Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Too Few MOH's

I don't want some mom whose son may have recently died
to see the commander-in-chief playing golf.

I feel I owe it to the families to be as --

to be in solidarity as best as I can with them.

--President Bush on his war sacrifice,
giving up golf (5/13/08)

It must be cold comfort to Mr. Walesa-Bush that all that remains is jogging and biking.

Why have there been only four Medals of Honor awarded in the present armed conflicts? Regardless of the justifiability of the wars, there is a requirement to honor the heroism of our military, both on an individual and institutional level.

The institution requires live MOH recipients to serve as living examples for the ranks to emulate.
As example of disproportionality of awards during present conflicts, consider the minor U.S. action in Korea of 1871. While there were only light casualties in this little heralded campaign, there were 15 MOH's awarded.

In the Indian Campaigns from ~1865-1898 there were approximately 300 MOH's. As there were approximately 2,525 friendlies killed in action, that is a ratio of 300 medals : 2,525 casualties or about 1 : 8.4. In the GWOT the ratio is 4 : 4,500.

There should be more MOH's awarded now. The level of valor is there but it is going unrecognized by the national command leadership.


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Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

it is one of those things that just depends. the largest single action which had MOHs awarded was wounded knee. it was the age old dilemma of a command staff. imprison? or decorate?

by awarding a high percentage of combat medals they were able to sell a slaughter as a battle.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 at 3:32:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

MB, it's sad but true.Without research i think The Little Big Horn had a large number awarded also.
These are different days and history cannot always be our guide BUT our military deserve the award if they perform the deed. jim

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 at 3:40:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

Couple of guesses:

1. Pre-WW1 the medal system was pretty rudimentary. The MOH WAS the only medal for a long time, hence the large number of them per troop numbers. As I recall a Civil War unit got them - every swinging dick - for reupping. Word.

2. It seems like forever ago, but the Army got it's wrist slapped for handing out medals by the bushel back in the Eighties. Much was made of the fact that more medals were handed out for Grenada than were people actually on the fricking island (failure to understand that with an operation qualifying for an Expeditionary Medal the ratio STARTS at 1:1). I think the Army in particular is kinda paranoid about showering decorations on people for these wars.

That's unjust and unfair. But who the hell ever thought the Green Weenie was fair..?

Wednesday, May 14, 2008 at 5:21:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Chief. I believe the reenlistment CMH's of the Civil War were rescinded , either shortly or immediately after athe war ended.
The USArmy medals handed out in Grenada were not for valor . They were for service or achievement.You know ; thanks for coming and i've been there.!
I've always thought that a Army does't travel on it's stomach BUT ON IT'S AWARDS. jim

Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 9:43:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger The Minstrel Boy said...

A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon.

napoleon bonaparte

Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 11:11:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger FDChief said...

1. You're right, Ranger, about the ACW MOHs (and there were more than a few goofy ones handed out) - they were retrieved after the war (but I think not until the late 19th Century to prevent a ruckus.

2. Actually, there were a handful of valor decorations from Grenada, but yes, the majority were for service or just the usual thanks-for-breathing.

There were some real abuses there. The battalion XO for 307th MED got on a logpac flight to Pt. Salinas, delivered the unit's mail and some classified docs, caught the return flight back to Bragg and put himself in for an ARCOM (rumor was a Bronze Star) and a CMB.

I think criteria tightened up after Panama in '89.

Thursday, May 15, 2008 at 8:55:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Chief, The criteria never changed , the regs remained the same. The Army started issuing medals for completing MOS training.This kind of award i always associated with the USAF.Now everybody in the Army has a chest full of meaningless ribbons.But it looks good.
Back to topic-The reg for the MOH is clear and many live soldiers have met the yardstick and haven't been recognised.WHY? i BELIEVE THE ADMINISTRATION DIDN'T/DOESN'T want live talking heroes.They can be embarrassing if they talk the truth.
It's interesting that there was only one live witness from the Murphy MOH, usually the award calls for several live witnesses. jim

Friday, May 16, 2008 at 9:30:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

MB, i went back to the library to research the MOH's from LBH and WK.Since the are not organised by action i can't get a reliable count but it's still interesting.Several from WK simply state that they killed hostiles in close quarter fighting.It's easy to interpret that!At the LBH most were given for running thru a gauntlet to get water for the wounded.Very interesting.
I remember several years ago there was a movement to rescind the WK medals . jim

Friday, May 16, 2008 at 9:35:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Chief, an afterthought.And yes Rangers even old ones have thoughts.
I don't believe anybody cares if they throw service awards out by the bucket.It's the combat awards that are the issue.But the playing field should be level since these are used to compute promotion points . jim

Friday, May 16, 2008 at 9:45:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

Chief, coming back at you.
I don't believe the story about the 307 Med Cdr getting the CMB and Arcom for delivering the mail.I WOULD BELIEVE IT IF YOU SAID THERE WAS AN AIR MEDAL THROWN IN. jim

Saturday, May 17, 2008 at 10:14:00 AM GMT-5  

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