Silly awards are nothing new in the Armed Forces. Just ask Lyndon B. Johnson about his Silver Star. But the decision of SecDef to authorize the Desperate Whiner Medal is an insult to so many who serve on the front lines. There are plenty of awards available already to recognize people who have performed notable service not involving direct combat.
Shortly after returning from Desert Storm, our brigade held a ceremony. It was the second (and last) time we wore the desert BDUs we’d been issued well after the shooting stopped. Even though division had ann0unced an very liberal awards policy – every SGT and below would receive the Army Commendation Medal, and every SSG and above would receive the Bronze Star for Meritorious Service- I was surprised an awards ceremony would be a brigade sized formation. Normally, these things are done at the company, or at most, battalion level. And awards generally take a lot more than one week to process.
As it turned out, the brigade did have the formation. And awards were given. Just not to any of us. The Brigade Commander gave letters of commendation or appreciation to just about every entity on post that had in any conceivable manner supported the deployment of the brigade. Seriously, the post library and commissary needed awards?
I did eventually receive my ARCOM (and a bonus end-of-tour Army Achievement Medal). No ceremony. Just had to line up and pick it up from the First Sergeant’s office.