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Old 05-13-2010, 05:39 PM   #1
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Default Hold fire, earn a medal!

This is from Navy Times, only a proposal at the moment! Any thought!

Hold fire, earn a medal

By William H. McMichael - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday May 12, 2010 15:51:31 EDT

U.S. troops in Afghanistan could soon be awarded a medal for not doing something, a precedent-setting award that would be given for “courageous restraint” for holding fire to save civilian lives.

The proposal is now circulating in the Kabul headquarters of the International Security Assistance Force, a command spokesman confirmed Tuesday.

“The idea is consistent with our approach,” explained Air Force Lt. Col. Tadd Sholtis. “Our young men and women display remarkable courage every day, including situations where they refrain from using lethal force, even at risk to themselves, in order to prevent possible harm to civilians. In some situations our forces face in Afghanistan, that restraint is an act of discipline and courage not much different than those seen in combat actions.”

Soldiers are often recognized for non-combat achievement with decorations such as their service’s commendation medal. But most of the highest U.S. military decorations are for valor in combat. A medal to recognize a conscious effort to avoid a combat action would be unique.

Consideration of such an award, first reported by an Associated Press reporter in Afghanistan, doesn’t mean that, if approved, troops would be pressured to prevent such casualties at risk to themselves, Sholtis said.

“We absolutely support the right of our forces to defend themselves,” Sholtis said. “Valuing restraint in a potentially dangerous situation is not the same thing as denying troops the right to employ lethal force when they determine that it is necessary.”

A spokesman for the 2.2 million-member Veterans of Foreign Wars, the nation’s largest group of combat veterans, thinks the award would cause confusion among the ranks and send a bad signal.

“The self-protections built into the rules of engagement are clear, and the decision to return fire must be made instantly based on training and the threat,” said Joe Davis, a spokesman for the Veterans of Foreign Wars. “The enemy already hides among noncombatants, and targets them, too. The creation of such an award will only embolden their actions and put more American and noncombatant lives in jeopardy. Let’s not rush to create something that no one wants to present posthumously.”

Giving a medal for restraint was proposed by British Maj. Gen. Nick Carter, ISAF’s Regional Command South commander, during a recent visit to Kandahar by Army Command Sgt. Maj. Mike Hall, the top U.S. enlisted member in Afghanistan, Sholtis said.

U.S. Army Gen. Stanley McChrystal, the ISAF commander, has placed a premium on preventing civilian deaths, having last year tightened the rules of engagement for air strikes and other combat operations in an effort to prevent fatalities. Such deaths build resentment among a populace the U.S. is trying to win over as part of its counterinsurgency strategy to simultaneously drive out the Taliban and strengthen Afghan government.

According to the United Nations, more than 2,400 civilians were killed last year, although estimates vary widely. From March 21 to April 21, 173 civilians were killed in Afghanistan — a 33 percent increase over the same period the previous year — according to the Associated Press, citing Afghan Interior Ministry figures.

Tell us what you think
Is showing “courageous restraint” worthy of a medal? Will it save the lives of civilians? Could it put troops in danger? We want to hear what you're thinking. Send your comments to marinelet@marinecorpstimes.com and be sure to include your name, rank and duty station.

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Old 05-13-2010, 06:18 PM   #2
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dumbest effin idea I have seen in a while. If a legitimate story, I hope this one is killed outright.

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Old 05-13-2010, 06:43 PM   #3
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I heard about that. I'm not sure but as a Marine I think that might be a good way to get your ass kicked once you got back behind the wire. Also, friendly fire isn't always an accident.......just sayin.

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Old 05-13-2010, 06:52 PM   #4
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So, when the U.S. troops are eventually pulled out, can we give every soldier in the country a medal for not staying in a dumb fight?

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Old 05-13-2010, 06:58 PM   #5
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While I can appreciate the sentiment in saying "Good Job" for not opening up on a Mosque where enemy fire was coming from, and thus making the US troops look like rampaging lunatics out for blood, I have to agree with my fellow members.

Next it will be "I didn't fire right away because I wasn't sure it was warranted and I didn't want to be the guy who messed it up for everyone ( getting the medal ). "

That's great, and in the meantime, while everyone was looking around for someone to make the decision to actually fire, three of your guys got hit because it was an ambush that your opponent built playing into that fact.

I have to say it's a bad idea that could indeed get more people hurt or killed.

JD

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Old 05-13-2010, 07:18 PM   #6
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We have the best trained and most moral military in the history of the world. They are trained to recognize a threat and eliminate that threat. Our enemies use schools, mosques, hospitals and civilians as shields knowing that our military will only engage those who engage them. Our enemy also will try to use their malicious and questionable tactics to try to put our military in a bad light. Just the fact that our soldiers are not allowed to use a .50 cal machine gun to shoot a bad guy with a knife shows restraint. To encourage our soldiers to be even more restrained by giving a medal for such shows how the powers that be have no respect or trust in our soldiers. My hope is that this is a medal that no soldier wants to receive or display. Asking a Marine to not be a Marine is like asking a tiger shark to be a vegetarian.

Damn effn libs and their appeasement tactics.

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Old 05-13-2010, 10:22 PM   #7
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All I can say is: WOW!!! If someone shoots at me, (and it is entirey reasonable that I will be in Afghan in the not too distant future), they are going to catch some hot lead. I will take my buddies and I, hittin the rack at the end of the day over a $4 medal anytime.

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Old 05-13-2010, 11:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skullcrusher View Post
..........To encourage our soldiers to be even more restrained by giving a medal for such shows how the powers that be have no respect or trust in our soldiers. My hope is that this is a medal that no soldier wants to receive or display.
Skull my brother, you have done it again. As one of those soldiers I thank you for saying so directly and clearly a summary of the real issue. Military guys and gals exhibit an unbelievable amount of restraint. To earn a medal for it is insulting at best. But that is just my opinion...
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Old 05-13-2010, 11:28 PM   #9
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My SIL was a Cav Scout team leader on his last combat tour in Iraq (05-06) and he had but 1 goal - get ALL his guys back home in one piece. Anybody that threatened to interfere with that goal is no longer among us. He made his first combat patrol the first day in country and made his last the next to last day in country. For those that don't know, the Cav's job is to draw out the bad guys and make them engage.

He brought his team home intact...

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Old 05-13-2010, 11:56 PM   #10
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Wouldn't a “courageous restraint” metal be synonymous with a fifth place T-ball league trophy?

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