New Military Medal Causing Controversy

Mar 3, 2013

For the first time since 1944, the U.S. military has a new medal to award—the Distinguished Warfare Medal.

But the ranking of that medal has some members of Congress concerned.

U.S. Representatives Tim Murphy (R-PA-18), a U.S. Navy Reservist, Duncan Hunter (R-CA), a Marine veteran of Iraq and Afghanistan,  and Tom Rooney (R-FL), a veteran of the U.S. Army, have introduced legislation prohibiting the Department of Defense from rating the Distinguished Warfare Medal equal to or higher than the Purple Heart.

The Distinguished Warfare Medal was primarily created to recognize those who affected combat operations but weren’t directly on the battlefield, such as those who operate Unmanned Aerial Vehicles—also known as drones.

Murphy said it’s unfortunate how the new medals are ranked.

“They’re in a rank order, based upon those [that] are most prestigious are held at the top, such as the Congressional Medal Of Honor, [which] is the highest one,” he said. “But what they did, which I think is quite in error, is they took this new ribbon and placed it above the Bronze Star and above the Purple Heart ribbon, and I think that’s wrong.”

Murphy, who served at Walter Reed Medical Center, doesn’t understand why this new award is ranked so high.

“It is hard for me to fathom, that a ribbon that involves someone who is operating a joystick far far from the battlefield, should have that service ranked above that of a Purple Heart and a Bronze Star.”