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Old 02-20-2013, 12:41 AM   #41
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I am far from qualified from taking part in this debate, but Nova recently ran a program on Drones that I found interesting. You can watch it at the following link: NOVA | Rise of the Drones

While not in direct physical danger, a drone pilot's job did not seem easy and there was some possibility of danger if their identity or whereabouts was discovered.
The big difference is they go home at night and get to sleep with their spouse and see their children - it just isn't the same if you are not physically there - as I think about this some more, this is yet another drawback to the virtualization of our environment -Isaac Asimov had some great books that explored this is detail...there are also recent authors who have explored it (Orson Scott Card, William Gibson, etc).

Nevertheless, today, there is still a difference between being geographically in the war zone and experiencing with all of your senses the 'fog and heat of war' versus just seeing and hearing it through a virtual connection. If you've done any reading of what it's like face-to-face in combat (EB Sludge a Marine in WWII wrote an amazing book in which the series "The Pacific" was partly based - a recent book "Unbroken" also shows what it is like), there is a still a sensory distance in the virtual aspect today (that's not to say we won't have lifelike virtualization soon); AND not everyone in combat gets a bronze star...it is reserved for acts of valor.

Again - I can see this award is to make sure that these pilots and cyber warriors (the IT guys who will be doing defensive and offensive computer tasks) can move up through the ranks and in their career field. However, there needs to be a better ranking of these decorations to reflect this. I hope that they modify this -- it is a disservice to make equivalent those who have truly 'been there' to those who have virtually been there.
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Old 02-20-2013, 05:28 AM   #42
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Surely you are joking.
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Old 02-20-2013, 08:29 AM   #43
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The big difference is they go home at night and get to sleep with their spouse and see their children - it just isn't the same if you are not physically there - as I think about this some more, this is yet another drawback to the virtualization of our environment -Isaac Asimov had some great books that explored this is detail...there are also recent authors who have explored it (Orson Scott Card, William Gibson, etc).

Nevertheless, today, there is still a difference between being geographically in the war zone and experiencing with all of your senses the 'fog and heat of war' versus just seeing and hearing it through a virtual connection. If you've done any reading of what it's like face-to-face in combat (EB Sludge a Marine in WWII wrote an amazing book in which the series "The Pacific" was partly based - a recent book "Unbroken" also shows what it is like), there is a still a sensory distance in the virtual aspect today (that's not to say we won't have lifelike virtualization soon); AND not everyone in combat gets a bronze star...it is reserved for acts of valor.

Again - I can see this award is to make sure that these pilots and cyber warriors (the IT guys who will be doing defensive and offensive computer tasks) can move up through the ranks and in their career field. However, there needs to be a better ranking of these decorations to reflect this. I hope that they modify this -- it is a disservice to make equivalent those who have truly 'been there' to those who have virtually been there.
If you are not there, can't smell death. Or experience the fear of getting killed. The other guy's or yours. 'nuff said.
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Old 02-20-2013, 08:46 AM   #44
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Not having been in the military, I'm happy to let those who were/are sort this out. But it appears to me, from reading the article, that the award is below most combat awards.
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Old 02-20-2013, 08:57 AM   #45
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USAF Drone Recruiting Video

TOP DRONE - The US Air Force's Elite Drone Training School - YouTube
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Old 03-12-2013, 11:18 AM   #46
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Looks like at least the ranking of this medal is (rightly) under review.

Official: Production stopped on new medal | Fox News
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Old 03-12-2013, 06:33 PM   #47
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I thought being a REMF was its own reward.

Haven't heard that term in about 50 years Gumby. When I was an infantry guy that was the lowest acronym that you could throw at a guy.
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Old 03-12-2013, 08:11 PM   #48
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When I was an infantry guy that was the lowest acronym that you could throw at a guy.
I know. I can't imagine why they want to give those guys medals.
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Old 03-12-2013, 08:54 PM   #49
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I know. I can't imagine why they want to give those guys medals.
As a 34 year career soldier and Iraq war 2003-04 veteran and could not agree with you more. My whole year in Iraq avoiding snipers and road side bombs earned me an Army Achievement medal. The thought of these joy stick jockies getting a medal of any sort above a campaign medal is beyond me.
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Old 03-16-2013, 02:45 PM   #50
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As a 34 year career soldier and Iraq war 2003-04 veteran and could not agree with you more. My whole year in Iraq avoiding snipers and road side bombs earned me an Army Achievement medal. The thought of these joy stick jockies getting a medal of any sort above a campaign medal is beyond me.
This seems to capture the subject.

http://artofkent.com/Scylla/13043_Eject.jpg
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Old 03-16-2013, 04:02 PM   #51
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This isn't anything new. I had an uncle who was a clerk in a B-17 squadron in WWII. Never left the relative safety of the English countryside. He had numerous decorations, and locally was considered a war hero.

I'm officially a Vietnam Era veteran, but I didn't enter the Navy until January 1974.

The Bronze Star seems to carry a lot of weight with Army types. The only recipient I know, is a Vietnam vet, who as a civilian has been an overbearing tyrant for the last 40 years, that no one can stand to be around.

Despite the image the military likes to present, military awards are meaningless as to an individuals worth. With people like fighter ace/felon, Duke Cunningham, being a prime example.

Military decorations are something to be proud of, but worrying about who deserved one and who didn't, is a waste of time.
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Old 03-16-2013, 04:25 PM   #52
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A drone pilot wouldn't make a pimple on a real pilots ass.
This is just from my lurking on some aviation forums, but my understanding is that drone pilots are officers who have graduated from the regular Air Force flight training program.
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Old 03-16-2013, 04:28 PM   #53
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When I was learning to fly 20 yrs ago, I found MS Flight Simulator harder than the real thing, albeit much less stresful.

Flying teaches your the meaning of comitment. The number of landings always equals the number of takeoffs, you don't have the option to disengage.
MSFS has always been too sensitive in pitch. Impossible to hold a constant altitude, unless you engage the autopilot. Using elevator trim is no help.
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Old 03-16-2013, 04:29 PM   #54
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This is just from my lurking on some aviation forums, but my understanding is that drone pilots are officers who have graduated from the regular Air Force flight training program.
While this was once true, the AF changed the requirements in 2010:

Quote:
Drones were initially required to be operated by fighter, bomber and other pilots, but two years ago the service created a separate training pipeline designed specifically for training drone pilots. They get only limited training in manned aircraft before learning how to pilot an RPA.
Drones change 'Top Gun' culture of Air Force
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Old 03-16-2013, 08:52 PM   #55
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This is just from my lurking on some aviation forums, but my understanding is that drone pilots are officers who have graduated from the regular Air Force flight training program.
It does not matter whether they are flight school graduates or not. If they are not getting shot at they do not deserve a medal that has higher precedence than a Bronze Star.
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Old 03-16-2013, 09:50 PM   #56
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It is interesting when I first heard about them i thought this isn't a bad idea. One of the reasons I didn't finish AFROTC was once it became clear that my eyesight was never going to allow my to fly, I figured a non-aviator in the Air Force would always be a second class citizen.

In the future I think we will need more drone pilots and some pretty damn good ones. So maybe these medals will change the prestige of being a drone pilot a bit.

However, after reading the thread I see was mistaken. It is important to draw a clear line between rewarding some one for doing something extraordinarily well and doing something that requires valor.

In the military you get promoted for being effective, and competent, and showing leadership (well at least in theory )
You get the important medals for being brave.
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Old 03-17-2013, 05:55 PM   #57
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It does not matter whether they are flight school graduates or not. If they are not getting shot at they do not deserve a medal that has higher precedence than a Bronze Star.
This reminds me of when the Navy became concerned with political correctness. and modified the Chief 's initiation. There was an outcry among the old salts, that new Chiefs would be nothing more than E-7's, because the initiation ceremony had been watered down.
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Old 04-15-2013, 05:48 PM   #58
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Looks like the Pentagon has reconsidered the Distinguished Warfare Medal.

Why not just rank it below the PH and BSM? Those guys deserve some color on their uniforms!

Quote:
The Pentagon said on Monday it will not issue a new medal to honor drone pilots and cyber warriors after uproar over the decision to rank this decoration above some medals given to troops wounded or killed in battle.
Pentagon scraps medal for drone pilots after uproar | Reuters
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