Senator Jon Tester today released the following statement after successfully convincing the U.S. Defense Department to back away from its plan to create a new medal for unmanned drone pilots that would rank ahead of combat medals like the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart:
"All of our fighting men and women deserve our respect, but nothing can compare to the sacrifices made by the men and women who risk life and limb on the battlefield. Thanks to the Pentagon's decision, Montanans who distinguish themselves in combat will continue to receive the level of recognition they earned."
Tester introduced a bipartisan bill to ensure that the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart continued to rank ahead of the proposed Distinguished Warfare Medal. His bill prompted Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to order a review of the medal's rank.
The Pentagon will now recognize drone pilots and cyber warriors through the current medal system, instead of creating a separate medal.