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By Colonel David Hackworth (WW2, Korean War, Vietnam War )

Proposed General Rules

Enforce the rule forbidding multiple awards for single acts or series of acts.

End forever, the practice of end of tour awards, from achievement medals through Distinguished Service Medals, for all commissioned and enlisted ranks.

Ban the practice of one service presenting its service specific award to a member of another service, and eliminate all Defense Department or joint Service awards, from Distinguished Service Medals through Achievement Medals and the Joint Meritorious Unit Award. Adopt regulations that would allow any official, military or civilian, who has the authority to award a given level of decoration to award the recipients service specific decoration at the same level.

Drastically reduce peacetime awards of non-combat medals so that in order to receive (for instance) the Legion of Merit, the recipient must truly accomplish something of outstanding value. The first circumnavigation of the globe by a submarine under the Arctic ice probably did rate a Legion of Merit. A successful tour in command of Albany, Georgia or Barstow, California probably does not. The award of a peacetime decoration should again become a noteworthy event.

Eliminate, forever, the award of military commendation and achievement medals for other than bravery. They should never be awarded for academic, administrative, artistic, athletic, logistic, or public relations accomplishments.

Eliminate, forever, the approval for wear by individuals of Foreign Service medals and unit citations, including those of the United Nations, NATO, OAS, etc. These awards could still be accepted by organizations, but would be displayed only as streamers by units which are authorized colors.

Eliminate the third echelon of unit citations entirely (MUC or equivalent), except as a streamer for display on a color. Insist on the requirement that 1st Echelon Unit Citations (PUC or equivalent) be awarded for combat only; and that the 2nd Echelon Award (NUC or equivalent) be awarded only for combat or direct combatsupport--meaning that the cited unit is supporting a combat unit, is in imminent danger of becoming involved in combat, and generally is within sound of the guns.

Eliminate most, if not all, ribbons for which there are no accompanying medals. If the cited activity is not worth a medal, it is probably not worth a ribbon either.

Finally, adopt a formal system of plaques, trophies, written commendations, diplomas, or even medals not intended for war on the uniform which will recognize superior performance without debasing the Pyramid of Honor.

The following specific suggestions for specific awards are offered:

Medal of Honor (all services); Distinguished Service Cross/Navy Cross/Air Force Cross: No change. Continue to closely adhere to the stringent standards already in effect.

Department of Defense Distinguished Service Medal: Eliminate this and all DOD or joint awards. Use service specific award where warranted.

Army/Navy/Air Force/Coast Guard Distinguished Service Medals: No change, but drastically reduce peacetime, non-combat awards.

Silver Star: No change.

DOD Superior Service Medal: Eliminate.

Legion of Merit: No change, but reduce peacetime awards, as with DSM above.

Distinguished Flying Cross: No change, but eliminate strike/flight awards based on number of missions, sorties, hours, etc.

Soldiers Medal/Navy and Marine Corps Medal/Airman's Medal/Coast Guardsman's Medal: No change.

Bronze Star Medal: No change; but, no blanket awards. Accompanying citations must include specific personal actions. No group awards to missile crews, etc.

Purple Heart: No change. But, continue to award only to military personnel and only for battlefield wounds. And, put it back where it belongs, following the Commendation and Achievement Medals.

DOD Meritorious Service Medal: Eliminate.

Meritorious Service Medal: Probably eliminate. This was intended to replace the Bronze Star for non-combat meritorious service. However, the Bronze Star (without the Combat Distinguishing Device). continues to be awarded for meritorious service in wartime; and what do we need a non-combat meritorious service award for in peacetime? It was also intended to be a junior award of the Legion of Merit. Frankly, we don't need one. Any meritorious service in peacetime which is not meritorious enough to reach Legion of Merit level is probably not significant enough to warrant a medal.

Air Medal: No change, but eliminate strike/flight awards.

Joint Service Commendation Medal: Eliminate. Use service specific awards.

Army/Navy/Air Force/Coast Guard Commendation Medals: Continue in form. Use only for combat bravery in the presence of the enemy with "V"device; or non-combat bravery (life saving, saving someone from a crime) or combat meritorious service, without the "V"device. No end of tour "thanks a lot"awards; not for recruiting; etc. And let's go back to calling ours the Navy Commendation Medal. Marines are part of the Navy Department - the best part, of course - and recipients of this medal don't need to be reminded that it is for Marines too by two clumsy extra words in its title.

Joint Service Achievement Medal: Eliminate. Use service specific award.

Army/Navy/Air Force/Coast Guard Achievement Medals. Same as the Commendation Medal.

Combat Action Ribbon: Eliminate this award entirely. A poor execution of a fairly good idea, this was intended to imitate the Army's Combat Infantry Badge, but it never achieved that award's prestige. When instituted, its guidelines were so strict that members of the south end of the patrol, the north end of which engaged the enemy, would not rate the award. It was specifically intended not to be a unit award. However, of late, it has been awarded to the entire ship's company of vessels that fired tomahawks at targets far over the horizon. I recently saw a first enlistment Navy Petty Officer with a support service rating wearing three of them. There probably should be a distinctive device for the Marine or Sailor who looks the enemy in the eye on a regular basis, but until firm, exclusive criteria evolve, this is just another merit badge. Making it retroactive to World War II was just silly.

Air Force Combat Readiness Medal: Eliminate. Give them a plaque, certificate or trophy. Bad enough when it was just a ribbon, but a medal?

Gold and Silver Life Saving Medals: No change. Hardly ever used anyway.

Coast Guard Commandant's Letter of Commendation Ribbon. Eliminate. The letter is sufficient.

Presidential Unit Citation (all services): No change. But never for non-combat.

Army Valorous Unit Citation/Navy Unit Commendation, and all 2nd Echelon Unit Citations: No change, but only for combat or direct combat support.

Joint Meritorious Unit Award: Eliminate. Use service specific awards.

All 3rd Echelon Unit Citations: Eliminate. Replace with a streamer.

Navy "E'Award Ribbon: Ridiculous! Eliminate. Paint it on the stack. (And why did this ribbon have to look so much like the Purple Heart? Those gold and white flank stripes are impossible to see at a glance.)

Good Conduct Medals (all services): No change. But, adopt a similar medal, same for all services, to be awarded to any enlisted person who is commissioned, who would have been entitled to a Good Conduct Medal, but failed to earn one solely due to having served at least one year, but less than the required time for a GCM prior to commissioning, active duty only. Call it the Prior Enlisted Service Medal.

Outstanding Airman of the Year Ribbon/Air Force Recognition Ribbon: Eliminate. Give them a certificate or a plaque.

Air Force Longevity of Service Ribbon: Eliminate. Duplicates a GCM. Go back to service stripes.

Army/Air Force/Navy/Marine Corps/National Guard/Coast Guard Reserve Medals: No change. But, award to enlisted people only. These are basically reserve "Good Conduct Medals." Officers don't get GCM's.

Armed Forces Reserve Medal: Eliminate. There is no equivalent award for 10 years active duty. Award metal devices (numbers?) for the ribbon of the various reserve medals to recognize mobilizations.

P.O.W. Medal: Eliminate. Sorry. No disrespect, to our valiant P.O.W.'s, but it is inappropriate to have a medal for being captured

Arctic and Antarctic Service Medals: No change. But, medals only, eliminate ribbons with no medal.

National Defense Service Medal: This is now in its fourth incarnation. This time even reserves on ACDUTRA get it. Let's formalize it, and make it an award for a tour on PCS orders in a non-combat area, other than for basic training/academy training/MOS training/pre-deployment training, when the country is in a state of declared war, or undeclared war of such significance that a specific campaign medal has been created to recognize it. An operationaltour (full or partial) would be required. It could also be awarded for service which would otherwise be recognized with the Humanitarian Service Medal or Armed Forces Service Medal; and those two awards could be retired.

Humanitarian Service Medal/Armed Forces Service Medal: Eliminate both. See above.

Multi-National Force and Observers Medal: An exception to the rule on wearing service medals for supra-national organization; O.K, as long as the recipient has specific orders to the assignment and no U.S. Service Medal or Expeditionary Medal has been authorized.

All ribbons from all services recognizing overseas service or deployment on ships: Eliminate. Serving overseas is what Marines, Soldiers, Sailors and Airmen do.

Army NCO Professional Development Ribbon: Eliminate. Replace with a certificate.

Army Service Ribbon/Air force Training Ribbon Eliminate! Ribbons for finishing basic training, indeed!

Air force NCO Academy Graduate Ribbon/Air Force Basic Military Training Honor Graduate/Coast Guard Basic Training Honor Graduate Ribbon. Eliminate. Replace with certificates. The 2nd and 3rd duplicate the American Spirit Honor Medal anyway.

Marksmanship Ribbons (all services): Eliminate. Replace with badges.

USMC Recruiting/Drill Instructor/Security Guard Ribbons (and all similar awards for any service). Eliminate. These awards place these duties (no matter how important or arduous) on a higher plane that a tour with a grunt battalion, in the fleet, or with force recon.

Saving the best for last....Outstanding Civilian Volunteer Service Medal: A medal, just like we got for serving in Vietnam or Desert Storm, or Korea, or the Pacific Theatre, for being a little league coach or a cub scout leader. If I have to explain why this should be eliminated, you have wasted your time reading this article, and I have wasted my time writing it.

Members of our Military are, or should be, warriors. Any other use of them is ancillary. Were there to be no wars to fight, we would not need the Military. Service people are not simply members of the "United States Military, Inc."Decorations on a Military uniform should recognize proficiency at war, period. The public should be able to correctly construe that a Marine, Soldier or Sailor wearing ribbons has been to war, possibly has distinguished himself in war; with emphasis on the word "correctly". The public draws this inference now, but is not always correct, often being fooled by someone who is a proficient clerk, or cook, or recruiter or journalist. Adopt these rules and this misrepresentation will cease, returning to the warrior without dilution the distinction to which he is entitled.


                                                                                                              USS ENTERPRISE. THEY CHANGED THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC                        AFRAID OF WOMEN SOLDIERS                                  TRAINING BUT NOT ADVANCED SEALS TRAINING. WHY THE HAT ?

                                                                                                 DONALD ( FLASH ) GORDON, DISTINGUISHED FLYING CROSS RECIPIENT                 COALITION COUNTRIES AGAINST ISIS                                                SARA PALIN AND TAYA KYLE   

                  COMBAT ON UTAH BEACH                                                    WILLARD NORBERG, YEOMAN ON THE USS ENTERPRISE                                A LOT OF MUSLIMS DESPISE ISIS                  CHRIS KYLE MEMORIAL, COWBOYS STADIUM, ARLINGTON TEXAS   


DWIGHT D EISENHOWER ADDRESSES THE 101ST AIRBORNE   USS ENTERPRISE CREW ATTACHING A BOMB TO A PLANE                                             KURDISH WOMEN SOLDIERS                                                                    EARLY PHOTO OF CHRIS KYLE


      R Lee Ermey's

       Ribbon Rack

( Minus Bronze Stars)



 R Lee Ermey is one of my favorite Actors and personalities on television. He is a former US. Marine Corps Drill Instructor and Vietnam Servicemen. On tv He is noted for Full metal jacket, Mail call and Lock N Load. He has appeared in over 60 films.




            D-Day Summary    


         Stop Military Medal Abuse             



       American Sniper--Chris Kyle     

                Colonel Teddy Roosevelt           General John J. Pershing          General George S. Patton    Fleet Admiral Chester W.Nimitz      Fleet Admiral William ( Bull ) Halsey     


                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       CHRIS KYLES MEDALS


             D  DAY BEACHES                                                                                      USS ENTERPRISE ( CV-6 )                                      Egyptian protestor Allea Magda Elmahdy - friend defecates on ISIS flag                                        

                                                                                                                   FLIGHT CREW COMMUNICATION  ON THE USS ENTERPRISE                                  ISIS KILLING CHRISTIAN CHILDREN                                                             TAYA AND CHRIS KYLE