I really started noticing it following the start of OEF when everyone from LNO to SSN Skippers starting getting them....though all they did was meet with Pakistani military officers or launch a few TLAMs. After awhile, it was very clear that, like happened in DESERT STORM I found out, if you were a Commanding Officer of anything in a combat zone, even if you did little more than avoid running aground, you received a Bronze Star in addition to your standard issue Meritorious Service Medal at the Change of Command. There are tons of stories out there like this. Well, I was reminded again in a bit from the Washington Times a few weeks ago,
In the hierarchy of military medals, the Bronze Star ranks in the top tier. But in the war on terror, some troops have been honored with the medal for going above and beyond the call of duty, while others received it for just getting the job done.Sad but true. It goes towards the North Korean like awards inflation that you see for everything. The BS has been diluted to the point that in only means something if you get the "V" for valor.
For example, the Bronze Star has been awarded to:Sad. From the same people that believe "All kids should get a trophy." Not to take away from the outstanding and exemplary service of these personnel. They deserve recognition in one way or another. But the question is, is it Bronze Star worthy? If so, do we really need those state license plates with "Bronze Star" on them?
*Army Lt. Col. Andrew MacDonald, Soldier Systems Center chief of staff, for leading a team of military and civilians in delivering equipment to troops in Iraq.
*U.S. Army Reserve Maj. Patrick Burke for "transporting a hospital" from Pakistan to Afghanistan with "no pilferage or incident."
*Marine Cmdr. Alan Hansen, deputy force chaplain, for fulfilling his role as adviser and confidant to service members of all faiths during his deployment in Iraq.
*Navy Yeoman 1st Class Matthew S. Bryan for "repeatedly being under fire in Iraqi convoys," but also for planning a party -- the "Seabee Ball -- " in Baghdad.
As the fourth-highest medal, the Bronze is awarded for heroism or "meritorious achievement or service." According to the Military Awards Manual, a "meritorious" Bronze Star medal is given to individuals whose acts are "well above the expected performance of duty." For particular acts of bravery, military members receive a Bronze Star for Valor.
In the war on terror, the military has been generous. More than 47,000 Bronze Star medals have been awarded for Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, the Wartime Award Statistics by the Military Awards Branch shows.
That is substantially more than the 30,000 Bronze Star medals given during the Korean War -- a war that involved triple the amount of troops and approximately 20 times more casualties.
Hey, I'll admit that I wear all the "salad bar" goodies ones I have been awarded - to the point the collar on my khaki shirt is starting to bounce on my warfare device and I feel like some Soviet officer. I have had a very interesting career, but at best I have been a modest player in modest roles. A Canadian, Belgian, or Brit thinks I have been in command at every conflict since Agincourt.
Just a snark here; one thing I don't like is someone who sends out NAMs and NCMs by the boat load, and only wears his "Top-3." Here is a trick I offer to anyone who is planning to get out inside this order cycle and isn't available for an IA anytime soon; next time you are at an all-hands meeting with a Flag Officer, especially one you don't like - be nice to the warfighters - and he/she is wearing only the top 3, ask the good Admiral, "I am concerned that there are too many awards being handed out to the point that they are becoming meaningless unless you earn a Purple Heart, Navy Cross, Silver Star or CMOH. Do you think the Navy has a problem with awards inflation?" If he answers "No.", then in a very respectful tone ask a follow-on, "Then why Admiral, do you only wear only your top-3?"
Remember, be nice to the Philippino civilians at Diego Garcia - they can get you anything you want.
UPDATE: A Shipmate of Petty Officer Bryan mentioned sent along his citation (I assume to be correct, but cannot get a second party verification) to the Bronze Star as a rebutttal to the post above. Doesn't change my argument any, but here it is.
FOR EXCEPTIONALLY MERITORIOUS SERVICE IN CONNECTION WITH COMBAT OPERATIONS AS THE J-7 ENGINEER NON-COMMISSIONED OFFICER IN-CHARGE AND CONVOY COMMANDER WHILE DEPLOYED WITH THE MNF-I SECURITY TRANSITION COMMAND - IRAQ, IN SUPPORT OF OPERATION IRAQI FREEDOM FROM 5 NOV TO 10 MAY 2006. RISKING HIS OWN PERSONAL SAFETY, YEOMAN FIRST CLASS BRYAN EXPERTLY LED THE CONVOY TEAM DURING MORE THAN 40 GROUND MISSIONS IN SUPPORT OF CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS IN SOME OF THE MOST DANGEROUS AREAS IN IRAQ. DURING NUMEROUS MULTIPLE SMALL ARMS AND IMPROVISED EXPLOSIVE DEVICE ATTACKS, HIS TEAM REACTED WITH COURAGE AND EXPERTISE EFFECTIVELY RETURNING FIRE TO ENSURE MISSION ACCOMPLISHMENT. AS ASSISTANT FINANCIAL DATA ANALYST, HIS INITIATIVE AND DEDICATION ENSURED THE TIMELY AND ACCURATE FUNDING, ACCOUNTABILITY, AND REPORTING OF OVER 5 BILLION DOLLARS IN MINISTRY OF DEFENCE AND MINISTRY OF INTERIOR CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS WHICH DIRECTLY ASSISTED THE IRAQI SECURITY FORCES IN ESTABLISHING A STABLE HOMELAND. HIS DYNAMIC LEADERSHIP AND NUMEROUS ACHIEVEMENTS CONTRIBUTED SUBSTANTIALLY TO THE MULTI-NATIONAL SECURITY TRANSITION COMMAND-IRAQ MISSION OF DEVELOPING AND SUSTAINING IRAQI SECURITY FORCES THE SINGULARLY OUTSTANDING ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF YEOMAN FIRST CLASS BRYAN HAVE BEEN IN KEEPING WITH THE HIGHEST TRADITIONS OF MILITARY SERVICE AND REFLECT DISTINCT CREDIT ON HIMSELF AND THE UNITED STATES NAVY"Yep, makes my point.