In the wake of a March 2014 review of the military’s decorations and awards system ordered by then-Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, the Pentagon is set to review more than 1,100 awards for valor issued since Sept. 11, 2001, for possible upgrades to Medal of Honor awards.
The most recent recipient of the Medal of Honor was Army Capt. Florent Groberg, who’s patrol was ambushed by two suicide bombers on Aug. 8, 2012, in Kunar province, Afghanistan. Groberg grabbed one bomber and pushed him away, onto the ground, triggering an explosion that severely wounded him, but saved several lives. Grober was awarded the Medal of Honor on Nov. 12, 2015.
According to documents obtained by USA Today, the review also recommended the following:
That a new award be created for troops who have directed drone strikes over battlefields in Afghanistan and the Middle East, and would include an “R” device recognizing “remote impacts on combat operations."
The establishment of a standard definition of meritorious service that limits combat awards to those exposed to “significant risk” due to hostile action.
Setting guidelines and goals to ensure Medal of Honor and other awards are made in a timely fashion.
The review of valor awards for upgrades to the Medal of Honor was the only one of the review’s 37 recommendations that was not reached by consensus, reports USA Today. It would also require the Army, Air Force, Marine Corps, and Navy to review each of the Service Crosses and Silver Star nominations that’ve been awarded since 9/11.
To give some perspective, the Army alone has awarded 718 Silver Stars, wrote Vanden Brook, adding that the Navy and Marine Corps oppose such a review because it undermines the authority of a commander’s decision.
According to USA Today, a memo from Navy Secretary Ray Mabus noted that the review could “have long-term detrimental impact on our service culture and our awards program."
Over the phone, Tom Kelley, president of the Congressional Medal of Honor Society and a recipient of the Medal of Honor, echoed this sentiment, saying that if troops are not being recognized for their actions, “for one reason or another” he sees no problem reviewing those cases, but drew the line at a blanket review, adding that “this is the process and the process works.”
UPDATE: Additional information from Tom Kelley was added to this article after publication. (1/6/16)
(From left to right) Chris Osman, Chris McKinley, Kent Kroeker, and Talon Burton
At least four American veterans were among a group of eight men arrested by police in Haiti earlier this week for driving without license plates and possessing an arsenal of weaponry and tactical gear.
Police in Port-au-Prince arrested five Americans, two Serbians, and one Haitian man at a police checkpoint on Sunday, according to The Miami-Herald. The men told police they were on a "government mission" but did not specify for which government, according to The Herald.
They also told police that "their boss was going to call their boss," implying that someone high in Haiti's government would vouch for them and secure their release, Herald reporter Jacqueline Charles told NPR.
What they were actually doing or who they were potentially working for remains unclear. A State Department spokesperson told Task & Purpose they were aware that Haitian police arrested a "group of individuals, including some U.S. citizens," but declined to answer whether the men were employed by or operating under contract with the U.S. government.
A photo shared by Hoda Muthana on her now-closed @ZumarulJannaTwitter account. (Twitter/ZumarulJannah)
The State Department announced Wednesday that notorious ISIS bride Hoda Muthana, a U.S.-born woman who left Alabama to join ISIS but began begging to return to the U.S. after recently deserting the terror group, is not a U.S. citizen and will not be allowed to return home.
A top Senate Republican and fierce ally of President Donald Trump reportedly exploded at Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan recently about the U.S. military's plans to withdraw all troops from Syria by the end of April.
"That's the dumbest f******g idea I've ever heard," Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) reportedly replied when Shanahan confirmed the Trump administration still plans to complete the Syria withdrawal by April 30.
Later, Graham told Shanahan, "I am now your adversary, not your friend."