Defense Department scraps medal for cyberwarriors, drone pilots

The Department of Defense yesterday announced it was scrapping its plan to create a new medal to honor “cyberwarriors,” such as those who remotely pilot unmanned drones. The medal invited criticism and controversy when it was announced it would rank above the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

In a statement issued today, Sen. John Boozman (R-Ark.) applauded the decision while clarifying his opposition to the medal.

Our problem has never been the creation of a new medal for cyber warriors and pilots of UAVs, rather the fact that initial proposals intended to rank this medal higher than the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart even though it would honor service away from the front lines.

While we should acknowledge the important role that our UAV pilots play on the modern-day battlefield and recognize their distinguished service, we must recognize the preeminence of commendations for those commit acts of bravery in combat and are killed or injured in service to our nation.

As an alternative, the Defense Department has said it will create “a special pin or device that would be attached to already existing medals or ribbons.”

The decision has won some respect for new Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, but drone pilots still have quite a way to go.


Chuck Hagel orders review of new medal for drone operators and cyber warriors

Sen. Pat Toomey, Allen West question ranking of new medal for drone operators

  • Clayton Grant

    Hagel made the right call on this. A specialty pin would be more appropriate.

    • SpinMeNot

      Campaign Ribbon?

      • Guest

        Maybe that, except there really is no campaign per se.

        • SpinMeNot

          Campaign ribbons were originally created to recognize general military service during a time of war. I generally prefer the concept of awarding a campaign ribbon, versus say the WWI or WWII Victory Medals. A “An Afghanistan Drone Campaign” ribbon IMHO would be more appropriate. Given the existence of the USAF Air & Space Campaign Ribbon (wikipedia article:, AF MIL site: it would seem to be precedent. My SF son loves the drone drivers. They are good for eyes, ears, and a few hellfires if needed.

          But I do see your point.

        • EverybodyTalks

          …well sort of…there is the ongoing OBAMA campaign…Lean forward!

          • Clayton Grant

            Lean Forward is the left’s euphemism for Bend Over.

  • CatHerder

    Didn’t France fall down this rabbit hole many years ago? Awarding medals for everything under the sun, just so they looked snazzy in dress uniform.

    • Kyle Littleton

      ..sounds like North Korea

  • Steve_J

    I always thought any award should have been a “Unit Citation”.

  • Jack Deth

    Give them a Non “Nasty Gram” for their personal jacket(s) and leave it at that.

  • mike_in_kosovo

    This was a good call – now, they need to give the Purple Hearts to the Ft. Hood victims.

  • Voting Female

    What? They Dropped The #WorldOfWarCraft Metal? What’s an Xbox Jockey To Do?

    What I would like to know is who’s bright idea this was in the first place and in the second place, who promoted it above the top flesh and blood battlefield metals.

  • Kyle Littleton

    Can’t believe this idea even made it this far..

  • J.N. Ashby

    I got a bunch of medals on Halo. I’m a regular John J. Pershing! #cyberwarrior

  • Guest

    Remove some of the stuffing in the armchairs,
    turn up the air conditioning a few degrees,
    remove ice cream bars from the dining hall…
    ANYTHING to make them a little less comfortable;
    since the buffoons in Washington give them equal status to those serving in the field.