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Pentagon Drops Drone-Pilot Medal

Award angered veterans, drone opponents
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 16, 2013 11:16 AM CDT
Pentagon Drops Drone-Pilot Medal
This image released by the Defense Department shows the obverse view with ribbon of the Distinguished Warfare Medal.   (AP Photo/Department of Defense)

The Pentagon has nixed a new medal for drone pilots before anyone was nominated for it. The Distinguished Warfare Medal, announced by Leon Panetta just before he left the Pentagon, angered veterans as well as those taking issue with drone tactics, the Washington Post reports. A veterans' petition hit the award for being ranked above some medals for combat troops; some lawmakers echoed its concerns.

Now, drone pilots will be eligible for a "distinguishing device" to be "affixed to existing medals," said Chuck Hagel, per the Pentagon. The new defense secretary had ordered a review of the medal soon after taking office. The Veterans of Foreign Wars applauded the switch: "This decision will clearly keep medals that can only be earned in combat in their high order of precedence, while providing proper recognition to all who support our warfighters regardless of their distance from the fight." (More medal stories.)

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