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Pingree Cosponsors Bill to Put New Medal for Piloting Drones Below Purple Heart, Bronze Star

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Award now ranks above some combat medals,such as the Purple Heart; can be given for piloting drones, cyber warfare

Congresswoman Chellie Pingree has cosponsored bipartisan legislation that would place a new medal for cyber warfare below the Purple Heart and Bronze Star in the list of military honors given to combatveterans.

Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta approved the new Distinguished Warfare Medal last month. Honoring members of the military for extraordinary achievements since Sept. 11, 2001, the medal is intended for troops who operate technological tools, like drones, to fight remotely.

"I think it's definitely worthy for the military to honor the extraordinary service of our service members, whatever form it takes," said Pingree. "But the issue here is whether that medal should rank above any honors that service members receive for putting their lives on the line in direct combat with the enemy. I don't think it should and I've heard from many veterans who agree."

Pingree said she is glad Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel will review the order of precedence of the new Distinguished Warfare Medal. Though the medal ranks above some combat honors--such as the Bronze Star and Purple Heart--it is intended to recognize those who don't serve on the actual battlefield and Pingree said she hopes Hagel changes that.

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