Hmmmm...mixed emotions

Discussion in 'OFF-Topic / Misc.' started by RabidAlien, Jul 12, 2012.

  1. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    Bravery and drone pilots - Salon.com

    The article talks about drone operators being qualified for higher, combat-related medals. While I do agree that they play a vital role and have saved many of our troops' lives, the operators themselves are never in any danger. Giving someone who sits 2000 miles away from the nearest bullet fired in anger the same medals that the guy who that bullet was actually aimed at (and possibly hit by) really does cheapen the sacrifices made by those at the pointy end of the stick. And yes, the drone operators deserve recognition. But respect the efforts of those who are separated from combat by the breadth of their fatigues, not that of an ocean. If you think they deserve a medal, then by all means, strike a new one. But it darn well better be below the level of combat ribbons/medals.

    Just my opinion.
     
  2. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    Pardon my bluntness but anyone can sit behind a desk and steer an unmanned aircraft. Hardly worth a medal IMO.
     
  3. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    I'm with you, RA...I'm sure hundreds of hours behind the console, staring into the monitor (let's not think video games here) piloting a UAV is tedious and demanding...but cannot hardly deserve an high-commendation on a level of the men (and women) who are actually in theater.

    I'll agree that they should qualify for something shiney...but definately not on a level of those in harm's way...
     
  4. Lucky13

    Lucky13 Forum Mascot

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    Totally agree lads!
     
  5. ToughOmbre

    ToughOmbre Active Member

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    Guys. Consider the source, salon.com, is a far left web site.

    Don't want to get political, but they ain't right about anything!

    Steve
     
  6. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    That's just fricked up.
     
  7. N4521U

    N4521U Well-Known Member

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    viking,
    there is something to be said for spell check.....
    I do agree however, being ex service, and never having been in the firing line I do Not deserve any medals.
     
  8. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    Seems they are 2 different levels of playing fields to me...both to be respected...but one certainly more dangerous than the other....
     
  9. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Gents - I used to think the same thing until I got to interface with a few of these guys. Many drone drivers serving in the USAF are rated pilots and usually come out of the A-10 community. The stress level in drone work is huge and some of the physical and mental problems found with some of these folks are the same seen in overworked air traffic controllers Yes, they are in some comfy air condition box out of harm's but the mental stress is enormous. Days at a time sitting in front of a screen, killing an enemy that is just an electronic image. I was told by one guy he rather be there in person facing the enemy. The impersonal nature of this warfare affects operator’s mental state as well. Don't underestimate what these people do - I developed a new respect for them.

    They may avoid physical combat injury, but can be subjected to mental injury and sometimes the latter is worse.
     
  10. A4K

    A4K Well-Known Member

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    Interesting point Joe...
    Something sad in that a human being is just a glitch on a computer screen though, can't say I like the modern world much in that respect.
     
  11. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    Good point, Joe...you know, this is a difficult world these days, where "old school" technology and mindsets are giving way to the future and all that it holds...

    Thanks for the perspective!
     
  12. ToughOmbre

    ToughOmbre Active Member

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    #12 ToughOmbre, Jul 13, 2012
    Last edited: Jul 13, 2012
    All true Joe, I have the utmost respect for these guys as well. But mental stress does not begin to rate combat decorations. There is no substitute for being in a combat situation: 99.999999999% of the human race will never experience it.

    With all due respect, these guys do not rate combat medals that others have earned as the bullets were coming in their direction.

    The key thing in what you said Joe was "out of harms way".

    Steve
     
  13. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    Steve, agreed. As I posted before, everyone who served in Vietnam was entitled to a Bronze Star. Frontline combat and clerk-typist received the same Star. The Vietnam Service and Campaign Medals are "You were There" medals, but the Bronze Star should mean more than that. The 82nd Airborne received Berets: Great Beret Give-Away — 82nd Airborne Division. Light infantry units typically used this, because previous to the army switching to berets, this was the only division-sized unit that wore berets. Infantrymen thought it insulting to warriors that even administrative clerks in the 82nd wore berets.
     
  14. ToughOmbre

    ToughOmbre Active Member

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    Couldn't agree more Mike.

    At least they didn't give them CIBs!

    Steve
     
  15. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    Steve, got a story about that too. We were in Vietnam about 2-3 weeks diddly-bopping down a trail in a supposed secure area (yea, it was a dumb thing to do) when around the corner comes a squad of VC. We both stared at each other for several minutes (more likely seconds but time is a funny thing) at the same time we both turned around and ran in the other direction firing over our shoulders on full auto (killed a lot of trees) as we ran. We got our CIBs. Deserved? not hardly
     
  16. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    Joe, my apologies, I didn't mean to demean the contributions the drone drivers make to the war efforts, or the countless lives saved with busted ambushes, directed fire on hostiles, and just plain intel gathering. But, as has been said, there is a difference between blips on a screen, and bullets kicking up sand in front of your face. Do they deserve recognition? By all means, yes. Do they deserve the same recognition as the guys in the fire zone? In my opinion, no. Same as I don't deserve any of the same awards that the SEAL's qualified for, even though I saw some of the same coastlines through the periscope. Because I was poking holes out in international waters, not poking holes in bad guys with a Kbar.
     
  17. buffnut453

    buffnut453 Well-Known Member

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    There is the tale that soldiers returning from Vietnam had a much harder time adjusting back into civilian life than their fathers who served in WWII because the former were home in a few days by air whereas the Greatest Generation often had weeks of sea voyage(s) to ponder and plan for the future. In that context, I can't imagine what it's like for RPV pilots being "at war" while they're on-shift but then climbing in their cars and driving home to their families - and doing that day after day.

    There should be more recognition for people who, although not in harm's way, make a vital contribution to combat operations - and, yes, that includes the clerks (but only a few of them! :) ). That said, I think it would be a mistake to use gallantry awards to fulfill that recognition function.
     
  18. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    I know of no one in a war that fights for medals, truth, justice, or the American way. You fight/die for the guy next to you who does the same for you and some times you do crazy, dumb*ss things that some thinks was real brave in retrospect. Speaking for me, all I wanted was to live and get back to the world. I really do not think anyhing I did was brave or worth a medal. All our ops well highly classified so details could not be supplied highly deserved MOH's were routinely downgraded 3-4 levels. Most refused. Like a high school diploma, I'm not really sure what a military medal stands for except for the "you were there" type
     
  19. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    No apologies needed...

    Folks, although these guys aren't necessarily in harms way I think we can agree their service is vital. At what level do we want to recognize these guys is arguable but I would agree that I would look upon someone who was physcally in combat with more respect. At the same time when these guys come down with PTSD (and they have) understand why. They are in combat, maybe not to the level our front line folks are, but they are there.
     
  20. DerAdlerIstGelandet

    DerAdlerIstGelandet Der Crew Chief
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    Amen. That is all I wanted as well. Hell that is all I wanted before I even got on the plane. I found myself smoking more and praying more as well.
     
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