In a letter to Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel, U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell urged the Pentagon to reconsider the level of precedence of the new Distinguished Warfare Medal, which honors the actions of those using advanced technology in warfare, and ensure it does not occupy a position of precedence above the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.
The Bronze Star is awarded for meritorious service in combat and the Purple Heart is awarded to servicemembers injured on the battlefield.
"Many veterans groups in Kentucky have expressed concerns that placing the Distinguished Warfare Medal in a position of precedence above the Bronze Star and Purple Heart could weaken the morale and diminish the recognition given to our nation's brave servicemembers," Senator McConnell said.
In the letter to Secretary Hagel, Senator McConnell wrote, "I recognize and deeply value the contributions that all our military servicemembers have made to help provide for America's security since September 11, 2001. However, I feel it necessary to distinguish between actions which require soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines to place their lives at risk and those which are conducted largely out of harm's way. I believe our nation must ensure that recipients of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart -- military personnel who have placed their lives at risk in service to our nation -- are accorded the recognition and order of precedence they so rightly deserve."
Earlier this month, Senator McConnell also sponsored legislation which would require the Bronze Star and Purple Heart to occupy positions of precedence above the Distinguished Warfare Medal.
"It is my hope that the Department of Defense will modify the Distinguished Warfare Medal's order of precedence and remove the need to further legislative action on this issue," Senator McConnell said.