Wednesday, January 31, 2007
The Air Force Combat Action Medal
Finally the Air Force is recognizing their Airmen for serving in direct combat operations. These guys are out there giving their all, yet there was no recognition for their sacrifice. The Army, Navy and Marines all have their own. It only took us 60 years to catch up.
Combat Action Medal to recognize airmen who fight on the ground
By Bryant Jordan - Staff writer
Posted : Monday Jan 29, 2007 16:03:11 EST
"In April the Air Force will begin awarding a Combat Action Medal to the growing number of airmen whose jobs involve being shot at by the enemy.
The new medal will be to airmen what the Combat Infantryman Badge, Combat Action Badge and Combat Medical Badge are for soldiers and the Combat Action Ribbon is to Marines and sailors: testament that they have come under fire in the performance of their mission.
Lt. Gen. Roger A. Brady, deputy chief of staff for personnel and manpower, said award of the medal would be retroactive to Sept. 11, 2001.
The Air Force unveiled the design of the new medal and ribbon Friday on its official Web site.
Though fighter and bomber pilots have long been the pointy-edge of the sword when the Air Force has gone to war - and so have collected the bulk of combat-related decorations - other airmen have engaged the enemy.
Enlisted airmen fired machine guns from World War II bombers, and security forces troops fought and pushed back enemy ground troops assaulting their bases as recently as Vietnam.
But the nature of wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, especially new demands placed on the Air Force to assist the Army, has thrust a growing number of airmen into ground combat, whether driving and securing convoys or making the long walk to a street curb to "safe" an improvised explosive device.
"We have some things happening [in this war] that haven't happened to this degree at any time in our history, and that is we have a lot more people that are exposed to combat," Brady said. "These are not traditional [Air Force] missions."
About 5,000 airmen are doing "in-lieu-of" soldier missions on any given day, he said."
The best part about this medal is that it won't be handed out to just any Airman who stubbed his toe in the Green Zone.
"The persons awarded this new badge will have to have been in an actual combat role," he said in an e-mail to Air Force Times. "Someone from finance, who never leaves the interior of the base they are at, should not be awarded it because of a hangnail suffered at the snack machine."
According to Brady, that won't happen. The medal is not for airmen who are in the wrong place at the wrong time, he said, but for those who get into combat in the course of their duty. Brady said, for instance, airmen in the Pentagon on Sept. 11 would not qualify under the rules as drafted."
Good on the Air Force for finally realizing that the Airmen who are out there fighting along side the Army and Marines deserve more recognition than a hand shake and a coupon for a free oil change at the base auto shop once they return to the states.
posted by El Capitan at 9:23 AM