Medals and Awards

Blackfive pointed me towards a post by a Marine Major currently serving in Iraq. The portion that I want to discuss is down near the bottom.

Napoleon’s bewilderment likely arouse from his observations of the staff officers who surrounded him 24/7. My review of more than 250 Bronze Stars awarded thus far in 2004 seems to bear this idea out.. Of those, nearly 90% went to officers. Of the 100+ Bronze Stars with the “V” device I reviewed the ratio was substantially better with 60% of the awards going to officers.

I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that of the Bronze Star awards that went to enlisted soldiers, most of those went to senior (E-7 and above) enlisted personnel. I can make this statement without much fear of contradiction because this is the exact same phenomenon I observed after Desert Sheild/Storm back when I was a youth. The lifers gave each other awards. I am not shocked to find it happening again. I'm not saying it's right, but it is the way the game is played. It is much more important as an officer to have the appropriate awards and get your ticket punched than it is as an enlisted soldier. So, the officers tend to buddy up and give each other awards because they all know it's necessary for the career track. This isn't the case for the enlisted troops. If you're a competent NCO and attend the right schools, you'll get promoted. It's pretty much a no-brainer. The awards or lack thereof don't affect the process much. I've had First Sergeants with fewer awards than I had as a Specialist (not counting the NCO Professional Development ribbon and similar fluff). The senior enlisted troops that got these awards were the NCOICs of the staff sections at squadron or regiment, i.e. the NCOs that spent all their time with officers.

Please note that this applies only to the Bronze Star without V. I can't speak to how the the Bronze Star with V devices are awarded. I don't recall any of those in my squadron, so I have no personal knowledge.


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