Morale: A Bronze Star Tragedy

“The U.S. Army has reported that some 857,000 medals have been awarded to the 1.2 million soldiers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s 48 percent as many medals awarded during World War II, when six times as many soldiers served overseas. It’s also 30 percent of those awarded during Vietnam, where 25 percent more soldiers served. This odd pattern is the result of the excessive number of medals given out during the Vietnam war.
This has not been forgotten. Five years ago, American troops began grumbling about what was perceived as disrespectful use of Bronze Star medals as ‘attaboy’ awards for officers and senior NCOs who served in Iraq and Afghanistan, or for lower ranking personnel you want to pin a medal on for no good reason (like giving an IED victim, who was just in the wrong place at the wrong time, something in addition to a Purple Heart). This inflation tends to be less with the higher awards, especially the Medal of Honor, as events leading to receiving these are extensively investigated, and often publicized.”

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