who gets into an engagement.
    In Vietnam I received 2 Army Commendations and the Air Medal all Job related but NO combat decorations for combat actions.
    I did receive a CIB for a combat action on the morning of June 4th 1970 when my camp was hit by 35 to 40 NVA that tried to over run my camp.
    My camp only had 12 to defend it and 2 of or guys were killed and 3 enemy sappers were killed in our camp by Sgt. Larry Metheney Both GI’s killed were Sp/4 John Tillou and a kid named Sp/4 Tafoyia.

  147. Ricky Keil

    I bet your brothers Navy and Marine Achievement Medal Citation With Combat V from Vietnam reads like this:

    For meritorious service in connection with military operations against a hostile force in the Republic of Vietnam.

    Am I close ???


  149. IN THE NEWS-

    Army finely awards a Bronze Star for Meritorious Service to a father of 2 children after being wounded { NINE times } by IED’s the lest time making him brain dead after 2 tours.

    YES, Airforce accountants and REAR ECHELON TYPES be proud of your BRONZE STARS because you were in a COMBAT ZONE your rank earned them { BULL SH#T YOU LOW LIVES }!!!!!!! THIS IS A MOCKERY TO ALL OUR SOLDIERS LIVES !!!!!!!!!

  150. The Problem with so many Bronze Stars For Meritorious Service FOR NON-COMBAT can be FIXED. GET RID OF THE ARMY COMMENDATION WITH V-DEVICE and start awarding LOWER RANKS The BRONZE STAR FOR MERITORIOUS SERVICE For COMBAT ACTIONS for which this award was intended for!!!!!!!!

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