Thursday, October 15, 2015

Navy Award overhaul

Graham Scarbro nails it here.

The 2015 lieutenant with four NAMs cheapens the 1989 LT with zero, implying that service in 2015 was more valuable by virtue of the decorations awarded. Likewise, the 2015 Bronze Star for avoiding paper cuts on a NATO airfield complete with its own Dutch milkshake stand (run by pretty, blonde, Dutch twenty-somethings) cheapens the one awarded to the twenty-something infantry sergeant who braves hostile fire to complete a life-or-death mission.

This leads in to the second problem with the awards culture. Awarding ourselves all of these ribbons and medals inflates the public perception of the military. I mean, look at our leadership, they have so many decorations, they must have singlehandedly wrestled Saddam into submission! They must have exploits that rival whichever SEAL is currently claiming to have killed bin Laden! That Air Medal must have been earned on a low-level ingress over Damascus under hostile fire and definitely not by flying over Afghanistan twenty uneventful times.

Civilians are generally ignorant about awards, but they know that the MoH is an almost-holy relic in our culture, bestowed upon fewer and fewer people. The leap of logic from “Medal of Honor” to just “medal,” is not far, lending even the most mundane award an absurd gravitas in civilian consciousness.

Read the whole thing.