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I applaud the author of "Handing out awards" (letter, Oct. 23). The discriminatory practice for awarding commendations reminds me of the "good-ole-boy" system.

During Operation Iraqi Freedom 2006-08, I was recommended for an administrative Bronze Star Medal by my commander. The award was approved up through my brigade commander.

The award was submitted twice and denied both times. Upon the second denial, my commander tried to plead the case. He was informed that no specialist has ever received an administrative Bronze Star and they were not going to start the practice now.

Unfortunately, I am not the first soldier to fall victim to this discriminatory practice, nor will I be the last. I do not have the time in service or the experience to determine who is or is not qualified to receive an award. However, a brigade commander does have the knowledge and experience to make that type of decision. I’m not asking for a pat on the back or an "atta boy," I am simply pointing out a glaring deficiency in the military process.

I put my heart into my job because I care about each and every soldier in my unit. That a junior enlisted soldier cannot be recognized for going above and beyond the call of duty, unless he dies in combat (i.e., Silver Star, Medal of Honor, etc.) or until he has attained the rank of sergeant first class, is a travesty.

I grew up in the days of "Be all that you can be." I guess the saying should have gone, "Be all that you can be, but don’t count on being recognized until you have given the Army 12 to 14 years of service."

Spc. John "Rudy" RudulphCamp Taji, Iraq

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