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What Happened to Valor? A Memorial Day thread

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by JayFarrar, May 31, 2010.

  1. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    Working today, unlike most of non-media America, and I stumbled across this:

    Pretty interesting read on the lack of Medal of Honor winners since 9/11. Only six have been awarded since 9/11 while 246 were given out during Vietnam and 464 during World War II.

    The article really focuses in on one Marine who died in combat and the efforts to get him the Medal of Honor.

    It also notes a growing disconnect between younger soldiers and those in command. Basically the colonels and generals have never seen combat, while the corporals and such are all battle-hardened veterans.

    This was one of those times I wished the article was longer, a lot longer.
  2. Care Bear

    Care Bear Guest

    It reads to me that the mother never should have been told initially that her son was going to receive the Medal of Honor. This controversy would not exist had that not happened. That being said, this is a heartbreaking case. Makes me wonder if the requirements for receiving the Medal should be shifted, as the type of warfare being conducted now has shifted. I certainly understand Peralta's fellow Marines being angry at the situation. I'm not sure how a pathologist could ascertain for certain that Peralta was incapable of the heroic final actions that the eyewitness testimony seems to suggest.
  3. three_bags_full

    three_bags_full Well-Known Member

    The Army's awards system is broken. I'm going to leave this war with a bronze star because of my rank and leadership position. But, one of my NCOs who's done more and much better work than me will leave with an Army Achievement Medal, which is down the list a little.

    It's a system that needs a ton of work. It's almost meaningless.
  4. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    What's interesting, at least to me, is that in roughly eights years of almost non-stop combat in two different wars, six Medal of Honor winners.

    In Black Hawk Down, you had two. And, admittedly, what those guys did was worthy, but it seems that given the amount of time, you'd think more would have been honored for Iraq and Afghanistan.

    I know times have changed. A guy living in Vegas and flying remote control combat drones in Afghanistan isn't likely to get a Medal of Honor but you got a lot of boots on the ground and given the accounts that have appeared from some of the embed reporters, you'd think some of them would have been found worthy.

    I'd be curious to find out if the number of people who have been nominated has dropped.
  5. Baron Scicluna

    Baron Scicluna Well-Known Member

    One other factor that, to me, might be a part of this. In Korea and Vietnam, medals were sometimes given out just to boost morale for an unpopular war.

    In Halberstam's book on the 1950s, he wrote about how the Army leadership (i.e., McArthur) majorly fouled up the beginning of the planning for the Korean War, leaving soldiers to basically fend themselves. At one point, Halberstam wrote, a top guy gave a medal to a subordinate and told him to give two silver stars to two other soldiers. The subordinate gave them to the two soldiers nearest him (I think it was a mess sergeant and a ditch digger, or something like that), and once the top brass guy left, the subordinate threw down his medal, because it was such BS.

    Iraq and Afghanistan were popular wars, at least at first, so there might not have been a need for morale-boosting medals. Still, it's very shocking that there have only been six awarded in all these years.
  6. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't read much into that. At the start of our involvement in WWII it had been 23 years since any of our soldiers (including Ike, Patton, and Chesty Puller) had seen combat. That turned out a winner.

    We've been in Afghanistan for almost 9 years and Iraq for 7, with multiple deployments to both theaters for a lot of people. The lieutenants and enlisted men who started out over there are majors and NCOs now. A good percentage of today's field grade officers also saw action in the first Gulf War and perhaps in Panama, too.

    Did they spend 12 months in Nam? No. But trust me, they're as well-trained for combat as anyone and odds are most have seen it first-hand.
  7. Football_Bat

    Football_Bat Well-Known Member

    Also, I'd like to see the ratio of CMH winners per 10 thousand combat troops in each war. Obviously, in the world wars, Korea and Vietnam, a whole lot more troops served in each than did in Rummy's shoestring plan in Iraq.
  8. JayFarrar

    JayFarrar Well-Known Member

    The NYTimes article gets into the ratios.

    One has been awarded since that first story was published.

    I'm probably going to dig a little deeper on this for a story.
    Check with the local military commands to see if they have nominated anyone and then come up lacking.

    BTW, this is the Army Times article that got it rolling, pretty good read as well

    Story touches on the then five from Iraq/Afghanistan and how none of them were living.
    After reading it and the Times's pieces. I really get the impression the top military people are terrified of a Pat Tillman-like situation where the military promotes someone as a hero and then it falls apart under close scrutiny.
  9. cyclingwriter

    cyclingwriter Active Member

    I'll point out one thing that may explain the ratios. And this is according to an Air Force pilot I know, so this is what he told me, the winner of the Medal of Honor gets a full raise in rank. That is why you don't see living guys get it anymore. No one wants to promote the guy below him or see another guy get bumped ahead.

    So, while the ratios of MOH winners to soldiers is down, I will wager the number of MOH compared to deaths is not.
  10. Double J

    Double J Active Member

    Just to clarify, Chesty Puller didn't see combat in WWI, although he did in Central America between the wars.

    Ike, meanwhile, never saw combat. EVER.
  11. printdust

    printdust New Member

    A huge salute to the troops and the "hearts" that sent them to defend us.

  12. wicked

    wicked Well-Known Member

    Even if true (and I've never heard that), it shouldn't matter, since decisions on the MoH are made by the Pentagon, not field commanders. Several living service members have been nominated in recent years, as the Army Times piece suggests, but the administration hasn't signed off on it for whatever reason(s).

    And FYI, the person who receives the Medal of Honor isn't a "winner," it's a recipient.
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