Hagel Scraps Drone Medal

Chuck Hagel has countermanded his predecessor and canceled the Distinguished Warfare Medal.


Chuck Hagel has countermanded his predecessor and canceled the Distinguished Warfare Medal. Airchair warriors will instead get a device on existing medals.

Reuters (“Pentagon scraps medal for drone pilots after uproar“):

The Pentagon said on Monday it will not issue a new medal to honor drone pilots and cyber warriors after uproar over the decision to rank this decoration above some medals given to troops wounded or killed in battle.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel rolled back a decision by his predecessor, Leon Panetta, who two months ago unveiled a “Distinguished Warfare Medal” outranking the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart, awarded to wounded troops.

Hagel, a Vietnam veteran with two Purple Hearts, said instead the Pentagon would create a “distinguishing device” that can be affixed to existing medals.


Hagel said a review he ordered shortly after taking over from Panetta in February showed that the revision in the ranking of medals was “distracting” from the original purpose of awarding the Distinguished Warfare Medal.

“I agree with my predecessor, Leon Panetta, that such recognition is justly warranted for these men and women and thank him for raising the level of awareness of their hard work and critical contributions,” Hagel said in a statement.

And also the opportunity for an easy win out of the gate.

FILED UNDER: Military Affairs, , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Anderson says:

    However, drone operators who rack up 3 kills in a row will be awarded a bonus drone.

  2. legion says:

    The more I see of Hagel, the more I like him.

  3. 11B40 says:


    Hopefully, the “distinguishing device” will look like a computer monitor.