The Distinguished Warfare Medal was established to acknowledge the most modern technology, but servicemembers and veterans are responding to the award’s creation in a decidedly old-school way: Mocking it mercilessly.
Along with an avalanche of Whiskey Tango Foxtrots and a tsunami of outrage, troops are circulating a photo of a gold-plated X-Box controller and the skull-emblazoned “Call of Duty” medal as “prototypes” of the new award, which honors servicemembers like drone pilots and computer hackers who impact combat operations from afar. The medal is being called the Chairborne Medal, the Distant Warfare Medal and the Purple Buttocks, among other names.
The Onion-esque military website “The Duffel Blog” poked fun at the new medal by posting two related stories: “Drone Pilot To Receive First Air Force Medal of Honor Since Vietnam” and “Heroic Predator Drone Is First Recipient of Distinguished Warfare Medal.”
“Doctrine Man,” an Army officer and purveyor of military humor, referred to the medal as a “pledge pin” and drew a comic suggesting that some drone pilots could earn the medal by flying a mission from the safety of the head. Then, drawing parallels to “A Few Good Men’s” Col. Jessup, he posted the comic in mouse pad form with the quote, “You need me on that joystick!”
So while the first servicemember to earn the medal will need to be an exceptional drone pilot or cyber whiz, he or she may also need a thick skin to wear it in public.