Saturday, February 16, 2013

An American Advisor in Wartime Vietnam

The March 14, 2013, episode of American Heroes Radio features a conversation with Robert G. Kay, a civilian advisor to the South Vietnamese Navy.

Program Date: March 14, 2013
Program Time: 1500 hours, PACIFIC
Topic: An American Advisor in Wartime Vietnam

About the Guest
Robert G. Kay is a graduate of the University of Minnesota and currently resides in Pensacola, Fla. with his Vietnamese wife. He retired from the US Navy as a lieutenant in 1969 after being wounded and losing his leg in Vietnam. He returned to Vietnam as a civilian advisor to the Vietnamese Navy at the request of the commander of US Naval Forces in Vietnam. He held this post until the military left the country in March 1973. He then worked for the Defense Attaché Office in Saigon until the fall of South Vietnam in April 1975. He retired from Civil Service in 1997, where he worked as a supervisory repair engineer for PERA (Surface) in the former Philadelphia Naval Shipyard.  Robert G. Kay is the author of Pass Me The Rice.

According to the book description of Pass Me the Rice, “Vietnam. It’s perhaps one of least known yet most controversial wars in American history. What’s even more obscure are the tales of Americans serving in the country and interacting with the culture of war-torn Vietnamese civilians. Pass Me the Rice shares these experiences with readers.

In Pass Me the Rice, author Robert G. Kay reveals the everyday life of an American advisor during the Vietnam War in a true, historical and often humorous account of his experiences while serving the first two of his eventual eight years in country. The book provides a unique perspective on the early Vietnam War by offering a glimpse of Americans’ encounters with Vietnamese armed forces and civilians.

As an expert in Vietnamese culture, Kay’s novel also sheds light on the value of casting off ethnocentric worldviews. It offers an inside look at a country in a prolonged war for survival and a period of history frequently cast aside. “The book shows how to deal with another culture in the most dire of circumstances and why we shouldn’t judge other cultures by our own standards,” Kay says. “It is necessary to be aware of culture and avoid making mistakes that are viewed as insulting.”

About the Watering Hole
The Watering Hole is police slang for a location cops go off-duty to blow off steam and talk about work and life.  Sometimes funny; sometimes serious; but, always interesting.

About the Host
Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster was a sworn member of the Los Angeles Police Department for 24 years.  He retired in 2003 at the rank of Lieutenant.  He holds a bachelor’s from the Union Institute and University in Criminal Justice Management and a Master’s Degree in Public Financial Management from California State University, Fullerton; and, has completed his doctoral course work. Raymond E. Foster has been a part-time lecturer at California State University, Fullerton and Fresno; and is currently a Criminal Justice Department chair, faculty advisor and lecturer with the Union Institute and University.  He has experience teaching upper division courses in law enforcement, public policy, law enforcement technology and leadership.  Raymond is an experienced author who has published numerous articles in a wide range of venues including magazines such as Government Technology, Mobile Government, Airborne Law Enforcement Magazine, and Police One.  He has appeared on the History Channel and radio programs in the United States and Europe as subject matter expert in technological applications in law enforcement.

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Lieutenant Raymond E. Foster, LAPD (ret.), MPA

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Altus AFB, local community partner to 'grow' mechanics

by Senior Airman Kenneth W. Norman
97th Air Mobility Wing Public Affairs

2/15/2013 - ALTUS AIR FORCE BASE, Okla. (AFNS) --  Altus, Okla., is known for its agricultural community and an Air Force base. Together, they are not only growing crops, they are "growing" mechanics through the Grow Your Own Mechanic program.

The GYOM program is an aircraft maintenance technician internship program. It was developed in 1999 under the Student Education Employment Plan in cooperation with the Southwest Technology Center's Aviation and Aerospace program providing skilled, aerospace jobs to the local area.

"We were one of the first programs in the Air Force to take advantage of the Student Education and Employment Program," said Michael Prater, the 97th Maintenance Directorate resource management flight chief.

The SWTC, located in the city of Altus, provides the initial aircraft technical training courses in airframe and aircraft engine skills to the mechanic candidates. From there, the 97th MXS provides hands-on experience, building aircraft mechanics. After successfully completing the program, graduates may have an opportunity to work as a Department of Defense employee at Altus AFB.

"We identify the students with an end target position in the 97th MXS, so that they can grow from their trainee-apprenticeship program all the way through to the end at that same position," Prater said.

More than 161 GYOM candidates have been hired between 1999 and 2012, and 93 of those are still active. For one of those candidates, this program has made his dreams come true.

"I think it is a great opportunity," said Bernabe Mejorado Jr., a 97th MXS work leader. "Coming from where I'm from, it was just a dream to be able to work on planes. Now, it is a dream come true for me."

Mejorado first came to Altus to work in the cotton fields and then earned a job in a meat processing plant, working full-time while completing the GYOM program.

"When I was working in the fields, there was a military plane that flew by us and I was like 'There goes my plane,' and my cousin told me 'One day, man,'" Mejorado said. "So when I first started working on the planes, it was beautiful for me."

The 97th MXS is currently hiring mechanics through the GYOM program, but the process is very selective and depends on job vacancy.

"We are hiring, but we are being very selective of our hiring processes," Prater said. "We are trying to hire the very best for the future."

Panetta to Lead U.S. Delegation to NATO Defense Ministerial

American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 15, 2013 – Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta will continue in his position until former Sen. Chuck Hagel is confirmed, Pentagon Press Secretary George Little said in a tweet released yesterday.

The Senate will not consider Hagel’s nomination to be the next defense secretary until it returns from recess Feb. 26.

Panetta will lead the U.S. delegation to the NATO Defense Ministerial in Brussels next week.

Obama administration officials had expected Hagel to be confirmed in time to lead that effort.
When he announced he was leaving the department, Panetta said he would serve until his successor was confirmed.

U.S. Airmen strengthen partnerships during Asia’s premier tradeshow

by Pacific Air Forces Public Affairs

2/15/2013 - BANGALORE, India  -- American Airmen joined aviation exhibitors from 29 Asia-Pacific countries to develop relationships and to showcase U.S. air power during Aero India 2013, Asia's premier air and trade show, held here Feb. 6-10.

Airmen provided aviation spectators a snapshot of the U.S. military's diverse inventory of aircraft and equipment through several static displays and through their participation in aerial demonstrations as part of Aero India. However, their primary reason for participating in the world-class airshow was to engage their foreign counterparts and ultimately contribute toward interoperability with other countries in the Asia-Pacific Region.

"We came to [Aero India] to demonstrate our continued support for the Indians as a partner and to build relationships with other countries in this region," said Capt. Chris Nations, F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot with Pacific Air Forces F-16 Demonstration Team, 13th Fighter Squadron, at Misawa Air Base, Japan. "While we do show the latest advances of the Block-50 Viper (and other aircraft) to industry, the confirmation of the reach and presence of American airpower is important to our partners throughout the region."

The aircraft on static display during Aero India included the U.S. Air Force C-17 Globemaster III, F-16 Fighting Falcon and the KC-135 Stratotanker. Military members were available to explain the capabilities of these aircraft, highlight and explain the diversity of U.S. military missions, and share their varying experiences with interested foreign military personnel and visitors to the airshow.

During an exceedingly rare opportunity, seven members of a Chinese military delegation were given a tour of a U.S. C-17 static display and were happy about the opportunity to meet U.S. Airmen.

"I think they were a little surprised at first that we invited them on board," said Capt. Chris Ross, the 535th Combat Readiness Flight Command from JBPH-H and a member of the C-17 demo team. "They were very polite and visibly excited for the opportunity. Likewise, it was very interesting for us to be able to talk to them for a few minutes as well."

To further showcase U.S. airpower, members from the Air Force demo teams participated in aerial demonstrations during the airshow.

"We do airshows all throughout the Asia-Pacific to increase relations with our partners and allies as part of the U.S. refocus on the Asia-Pacific region," said Nations. "The fact that we are here showcases our fighters not only to the local audience; our presence is also observed by the counties we pass along our flight path to get here."

Organized by India's Ministry of Defense, Aero India boasted participation from 29 visiting countries with approximately 675 exhibitions. The U.S. has participated in this bi-annual trade show since 2005.

U.S. military participation in trade shows furthers defense purchase and supply relationships with India and demonstrates U.S. commitment to India as a regional partner and directly supports U.S. Pacific Command's engagement goals and objectives and furthers relations with other countries.

59th Medical Wing, San Antonio hospital collaborate to hone AF nursing skills

by Staff Sgt. Micky M. Bazaldua
59th Medical Wing Public Affairs

2/14/2013 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas -- For the first time, the Air Force has partnered with a community hospital to develop highly skilled nurses who are trained for humanitarian and peacetime missions - Airmen whose skills are proven to increase patient survival rates in theater hospitals.

Building the partnership was instrumental in meeting an increase in the demand for the clinical training of nurses at nearby San Antonio Military Medical Center, Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston.

The demand was largely due to the integration of the 59th Medical Wing and Brooke Army Medical Center as part of the new San Antonio Military Health System. Consequently, there was an ensuing increase in the number of Army, Navy and Air Force nursing students competing for clinical cases, experience, and the skill sets needed for graduation from their respective training specialties.

"The partnership with the Air Force nurse residency is a great opportunity for both organizations," said Evelyn Swenson-Brit, UHS Director for the Center for Excellence. "We have the opportunity to have highly trained instructors share their knowledge in both our clinical setting and as guests in their lectures on critical care."

"UHS has provided clinical training for military physicians for many years and is very excited to now provide clinical sites for our nurse colleagues as well," she said.

University Hospital is a level-one trauma center, treating about 70,000 patients at its emergency room annually. A new $800 million trauma wing at UHS, which is projected to be completed in 2014, will significantly increase patient volume in the emergency department and inpatient units.

"The new wing will provide many more opportunities for nurses to work in a challenging environment and gain unique experiences in specialized areas not offered at SAMMC, such as surgical transplants," said Lt. Col. Susan Davis, commander of the 59th Training Squadron here.

The partnership between the San Antonio Military Health System and the UHS will provide specialty training in various areas of expertise such as medical surgery, labor and delivery, operating room, emergency room, critical care, and neonatal intensive care. Additionally, University Hospital is the only pediatric trauma center for San Antonio and south Texas, providing significant training to nurses for humanitarian and wartime pediatric care.

Training rotations at University Hospital began in January 2013 with the Critical Care and Emergency Nursing Fellowship Program.

"This experience has given me greater confidence in my ability to meet challenges, making me more independent and proficient," said 1st Lt. Meredith Peiffer, a critical care nurse fellow with the 59th TRS who is currently doing a work rotation at UHS. "It's a beneficial course that builds graduates who are viewed as valuable resources by their peers."

"It's inspiring to see how our civilian counterparts work, especially with the higher operations tempo," said 1st Lt. Casey Doll, also a critical care nurse fellow with the 59th TRS.

"We see a lot of pediatric and burn patients during deployments. This training bridges the gap between years of inexperience so that we are better prepared," Doll said. "For any nurses considering this program, this is a hands-down recommendation. No other civilian institution will dedicate the time and effort to us like UHS, and I am very thankful for the opportunity."

"The partnership with UHS is an opportunity to significantly augment clinical experiences and is an educational opportunity for Air Force nurses. For nurses who are interested in applying, or learning more about the fellowship program, the first step is to inform your supervisor and chief nurse," said Maj. Kathy Savell, 59th TRS director of Critical Care Emergency Nursing Fellowship.

Savell said applicants should look for the next "call for candidates" letter and update their Airmen Development Plan on the Air Force portal. Nurses should then submit an application package through their chain of command.

Army Post Sets Example in Curbing Suicides, Preventable Deaths

By Donna Miles
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 15, 2013 – As military leaders struggle to reverse rising suicide rates within the force, Fort Bliss, Texas, is bucking the national trend, reporting a 30-percent drop last year and serving as a promising model for the Army and its sister services.

Fort Bliss had the lowest suicide rate in the Army during 2012 -- four confirmed and one still under investigation from its population of 33,000 soldiers. That’s down from seven in 2011.

Fort Bliss reported three other preventable soldier deaths last year, also the Army’s lowest rate. This came at a time suicides increased in the overall Army and across the military as a whole, despite sweeping initiatives across the services and the Defense Department to stem them.
So what’s the magic formula at Fort Bliss, a sprawling post in Southwest Texas’ high desert that became the new home to the 1st Armored Division last year?

Army Maj. Gen. Dana J.H. Pittard, the 1st Armored Division and Fort Bliss commander, can’t point to any single measure that’s making the difference. Rather, he credits a comprehensive approach that focuses on suicide prevention, risk reduction and resilience.

Confronted by a spate of suicides among redeploying air defenders when he arrived at Fort Bliss in July 2010, Pittard launched the “No Preventable Soldier Deaths” campaign. The goal, he explained, was to prevent not only suicides, but also high-risk behaviors that can lead to drug overdoses, motorcycle and vehicle accidents, and other preventable fatalities.

The campaign is an umbrella for about 32 distinct programs and initiatives. All aim to address the root causes of suicide and high-risk behavior and create an environment that encourages soldiers to look out for each other and seek help when they need it, Pittard said. But the long-term focus -- one he said ultimately will make these successes “stick” -- is on improving soldiers’ ability to overcome adversity and to bounce back when it strikes.

“It takes a comprehensive and holistic approach to try to reduce preventable soldier deaths,” Pittard said. “So we have united the resources of our entire installation -- our hospital, our fitness program and our wellness programs -- in getting at this challenge, together.”

“Our approach creates layer upon layer upon layer of safety nets,” explained Army Lt. Col. Leonard Gruppo, director of the Wellness Fusion Campus that Pittard stood up to synchronize these efforts across the installation.

“You can imagine them as one on top of the other, overlapping and crisscrossing with each other up into the sky,” Gruppo said. “That way, if a soldier falls, if the first safety net doesn’t catch him, the next one or the one after will. And in the end, we have very few who actually hit the ground.”
One might wonder, with so much time and energy dedicated to these programs, how it’s impacting Fort Bliss’ core readiness mission.

“We look at this as supporting our warfighting capability and readiness,” Pittard said. He noted, for example, that waivers for nondeployable soldiers have dropped dramatically.

“By making our soldiers that much more fit and by promoting wellness and making sure they are as resilient as they can possibly be, we are making them better combat soldiers,” Pittard said.

But Pittard recognized from the start that creating a culture that de-stigmatizes asking for help was going to be a challenge.

So he made it an area of command emphasis, calling on leaders from across the installation to be part of the solution.

Meanwhile, he began assigning accountability for preventable deaths, holding leaders accountable for their soldiers, and soldiers accountable for themselves and their battle buddies.

“That is important, because we recognize that we are accountable to the American people for their sons and daughters that are under our charge,” he said. “Every single life counts, and that is what we want to convey here to our soldiers and families.”

New arrivals to Fort Bliss quickly get a sense of this command emphasis. All get comprehensive screenings at the Wellness Fusion Center, and redeploying soldiers receive similar, Army-mandated screenings at the Warrior Transition Center.

The effort, Gruppo said, helps identify high-risk soldiers but also ensures every soldier is familiar with Fort Bliss’ array of programs to support them.

Also, in September, Pittard made the Army’s Applied Suicide Intervention Skills Training mandatory for all incoming soldiers at Fort Bliss.

About 3 to 5 percent of all soldiers Armywide have taken the two-day training, designed to help them identify signs of distress in fellow soldiers. But at Fort Bliss, that percentage is closer to 30 percent, and Pittard is committed to meeting the 90 percent level by 2015.

“We are far and away from any other installation on training people in ASIST,” Gruppo said. “We have met the Army standard and exceeded it many times over. And we believe this is having a big impact, as a component of the program, in reducing suicides.”

In addition, behavioral health teams from Fort Bliss’ William Beaumont Army Medical Center serve directly with all brigade-sized units to provide immediate support, as needed.

Meanwhile, officials at Fort Bliss are working to promote resilience across the force: emotional resilience, physical resilience, spiritual resilience, social resilience, and through one of its newest initiatives, financial resilience, Pittard said. The idea, he said, is to get “left of the boom” -- a wartime term he said applies equally to staying ahead of threats that haunt some soldiers after they return home, and even those who have never deployed.

“The Army recognizes that in the long term, giving people greater resilience skills is the way to get left of the event, before it happens,” Gruppo said. “It’s giving people the right skills to cope with bumps in the road of life better than they [did], so they never get to the point where they want to kill themselves or do something that results in an accidental death.”

To support its long-term strategy of building resilience, Fort Bliss requires that every unit down to company level have a certified master resilience trainer within its ranks. Current Army policy requires one at the battalion level, but Fort Bliss “is continuing to vigorously train people as quickly as we can to get it down to the platoon level,” Gruppo said.

Fort Bliss’ suicide prevention and wellness efforts include some unexpected elements. Leaders added bike and walking paths and gathering places, and planted more than 10,000 trees to encourage soldiers to commune with nature and each other.

Concerned that soldiers were spending too much time cooped up in their barracks rooms, Pittard reintroduced the old concept of day rooms so they could hang out together. He cut off Wi-Fi reception in the barracks so soldiers would congregate at designated hot spots.

“The idea is to create here at Fort Bliss this oasis -- this island of wellness for our soldiers and families,” Pittard said. “We want it to be a place that promotes resiliency as an installation.”
Meanwhile, he took the bold step of allowing members of the El Paso community just outside Fort Bliss’ gates to come on post simply by showing a driver’s license.

“That in itself has helped us not be isolated from the American people who serve,” Pittard said. “It helped promote this feeling of communal support among our soldiers, and the sense that they are not alone.”

Statistics indicate that the formula is working. Fort Bliss enjoyed 120 straight days without a preventable soldier death from September through January. Other Army installations and leaders are taking notice, and exploring ways to adopt some of the practices proving successful at Fort Bliss.

But Pittard knows he’s far from the finish line. Already this year, Fort Bliss has suffered two preventable deaths: a soldier who overdosed on prescription drugs in his barracks room, and another who wasn’t wearing his seat belt and was killed in a car crash.

And although no Fort Bliss soldiers have taken their lives in 2013, the post still reports two or four suicide attempts every day.

“We are not going to be satisfied until we have zero preventable deaths, consistently,” Pittard said. “So even though we’ve made some successes, we are a long way from where we want to be.”
Meanwhile, Pittard will continue to focus on creating a “culture of seeking help,” he said.

“We are only partially there, because cultural change takes time,” he said. “But we have some strong efforts in that direction.”

AETC program builds bridges between U.S., foreign allies

by Robert Goetz
Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph Public Affairs

2/14/2013 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas -- One of the best examples of global cooperation can be found at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph and other Air Force installations, where an Air Education and Training Command squadron's mission is to "build and strengthen enduring international partnerships by building partner capability."

AETC's Air Force Security Assistance Training Squadron pursues this mission by providing technical, flight and other types of training for students representing the armed forces of more than 140 countries, including Saudi Arabia, Canada, Poland and India.

Dwyer Stringer, AETC International Training and Education Directorate executive officer, said the international students come to the United States at their countries' expense "because they're getting the best training possible."

It's also a mutually beneficial exchange.

"When these students learn at schools in the United States, they learn using our procedures and they work with our instructors," Stringer said."We can join with them and work together because we've all learned in the same manner."

Air Force installations' point of contact for the students is the International Military Student Office, which strives to meet their needs and ensure their stay in the United States is a positive one.

"Our goal is to treat them like a family member," Roy Lozano, Randolph IMSO chief, said.

Examples of the assistance the office provides are helping the students with pay issues and medical care; making sure they receive the proper training; and attending to their spouses' needs, he said.

Although nearly 60 percent of foreign students come to Air Force installations for technical training, students who train at Randolph are here for flight training, taking courses such as introduction to fighter fundamentals, pilot instructor training and aerospace physiology alongside American pilots. Some of them first require English language instruction at the Defense Language Institute at JBSA-Lackland.

First Lt. Ahmad Getso, an officer in the Nigerian Air Force, said training at Randolph with different instructors and different platforms affords students an "exceptional experience."

"It is a very high standard in terms of knowledge and professionalism, and you can only find it in a few places in the world," he said.

Lozano said some foreign students come to the U.S. with negative preconceptions but often leave with an entirely different attitude toward Americans.

"What's rewarding for me is when you hear students talk favorably about their experiences," he said.

Lozano recalled the changes in a foreign officer who came "with an attitude" but was soon overcome with emotion because he and his wife were treated like family members by instructors and classmates.

"Those are things that make it important," he said. "That's our goal - to bring us together."

Getso, who completed the T-6 PIT course at the 559th Flying Training Squadron, called his stay at Randolph "an experience of a lifetime."

"It's an unforgettable memory of the people at Randolph in terms of respect, courtesy and professionalism," he said.

Getso said Lozano was particularly helpful as he made his way from Columbus, Miss., to San Antonio with the approach of Hurricane Isaac last summer.

"With a hurricane coming in, he had to do everything, including in-processing, over the phone," he said. "I will not forget how caring he was about my well-being. He checked on me frequently on my trip from Columbus to San Antonio."

Stringer said the international students' experience here gives them a "better understanding of America.

"They see how we are rather than how we are perceived," he said.

Three 24th Air Force Airmen take home four 2012 AFSPC logistics readiness awards

by Tech. Sgt. Scott McNabb
24th Air Force Public Affairs

2/14/2013 - JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND AIR FORCE BASE, Texas  -- Air Force Space Command recognized two non-commissioned officers and one field grade officer from 24th Air Force for excellence in logistics readiness recently.

"These awards recognize not only the dedication to excellence of these cyber Airmen, but the teams around them that helped them accomplish so much," said Chief Master Sgt. Alfred Herring, 24th Air Force command chief. "They should be proud of what they've accomplished individually and take some time to enjoy it. After that, it's time to help those around them reach the same heights or higher. Way to go Major Johnson, Master Sergeant Miles and Staff Sergeant Roubal. You are the best of the best. "

Maj. William Johnson, Jr., 24th Air Force Logistics and Installations director, was named the 2012 Outstanding Logistics Readiness Officer of the Year. Some of his accomplishments include creating the Air Forces Cyber future footprint 30-year plan, initiating 24th Air Force's Critical Infrastructure Program and leading the $55 million state-of-the-art facility project. Johnson will compete at the Air Force-level next.

Master Sgt. McKenzie Miles, 3rd Combat Communications Support Squadron Logistics Support Flight superintendent, won two AFSPC-level logistics awards. The Air Force Space Command Chief Master Sergeant Eddie Speight Supply Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year award and the Air Force Space Command Logistics Readiness Senior Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year. Miles will compete at the Air Force level for the latter award. Some of Miles' accomplishments include writing three supply operation instructions supplements, leading the 3rd Combat Communications Group's combat readiness school and introduced group compliance inspection database.

Staff Sgt. Anthony Roubal, also with the 3rd CBCSS, garnered the Air Force Space Command Vehicle Management Non-Commissioned Officer of the Year award. Some of Roubal's 2012 highlights were deploying for more than 195 days in support of more than 100,000 coalition troops, replaced a Tunner-60K loader engine five hours ahead of schedule and rebuilt four air break chambers for a deployed fire department's water tanker.

New Medal Recognizes Changing Face of Conflict, Official Says

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Feb. 15, 2013 – The new Distinguished Warfare Medal recognizes the changing face of conflict in the 21st century, said Juliet Beyler, the acting director of officer and enlisted personnel management in the Pentagon.

Beyler said in an interview that technological developments on the battlefield have changed the way service members fight.

“The services all came forward and said there are people … who are doing incredible things and we wanted the ability to recognize them for those things,” she said.

There are no existing awards that adequately recognize the contributions these service members make. Examples of the actions that would be recognized by the new medal include a service member who is involved in a cyber attack on a specific military target.

“That would be someone possibly who would be eligible for this award,” Beyler said.

Another possible recipient would be an unmanned aerial vehicle operator who takes out a specific military target. “Another example might be a service member who is orchestrating and moving troops on a battlefield, but perhaps, is not physically present, but does something that contributes in some extraordinary way to the battle,” Beyler said.

Each service secretary is going to develop the specific procedures for who is eligible to receive the award. The service member has to have direct hands-on employment in order to be eligible. Combatant commanders must certify the impacts of the action before the award is forwarded to the service secretary for approval. The service secretaries are the approving authorities and those authorities cannot be delegated, Beyler said.

“This is for direct impacts,” she said. “There are other meritorious awards that recognize service over a period of time -- this [award] is intended to recognize specific impacts on the battlefield.”
The criteria for the award is akin to that of the Distinguished Flying Cross. “The Distinguished Flying Cross is for a single impact, a single incident, and the Distinguished Warfare [Medal] is designed to address a single incident,” she said.

The award’s precedence is what is making the award controversial. Many veterans’ service organizations object that the award will have a higher precedence than the Bronze Star Medal.
“The award is directly below the Distinguished Flying Cross,” Beyler said. “Awards for valor -- the Medal of Honor, the service Crosses and the Silver Star -- are all higher in precedence that the Distinguished Warfare Medal and will remain so.”

The vast majority of Bronze Star Medals are not awarded for valor, she said. Only 2.4 percent of Bronze Stars are given with a V device connoting a valor award. Depending on the service, the V-device can also be awarded with commendation medals.

The secretary of defense created the Distinguished Warfare Medal and can set the order of precedence.

Beyler said the award is retroactive to Sept. 11, 2001, and the service secretaries will detail how to recognize earlier acts.