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Secretary of Defense Responds to McConnell: Pentagon to Cancel Distinguished Warfare Medal

Press Release

Location: Washington, DC

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell was informed yesterday by Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel that the Department has reconsidered the creation of the Distinguished Warfare Medal as a way to honor the actions of those using advanced technology in warfare. In March, Senator McConnell wrote Secretary Hagel to express the concerns of many veterans groups in Kentucky regarding plans to place the Distinguished Warfare Medal in a position of precedence above the Bronze Star and Purple Heart.

In the letter to McConnell, Secretary Hagel wrote that recognition of the distinguished service of military servicemembers which is conducted largely out of harm's way will be recognized with "the creation of a distinguishing device that may be affixed to existing medals at various levels instead of a separate medal." Secretary Hagel added that the specifics of the honor would be determined within the next 90 days.

"This is good news for our servicemembers and our veterans who were concerned that the Distinguished Warfare Medal would have been placed in a position of precedence above the Bronze Star and Purple Heart," Senator McConnell said. "I appreciate Secretary Hagel's decision to revisit the matter which could have weakened the morale and diminished the recognition given to many of our nation's servicemembers."

Carl Kaelin, VFW National Inspector General and Past State Commander of the Department of Kentucky VFW said this: "DOD's decision to revisit the order of precedence for military medals reflects once again Senator McConnell's strong and effective advocacy for Kentucky's military and veterans."

NOTE: 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.

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