Six Flags No Longer Awards Combat Action Ribbon
Six Flags is among many organizations coming under fire for awarding military medals to their employees.
Marine Times (“Six Flags park in Illinois cancels use of military ribbons for security guards’ uniforms“):
Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Ill., has confirmed that their security guards will no longer wear repurposed military ribbons on their uniforms after a former Marine corporal issued complaints about the policy.
Robert Smith, an infantryman who served in the Corps during the first Gulf War, said he recently showed his son the awards he earned during his time as a Marine. But when they walked through the ticket gates at the Six Flags amusement park on Saturday, his son pointed to the security guards and told Smith they were wearing ribbons just like his.
“I saw a 23- or 24-year-old wearing a Combat Action Ribbon with two gold stars,” Smith told Marine Corps Times. “Another guy had four rows of three ribbons. I know gunnery sergeants or staff sergeants when I was in that didn’t even have that many.”
Smith said he asked the security guard wearing the Combat Action Ribbon what the stars stood for, and he said they represented reuniting lost children with their parents. All day at the park, Smith said he was offended every time he saw another security guard’s ribbon rack.
Marine Corps Times contacted Six Flags Great America on Monday to inquire about their ribbon program. By Tuesday, the park cancelled their use of repurposed Defense Department ribbons.
“We have the utmost respect for the men and women who serve our country and the rewards and recognition they earn,” said Katy Enrique, communications manager with the park. “It was never our intention to undervalue military ribbons by using them as part of our park’s recognition program.”
The uniform policy was not a company-wide policy, so only applied to the Illinois location, Enrique said.
In July, Navy Cross recipient Jeremiah Workman called the police department in Sanford, Fla., after he saw one of their officers take the stand in the George Zimmerman trial. Workman questioned why she was wearing ribbons she couldn’t have rated.
Like Six Flags, Sanford was using Defense Department ribbons repurposed for their own use. Within days of Workman’s call, that department also changed its ribbons policy.
While it’s just silly of these organizations to use military ribbons and badges rather than creating their own, I’m rather bemused at the outraged reactions of the veterans in the story. I’m proud of my skill badges and awards but am not going to lose sleep over it if some guy at Six Flags is wearing the same strip of cloth or hunk of tin. The security guard isn’t pretending to have seen combat nor are most people who see a policeman wearing ribbons going to think they got them in the Marine Corps.