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Pentagon Responds To Sen. Toomey On Drone Medal Rankings

Monday, Mar 11

WASHINGTON, D.C. - A new medal for drone operators and others not in direct ground combat will be ranked above some long-standing combat valor medals, according to a letter from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to U.S. Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa).

Sen. Toomey, last month, asked the Defense Secretary why the Pentagon had decided to rank a new medal for drone operators and others not in direct ground combat above some other medals for valor. Sen. Toomey received a response that said having spoken at length to the service secretaries and chiefs, Secretary Hagel was convinced the new Distinguished Warfare Medal was properly ranked among other medals.

"This is a disappointment," said Sen. Toomey.  "While I fully support appropriate recognition of all military personnel whose extraordinary actions make a difference in combat operations, I am concerned about this decision and the new medal's ranking in DOD's order of precedence. Pennsylvania's veterans and others have told me of their concerns with ranking the new medal above some combat valor medals, such as the Bronze Star Medal with valor device."

The new Distinguished Warfare Medal will be awarded to pilots of unmanned aircraft, cyber war experts and personnel involved in combat operations who are neither physically present nor in a war zone facing risks of traditional combat service participants.

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