Murkowski Welcomes “About Face” on Drone Medal Status

After Senator’s Letter and Bill Co-Sponsorship, Pentagon Reconsidering Distinction

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski today welcomed news that Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is reviewing the status level for the new “Distinguished Warfare Medal” – an award with the potential to regard drone pilots higher than Purple Heart or Bronze Star recipients. The news comes soon after Murkowski reached out to the Pentagon about this imbalance and her co-sponsorship of legislation to prohibit the medal’s prominence.

Secretary Hagel announced a review by Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Martin Dempsey will be conducted within thirty days.  In addition to the review, Secretary Hagel halted production of the medals while the investigation proceeds.

Earlier this month, Senator Murkowski joined a number of her colleagues in urging the Pentagon to rethink the medal’s status level, writing

“We believe that medals earned in combat, or in dangerous conditions, should maintain their precedence above non-combat awards.

“Placing the Distinguished Warfare Medal over the Bronze Star and Purple Heart diminishes the significance of awards earned by risking one’s life in direct combat or through acts of heroism …We have listened to the many Veterans in our states that have contacted us about the precedence of this award and agree that combat awards are sacred, and their precedence is best left undisturbed to preserve the legacy of service in combat and bravery.”

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