Today, U.S. Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) applauded the U.S. Department of Defense for reversing its decision to create a new medal for unmanned drone pilots that would have ranked ahead of combat medals like the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart.
"The men and women who serve our nation by risking their lives on the battlefield and in the air deserve our highest respect and recognition, and it's important that we protect the integrity of the medals they've earned," said Sen. Franken. "Men and women who serve our nation off the battlefield deserve our admiration, but I'm pleased that the Pentagon will continue to recognize the battlefield sacrifices of our troops."
Last month, Sen. Franken cosponsored legislation - led by Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) - to ensure that combat medals like the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart continued to rank ahead of the proposed "Distinguished Warfare Medal." That legislation prompted Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to order a review of the medal's rank. This week, Sec. Hagel announced that drone pilots and other cyber warriors will be recognized through the current medal system, rather than a separate medal.