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Murkowski to Pentagon: Honor Combat Over Drones

New Award Places Cyber Warriors above Battlefield Veterans; Senator Disagree, Saying “Combat Awards Are Sacred”

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Senator Lisa Murkowski reached out to Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel today and asked him to rethink the status level attached to the new “Distinguished Warfare Medal.” The new award places the service provided by military men and women who pilot unmanned aerial vehicles in a higher status than that of men and women under fire – including the Purple Heart, bestowed upon those veterans who have been injured or killed in combat.

Senator Murkowski and 22 of her Senate colleagues acknowledge in a letter (attached) that America’s silent warriors play an important role in the national defense of the United State, but question whether the Distinguished Warfare Medal should be ranked above medals for combat heroism and gallantry, writing:

“We believe that medals earned in combat, or in dangerous conditions, should maintain their precedence above non-combat awards. Placing the Distinguished Warfare Medal over the Bronze Star and Purple Heart diminishes the significance of awards earned by risking one’s life in direct combat or through acts of heroism … We have listened to the many Veterans in our states that have contacted us about the precedence of this award and agree that combat awards are sacred, and their precedence is best left undisturbed to preserve the legacy of service in combat and bravery.”

Senator Murkowski was joined by Senators Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), Mark Begich, Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), John Boozman (R-AR), Joe Donnelly (D-IN), Heidi Heidtkamp (D-ND), Dean Heller (R-NV), Tim Johnson (D-SD), Angus King (I-ME), Mary Landrieu (D-LA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Joe Manchin III (D-WV), Claire McCaskill (D-MO), Jay Rockefeller (D-WV), Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Jean Shaheen (D-NH), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Tom Udall (D-NM), Mark Warner (D-VA), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI).

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