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New Medal Designed To Honor Cyber Soldiers

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the achievement-unlocked dept.

The Military 230

bios10h writes "The Boston Globe writes that the Pentagon is creating a new medal to honor cyber soldiers. '[The] troops who launch the drone strikes and direct the cyber-attacks that can kill or disable an enemy may never set foot in the combat zone. Now their battlefield contributions may be recognized with the first new combat-related medal to be created in decades. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta announced Wednesday that the Pentagon is creating a medal that can be awarded to troops who have a direct impact on combat operations, but do it well away from any combat zone.'"

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230 comments

Word.... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42891723)

Ever notice how Octomomâ(TM)s lips are just MADE for blowjobs? Seriously, Iâ(TM)ll bet that woman can SUCK, and Iâ(TM)ll bet sheâ(TM)s pretty cheap these days...

Let me guess (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42891743)

Does it start out bronze, silver, and then gold? And do you get a platinum one if you collect all of the other medals?

Re:Let me guess (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42891783)

Nah, it is just one medal that has a digital meter that continually updates your gamerscore.

Re:Let me guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42892337)

Otherwise known as achievements :D

Re:Let me guess (5, Funny)

Scoldog (875927) | about a year ago | (#42891799)

When you get the platinum medal, it also unlocks new countries to fight in and new and improved drone weapons

Not only do you have to kill a certain amount of people (civilians, enemies, womp rats, whatever), you also have to do pointless tasks like do 15 barrel rolls in a row with a drone to earn certain medals.

Anyone else?

Re:Let me guess (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42892207)

Too bad it's just another Free-to-Play turned Pay-to-Win. If you want to have any chance at making the leaderboards you need to spend some money on proper kit: Faster target acquisition software, cluster munitions, engine boosters. This is not good for competitive gameplay and several influential clans are considering dropping out.

To combat this trend, the US Army stated on their official blog that they are considering opening a marketplace with vanity items instead, like custom paint jobs and "death-tunes" you can play to your unsuspecting victims just before you bomb them (Apocalypse Now style, yeah!)

I also heard a standalone expansion is in the works - it's called "X-51A WaveRider" and has already been postponed after a game-breaking bug has been found in the beta version.

Re:Let me guess (3, Informative)

lemur3 (997863) | about a year ago | (#42892507)

ACTUALLY..

the drones like the predator rely on satellites for control.. .. this actually means that if the pilot turns too sharply (which the drone allows him to do) he can lose contact with the satellite and.. therefore, control..

doing a barrel roll is very unlikely!!

i imagine 'losing control' of the drone because you turned its little satellite dish away from the sat probably wont get you a medal... well, perhaps some Iranian guy may get one!

Re:Let me guess (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42892627)

ACTUALLY..

the drones like the predator rely on satellites for control.. .. this actually means that if the pilot turns too sharply (which the drone allows him to do) he can lose contact with the satellite and.. therefore, control..

doing a barrel roll is very unlikely!!

That's why it's worth more points.

10 pts Performed a barrel roll
15 pts Completed a training mission
25 pts Completed a combat mission with an all female (or male) squad
50 pts Killed 20 enemy commanders in 20 minutes
100 pts Completed campaign in hard mode
200 pts Killed an enemy at the same time as chatting with them in an online chat room

Re:Let me guess (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42892657)

Satellite communication is not physical point-to-point. There isn't a satellite with a dedicated antenna pointed at every drone flying about and their communication cone certainly isn't measured in meters unless the quantity has more than two digits.

Re:Let me guess (1)

davydagger (2566757) | about a year ago | (#42892061)

instead of oak leaf clusters, subsequent awards are denoted by a small metalic "lulz" device, with the same order of awarding

Re:Let me guess (0)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#42892453)

No. But I reckon another medal would be required to recognize the "Exceptional Remote Assassin"(s) when killing - authorized by presidential order, how else? - US citizens. I'll let the suggestions of design to you.

Err ... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42891769)

Isn't the whole point of medals to reward someone for putting their life on the line to protect their country?

I'm sure these drone pilots are doing a good job and all but I wonder how their life could possibly be on the line in a nice cushy bunker somewhere.

I suspect this medal may well end up being called a Clayton's medal, the medal you get when you're not getting a medal.

Captcha: evasion: something drone pilots don't have to worry about too much :-)

Re:Err ... (2)

pushing-robot (1037830) | about a year ago | (#42891795)

Say what you will, but I think the recipients will consider it an Achievement.

Re:Err ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42892255)

Say what you will, but I think the recipients will consider it an Achievement.

Maybe an achievement, but it will never be a Feat Of Strength.

Re:Err ... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42891827)

"Isn't the whole point of medals to reward someone for putting their life on the line to protect their country?"

No. The point of medals is recognition for service. The military awards plenty of medals that have nothing to do with combat.

Re:Err ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42891997)

Some would say that recognition of service is done with, oh, I don't know, a pay packet for instance. You get paid for your service. Medals are for going above and beyond.

I don't get a medal for showing up for work in the morning.

Re:Err ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42892101)

No, but if you do an outstanding job on a project or put in the lion's share of the effort to make a project happen, I'll bet you get at least a little nod of recognition from your boss and/or your peers. That's what meritorious service medals are for, recognition that you performed above and beyond expectations.

Re:Err ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42892109)

My gives me medals for showing up at work...

hmm I guess I'm part of the young generation which expects things like this. All I do is program at my computer.

Re:Err ... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42892119)

Are you kidding? As a submariner we went into combat, that wont be declassified for a minimum of 25 years, we give up every right and are left with only responsibilities, and these douches who can go home every night and sleep in a bed that isn't 6' x 3' by 1' get medals? We don't do it for the glory or pay, but damn!!

Re:Err ... (1)

jythie (914043) | about a year ago | (#42892205)

Not only that, but apparently it actually ranks above at least one of the existing combat metals.

Re:Err ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42892393)

As a submariner you did get extra pay though.

Also, even mentioning you were in a supposed battle that was somehow classified is a violation of your agreement never to acknowledge the existence of classified material. Lastly, any medal you would have gotten for said classified battle would also be classified, so even if you received a metal you wouldn't know or be able to acknowledge the medal publicly until the battle has been declassified.

Re:Err ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42892251)

You're not in the military I take it.

Good Conduct Medal. You didn't get in trouble.
Any Campaign or theater Medal. You showed up to work somewhere unfriendly (though even Antarctica has one)
National Defense Service Medal. You graduated basic training more or less.
Global war on terrorism. You how are some how connected to the war on terrorism (IE Everyone) ...
The list goes on.
If you basically just show up to work and do what you're told you'll probably finish your first 6 years with 4 medals for doing nothing special.

Re:Err ... (1)

jythie (914043) | about a year ago | (#42892191)

The strange thing is, that this is a combat metal, the first one that does not require being in any actual danger. I doubt people would be snickering so much if it was simply a metal for achievement like other ones.

Re:Err ... (1)

stephanruby (542433) | about a year ago | (#42891875)

Isn't the whole point of medals to reward someone for putting their life on the line to protect their country?

Not anymore.

Now the entire military infrastructure, from cleaning the latrines to killing suspicious civilians, can be gamified.

Re:Err ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42892039)

Now the entire military infrastructure, from killing the latrines to cleaning suspicious civilians, can be gamified.

FTFY

Re:Err ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42892057)

They are putting their life on the line! Did you know that 60,000-100,000 deaths per year can be attributed to pulmonary embolism as a result of deep vein thrombosis? What about heart disease, obesity, tennis elbow, haemorrhoids... It's a high-risk job. Those boys definitely deserve a medal!

Re:Err ... (2)

hairyfish (1653411) | about a year ago | (#42892123)

I thought the Purple Heart was a cop out (who gives a medal for being shot?), but a medal for putting in absolutely zero risk takes the cake. The purpose of medals is to inspire courage, bravery and loyalty, this is just devaluing the system. They may as well call it a participation medal.

Re:Err ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42892497)

THAT! is a bold faced lie! Absulutely zero risk??? Hardly! You can easily get meta-carpal tunnel syndrome by flying a drone for hours at a time! Not to mention hemorrhoids! Its also a hazard to sit for long periods of time! Ask an office worker!

Purple Mouse (4, Funny)

nick_davison (217681) | about a year ago | (#42892127)

Isn't the whole point of medals to reward someone for putting their life on the line to protect their country?

That, sir, is un-American thinking. Those brave young men and women put their carpal tunnels on the line for you every day and they haven't even been granted a Purple Mouse in recognition.

I think.... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42892289)

a Purple Nurple would be more in order.

Re:Err ... (2)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#42892157)

Isn't the whole point of medals to reward someone for putting their life on the line to protect their country?

Don't you know anything? Video games need achievements now. But an achievement like "blew up children with drone" only pays out 10 gamerscore, it takes "personally shot up people trying to defend their country" to get the big numbers.

Re:Err ... (5, Insightful)

caffiend666 (598633) | about a year ago | (#42892203)

Not all awards are for risking ones life. Some, like the Army service ribbon are given simply for completing training. Some medals are given for achievements not necessarily related to heroism, like the Army Commendation Medal. Technically speaking, people are risking their lives to complete basic training, though.

Although there are no significant physical risks in fighting remotely, these service members are still going through significant stress and risking PTSD in their jobs. Yes, 'it's like playing a video game'. But there are real lives on the line, there is no pause button, and possibly endless days doing a single task. Doesn't matter if it's just pushing buttons in an airconditioned room, they lose sleep and their sanity just the same. Not to mention watching films of people dying, the ones they just killed.

I've read of facebook image filterers suffering from PTSD and depression. Now, imagine if those image filterers had to decide not just whether to block the image, but also whether to kill the people in the pictures.

Re:Err ... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42892237)

Yep, a great job. If you count wiping out brown skinned civilian women and children.

Re:Err ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42892253)

"Give me enough medals, and I'll win any war."
"A soldier will fight long and hard for a bit of colored ribbon."
- Napoleon

Isn't the whole point of medals to reward someone for putting their life on the line to protect their country?

In a way, but not exactly. Medals exist as a very cheap incentive to make people (usually soldiers, but not always) work harder than they otherwise would. It isn't about risking your life - for instance, the USSR at one point gave medals to workers who excelled at their job, and many companies use the technique (e.g. employee of the month). Ask a gamer (more than one, if possible) if they ever spent time playing a game not for fun but only to get "achievements". The so-called achievements work exactly like medals, with the difference that you'll never get laid by telling a girl at the bar you have all the achievements in Generic War FPS 4.
tl;dr: medals are carrots.

Re:Err ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42892271)

The higher decorations go to officers who never risk anything greater than their reputations and other people's lives. The decorations that are awarded to soldiers are there to add the illusion of valour to their senior officers' undeserved medals. The whole system of military decorations is basically bullshit and this is just another rather curious layer of bullshit on the pile.
Naturally decorations that recognise participation or the Purple Heart do stand above the rest.

But they are heroes! Right? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42892441)

Hey, they braved traffic, carpal tunnel syndrome, overtime hours, and they managed to suppress any feelings of guilt, shame, or empathy for the people they slaughtered in their push-button war.

Re:Err ... (1)

bistromath007 (1253428) | about a year ago | (#42892475)

Google isn't helping me: what is the significance of "Clayton's medal?" Can you show me something to read about this?

Re:Err ... (4, Informative)

deimtee (762122) | about a year ago | (#42892555)

"Claytons" was a spirit style drink that didn't actually contain any alcohol. ie, you could drink "Claytons and Soda" or "Claytons on the rocks" all night and still drive home. It was targeted at designated drivers and others who couldn't drink but still wanted to socialise.
They ran a massive ad campaign for a few years in Oz - "The drink you have when you're not having a drink" and it became a generic (mildly insulting) term that implied something wasn't real, or didn't have the content it should have.

Re:Err ... (2)

Hans Lehmann (571625) | about a year ago | (#42892517)

Military medals were created to honer a soldier without actually spending any significant portion of the King's treasury. It's so much cheaper to hand out a trinket that costs a few dollars than it is to actually give a performance bonus to those that risked their lives.

A Terrible Idea (0, Flamebait)

rtb61 (674572) | about a year ago | (#42891771)

A truly bad idea, no matter what they call it, it will end up being the gutless coward award for those too chicken shit to face combat, the kiddy killer award.

Re:A Terrible Idea (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42891809)

"... for those too chicken shit to face combat."

Like you?

Re:A Terrible Idea (1)

FCAdcock (531678) | about a year ago | (#42891883)

Truith BURN!

Seriously though, medals aren't just for combat. Many are simply for doing your job well. I guess not missing your target and killing kids by accident could be considered doing it well. This does seem to be fairly pointless though.

Combat isn't about guts. (1)

elucido (870205) | about a year ago | (#42892017)

Combat is about survival and winning. It doesn't matter if you use snipers, nukes, or hackers.

That being said the concept of combat is going to change. Currently cyber soldiers aren't viewed as a combat role but that is going to drastically change in the near future when the enemy begins targeting them directly. Right now it seems like it's not a combat role but people felt that way about the Airforce at first too. The nature of war is going to change and combat will change but anyone who kills or risks being killed for the US Constitution should have our respect.

Re:Combat isn't about guts. (1)

femto (459605) | about a year ago | (#42892165)

> ...when the enemy begins targeting them directly

And at that point, the civilian population will realise what a really bad idea drone warfare is. It's all rosy whilst running an unequal contest, blowing up a bunch of Taliban with little ability to fight back. If an enemy with the ability to fight back is engaged, bombs will start falling on the drone pilots, and the civilian population will realise that drone warfare has turned them into human shields.

Re:A Terrible Idea (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42892051)

Are you now or have you ever been an infantry grunt? For that matter, a voluntary member of the any national armed forces? If not, kindly shut your fucking mouth. The underlying truth that people forget or overlook in their rush either disparge the military or suck its collective dick is that the military requires more than just bombs and bullets and warm bodies to fire guns. The military needs logistics personnel to ensure forward personnel get the neccesary beans, bullets, and band-aids. The military needs communications and digital infrastructure personnel to ensure someone doesn't pick up a transmission with a friggin' radio scanner. That includes, gasp!, cyberwarfare and communications Soliders! Drone pilots do more than bomb places, they provide surveillance so Joe Snuffy Rambo doesn't walk into a deathtrap and get slaughtered.

In summary, go fuck yourself you self-righteous prick.

Re:A Terrible Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42892843)

I don't think anyone said those roles weren't useful. I'm just questioning why they'd qualify for a medal when they're not within cooee of a war zone.

By all means give medals to logistics, medical, comms, and cooks but only when they're in real danger, somewhere near the "front line".

And seriously, profanity? You may want to look into rhetoric at some point if you're going to argue on the internets.Aristotle would be rolling in his grave.

Re:A Terrible Idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42892155)

A truly bad idea, no matter what they call it, it will end up being the gutless coward award for those too chicken shit to face combat, the kiddy killer award.

I know you want to vent because you dont like your life, you had a bad day, maybe bitching online from behind the safety of your computer (makes you a hypocrite really considering the comment you made) is the only way your ego gets boosted since you have no self esteem, maybe youre just really stupid, or maybe its something else but you obviously didnt think about this.

When youre in the military you dont get a choice what you get to do. If someone shows skills in something you get stuck with it. Just like I was a damn fine shot so in the army I was put in as a sniper and trained as one. Just like if youre skilled with fixing things you might get put in the motorpool. Sure you can request or try to get a certain posistion but really you dont get to chose squat. So its not like someone goes into the recruitment office and says "Hey I want to kill people with drones" and magically they are behind a console killing people with a drone.

Besides arent people in artillary also cowards for staying back behind the fighting miles away and bombarding them with ordance? Or what about fighter pilots dropping bombs? Or guys on a destroyer firing onto the shoreline from out in the ocean? A sniper that sits way back and kills a man from hiding? Sure they can be killed but the chances are slim to nill really.

Lets look at the reality as well. Youre saying its better for a guy in the army to be shot on the battlefield trying to kill someone than it is to do it with a drone? So youre a gutless coward if you kill someone while being safe? Bottom line is you need to kill this guy, but youre a coward if you do it safely? Combat is combat and killing is killing, doing either of those without risking your life is the key element, to live while your enemy dies. Thats why we have wars, to kill our enemy and live to see them defeated. Do you really think its cowardly for the military to find ways to defeats its enemies and keep its soldiers as safe as possible? If a cop wears a bullet proof vest do you think him a coward?

Youre the gutless coward ranting from behind your pc. Youre the moron who doesnt actually think before he speaks. And you have no concept of war or reality.

Re:A Terrible Idea (1)

chronokitsune3233 (2170390) | about a year ago | (#42892163)

Sadly, you're right. People will see it as "Thank you for playing a video game," rather than "Thank you for serving your country." I see it the latter way. After all, a soldier is a soldier. I'm not sure about how the drone remote controls are designed, but in theory someone who ended up with a permanently handicapped leg or something like that (e.g. prosthetic leg because the real one got blown off) could still handle that. They can still serve their country. They can still fight. They may be too physically impaired to be on the field, but that doesn't mean they can't do something using a remote-controlled vehicle of some sort such as the drones. I don't like the drones any more than anybody else, but I know there can be a positive side to them. I doubt they'll be used in such a manner unfortunately, but that's how they might be used.

Everyone wants appreciation (1)

FixedDice (2840691) | about a year ago | (#42891833)

Achievement Unlocked: Chair Power!

Re:Everyone wants appreciation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42891991)

Oh, a contest for naming the new achievement/medal?

Let me see: "9-to-5 soldier", "LGB whore", "Death from afar", "Push the button", "Death-dealer's cubicle"

Re:Everyone wants appreciation (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#42892481)

"Cyber-soldier" - the presence of the "cyber" should be shame enough (I'm sick of the term).

What the international symbol for a coward? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42891847)

A big yellow disk with a chicken on it???

eMedal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42891887)

I think an eMedal would be very fitting ;-)

Re:eMedal (1)

AHuxley (892839) | about a year ago | (#42892151)

Dreaming of the eMedal, you find an evildoers site, but the whois is Whois Privacy blocked.
Laundering the LEO request via a state agency you get the name back.
They had a higher security clearance than your boss...
Men in suits visit your cubicle demanding to know why their database was alerted...

First Award (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42891947)

Five bucks says the first one of these will go to a "pilot" or a bomb loader a thousand (or 12000) miles from where it gets used.

Order of Precedence (5, Insightful)

anglico (1232406) | about a year ago | (#42891977)

If you want to give out a medal for flying a drone, fine, I don't have a huge problem with it as long as you're great at it. What really irritates me and a lot of other service members is it's ranking in the 'order of precedence'. What I've read is it ranks above some combat medals, specifically the Bronze Star, which is really pissing off the 'boots on the ground' troops and I don't blame them for being mad.

Re:Order of Precedence (2)

elucido (870205) | about a year ago | (#42892023)

If you want to give out a medal for flying a drone, fine, I don't have a huge problem with it as long as you're great at it. What really irritates me and a lot of other service members is it's ranking in the 'order of precedence'. What I've read is it ranks above some combat medals, specifically the Bronze Star, which is really pissing off the 'boots on the ground' troops and I don't blame them for being mad.

But the nature of combat is constantly changing. Ground troops are still important but their role is going to become less important over time. In the future there will be robots used in certain roles where ground troops are used now. The drone operators and cyber warriors will eventually be the main role.

Re:Order of Precedence (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42892073)

That's total bullshit. You clearly don't have the first clue what you're talking about.

Re:Order of Precedence (1)

anglico (1232406) | about a year ago | (#42892133)

But the nature of combat is constantly changing. Ground troops are still important but their role is going to become less important over time. In the future there will be robots used in certain roles where ground troops are used now. The drone operators and cyber warriors will eventually be the main role.

But I doubt they're going to give the robots medals for it, it's not as if they can lose their life. As I stated, giving a medal to a drone pilot is one thing, ranking it higher than a medal given for having an actual presence in combat is a whole different issue.

Re:Order of Precedence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42892159)

But medals aren't given out for who contributes the most to the war effort. If that were the case, they'd be handing out medals to engineers and farmers and factory workers and the like. Medals are given out for things like bravery and self-sacrifice, which means that soldiers who put themselves in harm's way are more deserving than those whose greatest risk is carpal tunnel.

Re:Order of Precedence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42892161)

The purpose of medals is to reward soldiers who show exceptional and desirable behavior with increased social standing. This will encourage other soldiers to engage in similar behavior, improving the overall effectiveness of the fighting force. If the soldiers feel that a medal is undeserving, then there will be resentment, which undermines the whole program. The nature of war is changing but human nature is not: as long as you need those soldiers on the ground putting their lives at risk, they need to feel that their potential sacrifice is appreciated. When high awards are handed out to people who can't even get a Purple Heart, there will certainly be some resentment.

Re:Order of Precedence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42892025)

No argument, but I'd suggest the even deeper problem there is that "Bronze Star with Valor Device" is the same medal as "Bronze Star." The one, you get for doing something heroic. The other, for breathing oxygen for long enough with a certain rank.

Re:Order of Precedence (1)

SlayerofGods (682938) | about a year ago | (#42892383)

This is true.
The Bronze star while being a 'combat' medal doesn't require one to participate in combat to receive it. And in fact sets the bar pretty low with only requiring ' meritorious achievement or service'.
This new medal's requirement of 'extraordinary achievement' would indeed seem to place it higher then the bronze star. Point of fact 'extraordinary' is the same wording found on the service crosses; the second highest award after only the medal of honor. Where as one can find meritorious achievement as a requirement on something as common as a Achievement medal (The military's "good job" awards).

Re:Order of Precedence (1)

joe_frisch (1366229) | about a year ago | (#42892171)

Maybe there should be a clear distinction (in names and designs) between service and bravery medals. Both have meaning and can be used to reward actions above and beyond the ordinary, but it would be good to not confuse the two.

Re:Order of Precedence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42892287)

You get a Bronze Star for commanding a combat unit in a combat zone, even if none of you ever get within fifty miles of actual combat. At this point, the Bronze Star is the officer's equivalent of an ArCom.

Re:Order of Precedence (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42892443)

Eh, you can get a Bronze Star without participating in combat at all as an end of tour award, if your higher end enlisted or a warrant officer or an officer in combat zone.

Brilliant! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42892033)

Now all those Call of Duty players will have a reason to join the army!

Award should be a Commodore 64 (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42892045)

connected to a 25 inch Zenith analog TV housed in an imitation walnut cabinet, with lime green E X T E N D E D P L A Y letters blinking on and off.

Stress (4, Insightful)

Baldrake (776287) | about a year ago | (#42892085)

The Christian Science Monitor had an interesting piece [csmonitor.com] a while back on the stress of remotely participating in combat:

At the end of the day, these pilots get in their cars and drive home to their families, mow the lawn and make dinner, or take their children to soccer practice.

The result is an "existential conflict" in some UAV pilots, says Col. Hernando Ortega, surgeon for the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Agency. It is "a guilt feeling, perhaps – or a 'Did I make the right decision?' " he explains." 'Was this a friendly fire incident? Was it a good outcome? Was it a bad outcome? Could I have done it better?'"

It's obviously not comparable to driving a LAV in convoy wondering when the next IED is going to detonate. But it appears to be a much tougher job than many of us would think.

Re:Stress (4, Insightful)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year ago | (#42892411)

... stress of remotely participating in combat

The result is an "existential conflict" in some UAV pilots, says Col. Hernando Ortega, surgeon for the Air Force Intelligence, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance Agency. It is "a guilt feeling, perhaps â" or a 'Did I make the right decision?'

Mayhaps part of the problem is that some of the drone-related operations are so blatantly wrong that soldiers who are executing them must feel the inevitable guilt. Not "was it right or was it wrong?", but "why did I just kill a group of civilians on purpose?".

For example, an attack on the funeral procession of "militants" killed earlier in the day [wikipedia.org]
(quotes around militants are added by me, since at least nowdays that is defined as "adult males")

Re:Stress (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42892771)

Would think it's related to the feeling a lot of us that work from home for extended amounts of time can get. When your office is just a few feet from your main living area you feel like you never really separate yourself form that "at work" mentality. When your overseas facing these issues then come home you have that separation and can try to block the bad stress from your mind, where when you mix killing people and then loving your family every day I can see how it could affect you.

Interesting video (1)

femto (459605) | about a year ago | (#42892089)

The Pentagon has posted a really interesting video [mistermaker.com] , about the process that they use to manufacture these medals.

Personal risk != medal (1)

atomican (2799855) | about a year ago | (#42892115)

Contrary to popular notion, not all medals are awarded for bravery. As a matter of fact, relatively few are. Some are rewarded for merely being present in a particular theater of war or in a particular campaign; some are rewarded for skill or adroitness in combat. This would fall in the latter category I would think.

Re:Personal risk != medal (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42892767)

I forget the medal, but I knew someone whom was retired from the Air Force. Had a medal which was awarded for a critical support role, a role that only by some far flung definition could be considered risky. Apparently the medal got him some nice retirement perks too, he was really well off, enough so to put his grandchildren through college.

Typical Air Force (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42892185)

Well, this is certainly better than the Medal of Commissary Valor (with oak cluster) awarded to personnel in the 356th Tactical Lawn Mowing squadron.

medal for cyber (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42892201)

a virtual one or a cyber one?

Why soldiers? (1)

darkfeline (1890882) | about a year ago | (#42892249)

Why do we have soldiers fly drones anyway? I imagine gamers would do a MUCH better job with the drones: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQLIaZUOnBU [youtube.com]

Re:Why soldiers? (1)

ShanghaiBill (739463) | about a year ago | (#42892413)

Why do we have soldiers fly drones anyway? I imagine gamers would do a MUCH better job with the drones

Someone can be both a soldier and a gamer.

Re:Why soldiers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42892623)

Because soldiers are required to follow orders.

Medals for everyone! (2)

jcr (53032) | about a year ago | (#42892279)

Coming soon: the Unquestioning Obedience Citation, awarded for not caring about legalities like declaring war.

-jcr

Re:Medals for everyone! (1)

grouchomarxist (127479) | about a year ago | (#42892785)

Isn't that already included by default in all medals? I've never heard of an 'acting on your conscience' medal or 'doing the right thing' medal.

Medal Saturation (2)

Irate Engineer (2814313) | about a year ago | (#42892311)

I served 6 years in the Air Force - no heroics, didn't dodge any bullets, but I did my job to the best of my ability. I left with a box full of of medals and citations that promptly went into the dumpster. Why? Because they were awarded every time I sneezed into a hanky and not into someone's face, for showing up to work on time sober...things that I was duty-bound to do anyway.

The military has joined the rest of American society in giving out awards for everything, for everyone, because we are all special.

If someone did a really good job, great - give them a pay bump or something. If someone did something truly exceptional, honor them by not giving the least competent slob in the unit the same award just because he bothered to show up two days in a row.

Re:Medal Saturation (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42892501)

We are sooo fucked!...*sniff*

Way more stressful than you think.... (2)

craznar (710808) | about a year ago | (#42892345)

When in the field, a soldier gets stressed out - sure, however they get to use much of the innate stress mechanisms humans and animals have of fight or flight.

When sitting behind a computer screen in an air conditioned office - much of the stress is still there however there is no mechanism for management.

Just ask an air traffic controller if they think their job is easy - now compound that by actually having to kill people.

Personally - I think these guys probably don't need medals, they probably need lots of counselling.

There should be no medal for this! (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42892351)

Because all the families of the innocents slain fucking hate you, and your country, and all that drone killings represent. I mean seriously, congratulations: you ran some software someone else made, and you followed orders from someone else to drop a bomb on something you didn't personally go to. Thanks a lot?

Teletroopers (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#42892445)

Remote U.S. teletroopers.

The world needs more dead Americans.

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