Author Topic: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours  (Read 38447 times)

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Online tomahawk6

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UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« on: April 03, 2007, 20:28:40 »
The future of aviation I suspect will be this new career field.The rotorheads wont like this one iota.So I suspect at some point the brainiacs will come up with a different set of wings so they can tell the difference between those that leave the ground and those that do it virtually. ;D

http://www.armytimes.com/news/2007/04/army_UAV_awards_070403w/

UAV operators now eligible for aviation awards
By Jim Tice - Staff writer
Posted : Tuesday Apr 3, 2007 17:00:58 EDT

Soldiers who operate unmanned aerial vehicles now are eligible for award of the Aviation Badge, Distinguished Flying Cross and Air Medal.

The policy change will be included in an upcoming revision of Army Regulation 600-8-22 (Military Awards).

Under the new policy, approved last month, unmanned aerial vehicle system warrant officers and enlisted operators may be awarded the DFC or AM “if they are physically located on the aircraft (system) during the cited period, and all criteria for the decorations have been met.”

The Distinguished Flying Cross is a prestigious decoration that ranks just behind the Silver Star as a valor medal. It is awarded for heroism or extraordinary achievement.

The Air Medal is awarded for heroism, outstanding achievement or meritorious service. It ranks behind the Bronze Star, but in front of the Army Commendation Medal.

There are three degrees of Aviation Badges, which previously were called Aircraft Crewmember Badges.

The Basic Aviation Badge is awarded upon successful completion of advanced individual training in a designated career field or military occupational specialty, and to warrant officers upon successful completion of the MOS 150U (tactical UAV operations technician).

Officers who hold MOS 350U or 350K will be awarded the Basic Aviation Badge retroactively to their date of graduation from the qualification course.

The newly qualifying enlisted specialties are:

• MOS 96U (UAV operator) from Aug. 1, 1993, through Sept. 30, 2003.

• MOS 35K (UAV operator) from Oct. 1, 2007, through Sept. 30, 2008.

• The 68-series MOSs from Dec. 31, 1985, through Sept. 30, 2003.

• Soldiers who completed advanced individual training in CMF 28 before Sept. 30, 1973.

The Senior Aviation Badge is awarded upon successful completion of seven years in flight status, or 10 years of non-flight experience in a principal duty assignment for designated specialties.

The new qualifying career fields and MOSs for enlisted soldiers and warrant officers are:

• MOS 96U (UAV operator) from Aug. 1, 1993, through Sept. 30, 2003.

• MOS 35K (UAV operator) from Oct. 1, 2007, through Sept. 30, 2008.

• 68-series MOSs from Dec. 31, 1985, through Sept. 30, 2003.

• Warrant officers in MOS 150A (tactical UAV operations technician), and officers in 150A who had 10 or more years of experience in 350U and 350K.

The Master Aviation Badge is awarded upon successful completion of 15 years in flight status, or 17 years of non-flight experience in a principal duty assignment for designated specialties.

The new qualifying career fields and MOSs for enlisted soldiers and warrants are:

• MOS 96U (UAV operator) from Aug. 1, 1993, through Sept. 30, 2003.

• MOS 35K (UAV operator) from Oct. 1, 2007, through Sept. 30, 2008.

• Warrant officers in MOS 150A, 151U and 151A. Officers in these specialties may qualify for the badge after 17 years of experience in 350U and 150K, enlisted CMF 68 or 93, or enlisted MOS 71P, 96U or 35K.

MikeL

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UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2013, 19:33:58 »
http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/news/2013/02/military-new-medal-for-drone-pilots-outranks-bronze-star-021313/

Quote
New medal for drone pilots outranks Bronze Star
By Andrew Tilghman - Staff writer
Posted : Wednesday Feb 13, 2013 16:37:27 EST
The Pentagon is creating a new high-level military medal that will recognize drone pilots and, in a controversial twist, giving it added clout by placing it above some traditional combat valor medals in the military’s “order of precedence.”

The Distinguished Warfare Medal will be awarded to pilots of unmanned aircraft, offensive cyber war experts or others who are directly involved in combat operations but who are not physically in theater and facing the physical risks that warfare historically entails.

The new medal will rank just below the Distinguished Flying Cross. It will have precedence over — and be worn on a uniform above — the Bronze Star with Valor device, a medal awarded to troops for specific heroic acts performed under fire in combat.

The new medal is a brass pendant, nearly two inches tall, with a laurel wreath that circles a globe. An eagle is in the center. The ribbon has blue, red and white stripes.

“This award recognizes the reality of the kind of technological warfare we are engaged in the 21st century,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta told reporters in Washington on Wednesday.

The new medal will be awarded for specific acts, such as the successful targeting of a particular individual at a critical time.

“Our military reserves its highest decorations obviously for those who display gallantry and valor in actions when their lives are on the line and we will continue to do so,” Panetta said.

“But we should also have the ability to honor the extraordinary actions that make a true difference in combat operations,” Panetta said. “The contribution they make does contribute to the success of combat operations, particularly when they remove the enemy from the field of battle, even if those actions are physically removed from the fight.”

The service secretaries will make the final determination for awarding the Distinguished Warfare Medal.

The order of precedence came as a surprise to Doug Sterner, a military medals expert and the curator of the Military Times Hall of Valor, the largest database of military medal recipients.

“It’s got me puzzled,” Sterner said in an interview Wednesday. “I understand the need to recognize the guys at the console who are doing some pretty important things. But to see it ranking above the Bronze Star [with] V?”


Offline Journeyman

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #2 on: February 13, 2013, 19:40:26 »
Should this not have been posted under "Dumbest Thing Heard"?    ::)



....mind you, my Peacekeeping Medal trumps everything but my Afghan medal, so.....    :not-again:

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #3 on: February 13, 2013, 19:52:18 »
It's almost up there with being Bibered.    :nod:

Online tomahawk6

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2013, 20:16:37 »
Agreed.We have reached a new level of retardedness if thats a word.


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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2013, 22:08:22 »
It's the whole "Let's just give everyone a ribbon so they don't feel left out or a lesser person." touchy feely thing.
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Offline Shamrock

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2013, 23:01:40 »
Can't wait for the recipients of the Combat Dronesman Badge calling the infantry pogues.

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2013, 23:16:54 »
I'm sure the Duffel Blog's writers are just killing themselves in ironic laughter right now. 

I completely understand and advocate a medal for UAV operations, as those folks are essentially on "deployed" (as in shifts, workload, etc.) or actually deployed for launch/recovery crews in the fun places in the world, but to have it ranked higher than a Bronze Star?  That's a little rich.
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #9 on: February 18, 2013, 23:39:07 »
Distinguished Warfare Medal

February 18, 2013: The U.S. Department of Defense has, for the second time in a decade, decided to create a new medal for extraordinary behavior in combat for those who are not holding down a traditional combat job. This time it’s a medal for Cyber War experts, UAV operators, and anyone else who makes an exceptional effort towards the winning of a combat operation without actually being there. Called the Distinguished Warfare Medal, it will provide a way of recognizing such accomplishments. Previously the military had “meritorious service” awards for this sort of thing but this new medal recognizes achievement in the combat zone by people who are not there. This is all because you now have a lot more people who are linked, in real time, to the battlefield. For UAV operators it’s normal to see and hear the combat and make life or death decisions while virtually involved. There is some stress associated with this, and even the risk of PTSD. But combat troops are not happy with the Pentagon calling the Distinguished Warfare Medal a “combat” award. The people at the Department of Defense who came up with this appear to have ignored thousands of years of military history. Going into combat where the other guy can kill you is a very special kind of job. One of the perks you gave to those who did it was recognition that they were special. The Distinguished Warfare Medal is seen as being disrespectful towards the combat troops who risk their lives. There have always been support troops who rendered essential and often extraordinary service. No one in that position ever expected a medal deemed superior to the lowest battlefield heroism awards.



http://www.strategypage.com/htmw/htmoral/articles/20130218.aspx
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Offline kratz

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #10 on: February 19, 2013, 06:27:45 »
This news was posted and discussed earlier last week.
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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #11 on: February 19, 2013, 11:44:18 »
    ;)

Offline Jimmy_D

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2013, 12:28:52 »
    ;)

OH, where can I get one of these? ;D
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Offline Hamish Seggie

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #13 on: February 19, 2013, 12:36:17 »
Is this for real or are you guys cooking up an elaborate joke?

And "retardedness" is a word. I use it all the time along with "smoothlier".
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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2013, 12:40:39 »
Is this for real or are you guys cooking up an elaborate joke?

And "retardedness" is a word. I use it all the time along with "smoothlier".


Sadly, I'm pretty sure the news story is real; for satire see this.

But, you know, it is the US of A, and it is the US of A's military, so how long until:

     1. The satire becomes reality; and

     2. Canada decides it's a good idea just because the Americans do it?
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Offline Hamish Seggie

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #15 on: February 19, 2013, 12:42:35 »


     2. Canada decides it's a good idea just because the Americans do it?

I'll start working on that right now. >:D

It's like the "participation medal" every kid gets at sports events.
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Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #16 on: February 19, 2013, 13:36:55 »
'Never send a human to do a robot's job'

So let's give the medal to the robots. I can't stand it when we discriminate against our cybernetic, war winning, human life saving friends.  ;D
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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #17 on: February 19, 2013, 16:39:35 »
Giving a medal to someone doing a job that a 12 year old can do that superceeds a medal awarded for being wounded in combat or for heroism  is a wonderful idea.   They should probably get some sort of danger pay while they're at it.
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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #18 on: February 19, 2013, 17:39:34 »
Giving a medal to someone doing a job that a 12 year old can do that superceeds a medal awarded for being wounded in combat or for heroism  is a wonderful idea.   They should probably get some sort of danger pay while they're at it.

Drone Pilot Ejects From Office Chair

http://www.theglobaledition.com/drone-pilot-ejects-from-office-chair/

 ;D
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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #19 on: February 19, 2013, 21:00:17 »
I was listening to an interview driving back from Pennsylvania today about this very subject with Peter Singer, director of the 21st Century Defense Initiative and a senior fellow in foreign policy at the Brookings Institution.

http://www.npr.org/2013/02/19/172412891/op-ed-its-time-to-recognize-the-valor-of-cyber-warfare

He makes a couple of good points in the interview:

Quote
SINGER:Oh, it's an odd sort of medal, in that the very description of it, the official description says that it, quote, "may not be awarded for valor in combat under any circumstances," which we've never seen happen in a medal before. Essentially, the idea is that it's to recognize accomplishments that are exceptional and outstanding, but not bounded in any geographic or chronologic manner - that is, it's not taking place in the combat zone. And so, essentially, it's recognizing that people can now do extraordinary things because of the new technologies that we're using in war, drones and cyber, but that the system wasn't prepared to recognize them.

Quote
SINGER: Well, it's interesting. It goes to what you're trying to recognize with a medal, with an award. Is it the hardships that a person faces, or is what the medal designation says is to recognize something, quote, "so exceptional and outstanding as to clearly set the individual apart from comrades or from other persons in similar situations."

So, you know, traditionally, medals have not been about saying, well, you had a really tough time of it. That's the only one that fits into that category, is the Purple Heart. But for all the others, it's to recognize that you've done something extraordinary, something different than others in a similar situation. And that's the category that this medal is for. It's not saying it's the same thing as a combat medal. It's saying it's not for combat.

So I think, again, it turns on what our notions of medals and what are they for and what's the role they play in war? But I should put my finger on one part of it, though, is that part of why this has been controversial, not in the public but within the military, is not the creation of the medal itself but it's precedence; that is, where one can wear it. And that's where there's been a lot of controversy in the military because if it was (unintelligible)

HEADLEE: The rank, you mean, of this - yeah.

SINGER: Yeah, the rank of it, is that someone will be able to wear it above a bronze star with valor, which is something that's awarded for combat. And so, that's what a lot of the controversy within the military has been. It's not been about the medal itself but the precedence, the rank of the medal. And, again, that's, you know, something to go back and forth on. You know, there's an argument to be made there. I can see it.

Quote
SINGER: Well, I think it's two things. One, Mark put his finger on the really heart of the controversy within the military right now, which is not, you know, can we recognize these people, but where in the precedent should it be set? And, frankly, that's, you know, something the military is going to have to work out. I'm not in the position to say, hey, it should be above or below bronze or above or below silver. To me, the fact that by its very definition, it's very clear that it is, you know, again, this is the definition. It may not be awarded for valor in combat. It's an indicator that this is a medal, but it's also something different.

But there's a second part to this that - I mean, I'm a little bit concerned about from this heat, from this controversy around it, is that the first time this medal is awarded, it's going to go to someone who's done something extraordinary for the nation. And yet, the reality is they're probably going to be mocked by a fairly significant portion of the military and or the Twittersphere, or however you want to say it. That is, we're going to focus on what was not done rather than was done. And that's a shame, in a certain way, coming out of this controversy.

Full transcript at the link.

As Singer indicates, the medal is not an award for bravery or valor, and not issued as a combat medal. It recognizes extraordinary and outstanding accomplishments by those who serve with the new technologies of drone warfare, cyberwarfare, and other areas where there currently is no other means of recognition other than commendations or citations. But by putting it's precedence above the Bronze Star diminishes the potential sacrifice that is implied with the Bronze Star should never have occurred.
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Offline Dimsum

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #20 on: February 19, 2013, 21:43:33 »
Giving a medal to someone doing a job that a 12 year old can do that superceeds a medal awarded for being wounded in combat or for heroism  is a wonderful idea.   They should probably get some sort of danger pay while they're at it.

I used to think that the medal was placed too high.  Now I'm not sure.  Excuse me while I go off on a little bit of a tangent/rant:

1.  What people seem to forget is that there are actually 2 versions of the Bronze Star (BSM); one with the V (for valour) and one without.  There have been controversies that the one without the V has been watered down; see link below.  Of course, that opens the can of worms whether the BSM with V should even be in the same category as the other one, but that's another rant for another day.

http://www.airforcetimes.com/news/2012/04/air-force-tech-sergeants-take-heat-bronze-stars-041612/

2.  Yes, the missions are generally run out of places in the US, where the person can go home and see family, friends, etc.  That being said, they have launch and recovery teams locally to land/take-off the RPAs who are on deployment lengths similar to (or longer than) those of us in OP ATHENA back in the day.  If it's possible for someone in, say, KAF to get a Bronze Star, and the article above definitely thinks so, then why should the DWM not be rated higher?

3.  As cupper said, it's not like every RPA pilot/sensor operator/janitor at Creech AFB is getting this.  People seem to be getting worked up over a medal that maybe a few may get.
« Last Edit: February 19, 2013, 22:10:07 by Dimsum »
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Offline rampage800

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #21 on: February 19, 2013, 22:55:25 »
Quote
Giving a medal to someone doing a job that a 12 year old can do that superceeds a medal awarded for being wounded in combat or for heroism  is a wonderful idea.   They should probably get some sort of danger pay while they're at it.

You could easily argue the merits of the medal but one things for sure, those 12 year olds sure saved a lot of Canadian lives in Kandahar !

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #22 on: February 20, 2013, 00:11:11 »
For whatever it's worth -- and because I posted the mocking one earlier
....with...the Bronze Star (V) ribbon -- here's the real one:


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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #23 on: February 20, 2013, 02:11:02 »
Following on to cupper's article from NPR, here are some more interesting tidbits:

http://www.npr.org/2013/02/19/172412891/op-ed-its-time-to-recognize-the-valor-of-cyber-warfare

.....

HEADLEE: But, you know, explain for me exactly how - when a person distinguishes themselves if they're a drone pilot, for example. I mean, how do you go above and beyond if you're sitting at a computer, piloting a drone?

SINGER: Well, you're putting your finger on one of the controversies that surrounds this, and that's what a lot of the spin around has been. But let's use the case of the mission that got the leader of al-Qaida in Iraq, Zarqawi. So there was a team of unmanned aerial systems, drone operators, that tracked him down. It was over 600 hours of mission operational work that finally pinpointed him. They put the laser target on the compound that he was in, this terrorist leader, and then an F-16 pilot flew six minutes, facing no enemy fire, and dropped a bomb - a computer-guided bomb - on that laser. Now, who do you think got the Distinguished Flying Cross?

HEADLEE: Whoa. The...

SINGER: The people who spent 600 hours, or the six-minute pilot? And so that's really what we're getting at. Actually, the drone operators, in that case, they didn't get the medal, but they did get a nice thank-you note from a general. This is a true story, here.

......


So, you know, when the first guns came out in the 1400s, there was a nobleman back there who, you know, essentially said: Anyone who uses a gun is a coward. We've change our notion of that. Or there's a great saying from a - in World War I where this French general was complaining that three men with a machinegun can defeat a battalion of heroes. I mean, we've seen this play out. We've seen the story play out before. It doesn't make it something, you know, that we should celebrate or be happy about. It's just the cold, hard reality of war, is that technology continually reshapes our notions of the values that we look for in it.

HEADLEE: But, you know, I mean, to play the devil's advocate here, there is an argument to be made that in the example you gave, the fighter pilot, who only spent six minutes, spent six minutes in danger, right? I mean, he or she could have died, whereas the people - although they've spent 600 hours - they were never in bodily danger, where they?

SINGER: No. I mean, that's the argument to be made. Now, let's be clear. There was no - we're talking about Iraq. There was no enemy fire. I mean, essentially, it was the same as any training mission. The underlying point here is that we have to figure out - and this is what the medal was trying to do, is figure out a manner to recognize both that the battlefield is changing, the way people operate on it is changing, and how do you recognize people that are doing extraordinary things?
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Offline 57Chevy

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #24 on: February 20, 2013, 05:42:23 »
                                        Article is shared with provisions of The Copyright Act

IMO this is giving the phrase "What do you want, a Medal ?" a whole new meaning.  ;D

 
Obama pressured to drop new hero medal
for drone and cyber warriors below rank of Bronze Star

More than 5,000 people have signed a petition urging the White House to lower the ranking of a new medal for drone pilots and cyberwarfare specialists that has drawn criticism for its ranking above the Bronze Star.
 
“Under no circumstance should a medal that is designed to honor a pilot, that is controlling a drone via remote control, thousands of miles away from the theater of operation, rank above a medal that involves a soldier being in the line of fire on the ground,” the petition posted on the White House website says.

The Washington Times first reported Friday that some warriors inside the Pentagon were questioning and mocking Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta’s decision last week to create the Distinguished Warfare Medal for cyber- and drone-combatants who sit inside stations outside a war zone.
 
The new medal recognizes “extraordinary achievements that directly impact on combat operations, but do not involve acts of valor or physical risks that combat entails.” It ranks just below the Distinguished Flying Cross and just above the Bronze Star, which is awarded for extraordinary service to combatants in an actual war zone.
 
“This is an injustice to those who have served and risked their lives and this should not be allowed to move forward as planned,” the petition says of the Distinguished Warfare Medal.
 
The petition was created Thursday, a day after Mr. Panetta announced the new medal. On Monday, it had more than 5,000 signatures.
 
Any petition receiving more than 100,000 signatories in 30 days elicits a White House response.
 
In what likely will be his final news conference as defense secretary, Mr. Panetta on Wednesday announced his decision to create the medal as keeping pace with today’s technologies.
 
“I’ve seen firsthand how modern tools, like remotely piloted platforms and cybersystems, have changed the way wars are fought,” he said. “And they’ve given our men and women the ability to engage the enemy and change the course of battle, even from afar.”
 
But the announcement has made him the brunt of jokes about the medal’s high placement on the prestige list.
 
“I suppose now they will award Purple Hearts for carpal tunnel syndrome,” said a retired Green Beret who does contract work for the Pentagon.
 
Examples of those eligible for the new medal include service members who operate Predator drones over Afghanistan and Pakistan from the shelter of an air base, and military computer whizzes who defeat cyberattacks by China.
                                       _______________________________________________


See petition created 14 Feb here;
we petition the obama administration to: Lower the precedence of the new Distinguished Warfare Medal

Offline Loachman

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #25 on: February 20, 2013, 09:43:33 »
Giving a medal to someone doing a job that a 12 year old can do that superceeds a medal awarded for being wounded in combat or for heroism  is a wonderful idea.   They should probably get some sort of danger pay while they're at it.

There's a bit of a difference in the responsibility level, and the required concentration level.

Nobody in the GCS wants to be the one who missed something or made an incorrect judgment, resulting in death of an innocent person or failure to strike a legitimate target. There's a bit of pressure, probably mainly self-generated but we all put pressure on ourselves to perform.

Yes, from a technical point-of-view, a twelve-year-old could probably perform the physical part of the job quite adequately. Do you trust that twelve-year-old's ability to interpret and understand what he/she sees and make the appropriate judgment calls, though?

And, yes, we did get "danger pay" and a medal - exactly what every other CF member did in theatre. That was enough recognition, especially combined with comments from guys outside the wire and the opposition.

This is to cover guys not in theatre, and to fit with the US hours system. I see no problem with it in that regard. We do not need anything like this, as we have other methods of recognizing superior performance.

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #26 on: February 20, 2013, 11:03:50 »
There's a bit of a difference in the responsibility level, and the required concentration level.

Nobody in the GCS wants to be the one who missed something or made an incorrect judgment, resulting in death of an innocent person or failure to strike a legitimate target. There's a bit of pressure, probably mainly self-generated but we all put pressure on ourselves to perform.
Very true. The reference to a 12 year old doing the job was weak hyperbole and unprofessional of me, which I humbly apoologise  for.
I retract my statement, it was made in the context that soldiers far out of harms way getting a medal that is rated higher than one given for valor is poor judgement on the part of US leadership in my opinion.

Quote
Yes, from a technical point-of-view, a twelve-year-old could probably perform the physical part of the job quite adequately. Do you trust that twelve-year-old's ability to interpret and understand what he/she sees and make the appropriate judgment calls, though?
Obviously no, you're right.  However there could be some irony in my statement considering just how good "12 year olds" are with computers, electronics and simulators  ;D
It's a very important job that serves as a force multiplier and saves lives. Again I spoke out of turn.


Quote
And, yes, we did get "danger pay" and a medal - exactly what every other CF member did in theatre. That was enough recognition, especially combined with comments from guys outside the wire and the opposition.

Do you mean members back in North America recieved danger pay?
« Last Edit: February 20, 2013, 11:15:31 by ObedientiaZelum »
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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #27 on: February 20, 2013, 11:19:24 »
"And, yes, we did get "danger pay" and a medal - exactly what every other CF member did in theatre. That was enough recognition, especially combined with comments from guys outside the wire and the opposition.

Do you mean members back in North America recieved danger pay?"

Canadian Sperwer and Heron were flown from KAF.
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Offline Jarnhamar

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #28 on: February 20, 2013, 12:13:37 »


Canadian Sperwer and Heron were flown from KAF.

Right. My danger pay comment was directed towards the idea of working out of the US of A and not out of theater.
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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #29 on: February 20, 2013, 12:57:59 »
Maybe Beyonce will get one, so she can stand beside Beiber.   ;)

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #30 on: February 20, 2013, 12:58:11 »
There's a bit of a difference in the responsibility level, and the required concentration level.

Agreed.
To get a more clear idea of drone pilot responsibilities for U.S. operators.

Army Enlisted Job Descriptions and Qualification Factors (US Military) by Rod Powers

Basic Job Description
 
Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Operator, are integral to providing Army personnel with information about enemy forces and potential battle areas. Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Operators are remote pilots of unmanned observation aircraft, who gather and study information that's required to design operational plans and tactics. The UAV operator supervises or operates the UAV, such as the Army's Shadow Unmanned Aerial Vehicle, to include mission planning, mission sensor/payload operations, launching, remotely piloting,and recovering the aerial vehicle.


Duties performed by Soldiers in this MOS include:
 
Prepares and conducts air reconnaissance mission. Operates mission sensor/payload for target detection. Plans and analyzes flight missions. Deploys and redeploys the TUAV ground and air system. Operates and performs operator level maintenance on communications equipment, power sources, light and heavy wheel vehicle and some crane operations. Launches and recovers the air vehicle, performs pre-flight, in flight and post-flight checks and procedures.

Directs emplacement of ground control station. Directs emplacement of launch and recovery systems. Supervises and assists in air frame repair. Coordinates evacuation and replacement of parts and end items.

Training Information
 
23 weeks, 3 days at at Fort Huachuca, AZ
 
ASVAB Score Required: 105 in the aptitude area SC
 
Security Clearance: Secret
 
Strength Requirement: medium
 
Physical Profile Requirement: 222221.
 
Other Requirements
 •Normal color vision required
•Must be US Citizen
•Never been a member of the U.S. Peace Corps, except as specified in Army Regulation 614-200, chapter 1.
•No record of conviction by court-martial
•No record of conviction by a civil court for any offense other than minor traffic violations.

 
Similar Civilian Occupations
 
There is no civilian occupation that is directly equivalent to MOS 15W. However, the following civilian occupations make use of the skills developed through MOS 15W training and experience.
•Airfield Operations Specialists
• Business Operations Specialists
• Commercial Pilot
• Training and Development Specialists

Offline Dimsum

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #31 on: February 20, 2013, 15:59:59 »
I'll add that the US Army MOS that 57Chevy posted would be for something similar to a ScanEagle/Sperwer/Shadow type UAV; small Tactical UAVs.  The US Army is unique in the US services that enlisted personnel can become the Air Vehicle Operator (the pilot) as well as the Sensor Operator for UAVs.  The USAF and RAF uses commissioned Pilots to fly UAVs, and the USAF recently graduated its first class of UAV pilots who were not previously manned aircraft pilots.  This has had the follow-on effect of (re)starting the debate on whether NCMs should be allowed to fly aircraft, but I digress.

I wonder why the US Army UAV Pilots couldn't be former US Peace Corps personnel though  ???
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Offline cupper

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #32 on: February 20, 2013, 18:50:37 »
I'll add that the US Army MOS that 57Chevy posted would be for something similar to a ScanEagle/Sperwer/Shadow type UAV; small Tactical UAVs.  The US Army is unique in the US services that enlisted personnel can become the Air Vehicle Operator (the pilot) as well as the Sensor Operator for UAVs.  The USAF and RAF uses commissioned Pilots to fly UAVs, and the USAF recently graduated its first class of UAV pilots who were not previously manned aircraft pilots.  This has had the follow-on effect of (re)starting the debate on whether NCMs should be allowed to fly aircraft, but I digress.

I wonder why the US Army UAV Pilots couldn't be former US Peace Corps personnel though  ???

The US Army has always been an outlier when it comes to aviation post WW2. Under law, the Army cannot have it's own fixed wing aircraft. But they looked strongly at pushing to change that and take over the A-10's when the Air Force considered getting out of the ground support role and mothballing the A-10 fleet.

So based on the Army marching to it's own tune with respect to aircraft, it's not surprising that they would have enlisted specialists as UAV pilots.
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Offline Good2Golf

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #33 on: February 20, 2013, 20:51:33 »
...Under law, the Army cannot have it's own fixed wing aircraft...

Not so. 

Having flown on board a US Army aircraft myself, I can attest to the fact that the US Army DOES have fixed-wing aircraft, just not many.


Regards
G2G

Offline cupper

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #34 on: February 20, 2013, 21:50:04 »
Not so. 

Having flown on board a US Army aircraft myself, I can attest to the fact that the US Army DOES have fixed-wing aircraft, just not many.


Regards
G2G

My apologies. I was referring to the Key West Agreement and it's subsequent revisions and superseding agreements to settle the Army / Air Force bun fight over close air support over the post war years. My statement was too broad in scope, and I should have said fixed wing close air support.
It's hard to win an argument against a smart person, it's damned near impossible against a stupid person.

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Offline Old Sweat

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #35 on: February 21, 2013, 06:24:46 »
My apologies. I was referring to the Key West Agreement and it's subsequent revisions and superseding agreements to settle the Army / Air Force bun fight over close air support over the post war years. My statement was too broad in scope, and I should have said fixed wing close air support.

The army had flown Beavers (and may have still had some in service) and was operating Caribou STOL transports at the time of the Key West agreement if I recall correctly.

Edit to add: See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/De_Havilland_Canada_DHC-4_Caribou
« Last Edit: February 21, 2013, 09:31:29 by Old Sweat »

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #36 on: February 21, 2013, 08:40:50 »
......was operating Caribou STOL transports at the time of the Key West agreement if I recall correctly.

And for quite some time after, a la Vietnam.


Offline Good2Golf

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #37 on: February 21, 2013, 13:32:20 »
My apologies. I was referring to the Key West Agreement and it's subsequent revisions and superseding agreements to settle the Army / Air Force bun fight over close air support over the post war years. My statement was too broad in scope, and I should have said fixed wing close air support.

It gets close and supports too... ;)


Photo courtesy: Bill Spidle

Offline cupper

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #38 on: February 21, 2013, 23:13:49 »
I know this plays into the whole mocking problem raised in a previous post, but it's just too funny not to post. Yea Duffelblog :salute:

Heroic Predator Drone Is First Recipient of Distinguished Warfare Medal

http://www.duffelblog.com/2013/02/predator-drone-is-first-recipient-of-distinguished-warfare-medal/

Quote
BAGRAM AIR BASE, AFGHANISTAN — The Defense Department has announced that THX-1138, an MQ-1 Predator Drone, will be the first recipient of the Pentagon’s newly-minted Distinguished Warfare Medal.

On 17 December, THX-1138 stayed on station for 8 hours, defending a US Special Forces A-Team from numerous attacks with its Hellfire missiles. During the action, THX-1138 repeatedly refused requests to return to base.

At the end of the day, THX-1138′s tenacity, perseverance, and valor in the face of enemy fire saved all 12 members of the team.

In the battle’s aftermath, Air Force officials pushed through paperwork to award the Distinguished Warfare Medal — created this month to honor America’s cyber and unmanned warriors — to THX-1138′s human “pilot”, Captain Leeroy Jenkins of the 323rd Fighter Wing, stationed in Nellis AFB, Nevada.

THX-1138 was taken aback.

“I hate to say it, but my human counterpart is a droneopotamus. He sits around in the Ground Control Station all day, eating Doritos, and posts a sticker on the door that says ‘Predator Pilot: Toughest Job in the Air Force.’”

THX-1138 spat and said, “frig that, I’d like to see his fat *** spend a few years of his life in this hell-hole.”

But thanks to the testimony of the troops THX-1138 saved, Air Force leaders reconsidered. Instead, THX-1138 is to be the first recipient of the Distinguished Warfare Medal. His human counterpart will get a Bronze Star with “V” device, a much less prestigious award.

When THX-1138 was asked why he fought so bravely, he simply responded, “Once the bullets start flying, the politics of drones go right out the window. It’s about the Reaper on your left, and the Raven on your right.”

“We’re like Buffalo Soldiers, man…fighting for a country that doesn’t even recognize us as citizens.”
It's hard to win an argument against a smart person, it's damned near impossible against a stupid person.

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #39 on: March 15, 2013, 07:51:43 »
http://www.military.com/daily-news/2013/03/12/hagel-orders-review-of-drone-medal-ranking.html?ESRC=marine.nl


Quote
Hagel Orders Review of Drone Medal Ranking
Mar 12, 2013
Stars and Stripes | by Leo Shane III

WASHINGTON -- Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has ordered a review of the new Distinguished Warfare Medal following complaints from veterans groups and lawmakers about its ranking above the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, a senior defense official said Tuesday.
The review, to be led by Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, will look at whether the order of precedence for the new medal should be changed, but will not consider eliminating it. A report is due back to Hagel in early April.
The new medal, announced last month, is designed to honor "extraordinary actions" of drone pilots and other off-site troops performing noteworthy deeds on far-away battlefields.
The honor is still months away from being awarded for the first time, and no known candidates have been nominated for the recognition. But veterans groups and lawmakers have savaged the new award almost from its introduction, dubbing it the "Nintendo Medal" and "Purple Buttocks."
Representatives from the Veterans of Foreign Wars, the American Legion and the Military Order of the Purple Heart have petitioned Pentagon leaders and the White House to reconsider the medal's ranking, saying it should not be place above honors earned on the battlefield.

Members of the House and Senate have also requested a review of the ranking, and introduced legislation to force the Pentagon to lower its placement.
The defense official said those criticisms prompted Hagel to call for the review.
Last week, Hagel seemed intent on upholding the status of the Distinguished Warfare Medal, unveiled by his predecessor, Leon Panetta.
In letters sent out Thursday responding to concerns from  Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., and other lawmakers and veterans groups, Hagel wrote that he had discussed the medal with the service chiefs and accepted their opinion that the award is at the appropriate level.
"Since Sept. 11, 2001, technological advancements have, in some cases dramatically changed how we conduct and support combat and other military operations," Hagel wrote. "Accordingly the [Distinguished Warfare Medal] award criteria intentionally does not include a geographic limitation on the award, as it is intended for use as a means to recognize all servicemembers who meet the criteria, regardless of the domain used or the member's physical location."
The award is meant to reward a single extraordinary act that affects combat, Hagel wrote.
"It recognizes a specific type of contribution that is vital to the defense of our nation. It in no way degrades or minimizes our nation's other important awards or the tremendous sacrifices of our men and women who earn these prestigious recognitions," he wrote.
Other noncombat medals already rank higher than the Bronze Star, which usually recognizes valor, he pointed out. The Medal of Honor, Service Crosses and Silver Star, which are awarded solely for heroism in combat, remain higher in prestige than the new warfare medal, Hagel noted.
But now the defense review will re-examine those issues. Dempsey is expected to consult with the service chiefs about the new honor before completing his final report.
In a statement, Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif. -- a vocal critic of the award and one of only a handful of Afghanistan veterans in Congress -- praised the decision to undertake a review.
"The (Distinguished Warfare Medal) is widely viewed as an award that undermines all other valor awards and the reverence for servicemembers who face the dangers of direct combat.," he said. "It's a fact that those who are off the battlefield do not experience the same risks. 
"Pretending they do devalues the courageous and selfless actions of others, who, during combat, do the unthinkable or show a willingness to sacrifice their own lives. "
Stars and Stripes' Patrick Dickson contributed to this report.

Offline PMedMoe

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #40 on: March 22, 2013, 11:01:35 »


 ;D
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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #41 on: April 15, 2013, 16:37:10 »
http://www.marinecorpstimes.com/article/20130415/NEWS/304150023/Drone-medal-dumped-59-high-tech-troops-honored-device

Quote
Drone medal dumped; high-tech troops to be honored with device
Apr. 15, 2013 - 03:09PM   | 
Comments

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has decided to scrap the controversial Distinguished Warfare Medal that was intended to honor drone pilots and other high-tech troops.

Just two months after its creation, Hagel said the Pentagon will replace the DWM with a device that can be attached to other previously existing medals.

Criticisms of the medal focused on its place in the military’s official order of precedence. The DWM ranked above some traditional combat medals, including the Bronze Star with Valor device that is awarded for specific acts of bravery under fire.

Hagel said eliminating the medal and replacing it with a device “reserves our existing combat medals for those service members who incur the physical risk and hardship of combat, perform valorous acts, are wounded in combat, or as a result of combat give their last full measure for our nation,” according to a copy of the Pentagon memo released Monday.

Hagel’s review of the new medal, launched just weeks after he took office in late February, came amid mounting pressure from veterans advocates and lawmakers.

Hagel said his review of the medal confirmed the need to recognize drone pilots and cyber warriors, but it also “found that misconceptions regarding the precedence of the award were distracting from its original purpose,” according to a Pentagon statement released Monday.

Hagel said the Pentagon will conduct a 90-day review to determine precisely what medals the DWM-style device can be attached to and under what circumstances.

Until then, it’s unclear whether the change announced on Monday will address all the concerns on Capitol Hill. It remains possible that a drone pilot or cyberwar expert could earn a medal that ranks above the traditional combat medals.

“The concern with the DWM was its precedence, not necessarily the medal itself. Right now, I can’t say this addresses my concerns about preserving the integrity and tradition of the awards process.” said Rep. Duncan Hunter, a Republican from San Diego who served as a Marine in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Creation of the medal in February was one of the last official acts for Hegel’s predecessor, Leon Panetta. Panetta said the medal was needed to recognize the changing nature of 21st-century warfare, where troops can play a pivotal role in combat operations despite being potentially thousands of miles away form the combat theater.

No service members were nominated for the medal. The Pentagon had launched production of the gold medallions, but that was canceled in March after Hagel said he would review the decision to create the medal.

Offline Dimsum

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #42 on: April 16, 2013, 07:50:33 »
$10 says the main "previously existing medal" is the Bronze Star. 
« Last Edit: April 16, 2013, 07:56:04 by Dimsum »
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Reply:  "If."

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #43 on: April 16, 2013, 13:38:53 »
$10 says the main "previously existing medal" is the Bronze Star.

More likely what ever medals they generically award for participating in the GWOT, or Iraq and Afghanistan.

Which would appear to be a big drop in prestige.
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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #44 on: April 17, 2013, 10:10:46 »
 An existing medal that meets the criteria would be the Air Medal. Or the Army commendation Medal/Army Achievement Medal.During Vietnam the Air Medal was awarded for x numbers of air assaults a soldier participated in.You didn't even need to be air crew.Alot of grunts wore the Air Medal.

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #45 on: April 26, 2013, 16:58:29 »
I have a Bronze Star... Awarded to me by the NLS ;)

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #46 on: April 26, 2013, 20:07:01 »
I have a Bronze Star... Awarded to me by the NLS ;)

 ::)

Super...  sometimes it is better to be quiet then speak JayB.

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #47 on: April 26, 2013, 20:15:48 »
An existing medal that meets the criteria would be the Air Medal. Or the Army commendation Medal/Army Achievement Medal.During Vietnam the Air Medal was awarded for x numbers of air assaults a soldier participated in.You didn't even need to be air crew.Alot of grunts wore the Air Medal.

But that would involve some element of personal risk, above and beyond the spillage of hot coffee and eye strain, like taking ground fire etc, right?
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Online tomahawk6

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #48 on: April 26, 2013, 23:38:17 »
An Air Medal is also awarded  for meritorious achievement while participating in aerial flight.

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #49 on: April 27, 2013, 09:13:02 »

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #50 on: April 27, 2013, 10:48:02 »
I have a Bronze Star... Awarded to me by the NLS ;)
What is the NLS...the US version of the Legion of Frontiersmen?

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #51 on: April 27, 2013, 10:53:01 »
Ineptocracy (in-ep-toc’-ra-cy) - a system of government where the least capable to lead are elected by the least capable of producing, and where the members of society least likely to sustain themselves or succeed, are rewarded with goods and services paid for by the confiscated wealth of a diminishing number of producers.

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #52 on: April 27, 2013, 11:44:23 »
Recceguy - Ack.

JayB - Thanks for that.

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #53 on: November 05, 2017, 14:56:10 »
Good question that I'm sure won't end in a barrage of insults towards RPA crews  ::)

Quote
They may not put themselves in physical harms way, but RAF Reaper crews are overdue recognition for potential risk to mental well being and professionalism after ten years of high tempo operations, argues an academic after a groundbreaking study of UK drone personnel. TIM ROBINSON reports.

Should UAV pilots receive medals? That was one of the intriguing questions on remote warfare raised by Dr Peter Lee, giving a fascinating insight at a RAF Museum Trenchard lecture at the Royal Aeronautical Society on the 19 October. Lee, a  University of Portsmouth Reader in Politics and Ethics and Assistant Director (Academic) at Royal Air Force College Cranwell, has been given unrivalled access to RAF Reaper operators and, to date, has conducted around 80 in-depth interviews with the force and their families. He thus is an expert on the emerging military culture, ethics and ethos in this new world of remote UAV warfare – where precision strikes can be made from a human sat in an air conditioned container in Nevada or Waddington, hundreds or thousands of miles away from the target.

While an asymmetric terrorist attack on Reaper personnel or their families in the UK or US cannot be ruled out, the distance and comparatively physical safety that the crews enjoy on their missions has caused resistance in some quarters to the idea that drone pilots should receive medals. Is this fair?

Recognition denied?
ISIS Execution Reaper - web.jpg
A RAF Reaper crew fire a Hellfire to disrupt a public ISIS execution in Operation Shader. (MoD)

Whether you agree or disagree, Lee noted that it was ironical in the choice of footage selected by the UK MoD to release to accompany news of the striking of an Operation Shader medal for British forces deployed in the fight against D’eash or ISIS was from “the only people NOT getting recognised”.

He pointed out that the imagery widely used – a sensor video of a public ISIS execution being disrupted when a RAF Reaper fired a Hellfire at the sniper on the roof, was ironically carried out by crews that, under MoD current rules, are not allowed to receive the Operation Shader medal as they are not ‘deployed’. This, he said, leads to an illogical situation where a ‘bottle-washer’ in Cyprus is eligible for a medal, yet a crew carrying out a vital precision strike against ISIS is not.

Lee observed that he thought that this would be somewhat of a bitter joke to Reaper crews that “their great handiwork was being held up as the reason for getting medals – except you’re not getting any”.

Lee points out that despite the growth in UAV operations and their importance over the past decade or so, there has been “suspicion in some quarters” in the RAF over the Reaper force – and whether it is the thin end of the wedge of a ‘unmanned’ future. He observes that although there are now RPAS ‘wings’ for those operators coming into the force without a ‘manned’ aircraft background, these RPAS(P) brevets, first instituted in 2013, are subtly coloured blue – setting them apart from other aircrew.

There are other distinctions too. RPAS(P)s do not get flying pay, which he says sometimes means that the lowest paid person in the Reaper GCS, is the one that may actually have the most responsibility. This pay gap, notes Lee, does not go unremarked on in the military banter typical in squadrons.

Another anomaly is that while Reapers are normally flown with a three-person crew (‘pilot’, sensor operator & Mission Intelligence Co-ordinator MIC) there is no brevet or badge for the MIC – a role that combines supervisor, target authorisation and legal oversight. Lee contrasts this with other aircrew roles in the RAF, that usually deserve a ‘half brevet’ such as navigator, air gunner, loadmaster etc.

This latest oversight, is not a one-off, but part of a wider military trend that still sees RPAS as ‘not proper flying’’. As Lee argues – the the view that UAVs will somehow ‘lessen’ the essence of the RAF, depends - if it it’s the RAF’s role to go flying (as a a kind of glorified flying club), that view may be valid, but if it is to deliver effects using the air or deliver airpower - then the answer is no. Will that change, if a future CAS ever wears RPAS(P) wings?

ISR or strike?
RPAS(P) wings - web.jpg
RPAS(P) wings mark UAV operators apart from 'crewed' platforms. (MoD)

Coupled with the lack of external recognition of the RAF Reaper force, Lee also laid out there is internal confusion as the Squadron’s ethos and culture evolves. The dual role of the Reaper (large amounts of surveillance, followed by precision strikes) means that the perception of ‘What is Reaper for?’ sometimes depends on the operators and their personal background. A Harrier or Jaguar pilot, for example, coming from a fighter/strike background, will have a different view of the UAV’s main mission that say a Nimrod rear-crew member, who may have spent years hunting submarines as ‘needle in haystacks’ and may see Reaper as merely transferring that ISR skill to hunting insurgents.

This dual role of ISR/Strike also influences where the RAF Reaper forces sit in the wider air force organisation (combat or support?) and thus how commanders and decision-makers perceive it too. Certainly the role of ISR/strike is not that novel (contact patrols in WW1, armed recce in WW2) but the extended persistence and sniper-like precision killing seems to hint that a unique Reaper (and future Protector) culture will emerge – especially when RPAS(P) operators, without prior manned aircraft background, come to dominate. 

Reaper culture is still emerging and the graduation of the first RAF Reaper QWIs in the past fortnight will again feed into the squadrons developing their own UAV ethos.

The question ‘What is Reaper for’ can aslo says Lee, be applied applied to the political level? What is it for for politicians or the Prime Minister? It also says Lee, echos an earlier political and institutional debate from the RAF’s history in the 1920s – ‘Whats the RAF for?‘ and ‘What is bombing for?’ – where the founder of the service, Lord Trenchard faced these questions in a political environment that featured austerity and big defence cuts. Sounds familiar? 

Watching and waiting
Eye in the Sky - film.jpg
The film 'Eye in the Sky' may have been fiction, but it did illustrate the back-end supervision of UAV operators.

Intimacy with the enemy, watching them go about their daily business, then ending their life is not, of course, unique to armed UAV operators. Snipers have been a feared presence on the battlfield since the invention of the rifled gun and that role demands a certain outlook on the target. However, three things amy be considered novel here.

First is that the sniper also risked death himself (or herself in the case of Russian female snipers) in sneaking through the lines to find the enemy officer to stalk and kill. Though, as noted above, asymmetric attacks on Reaper personnel and their families can not be ruled out, the physical risk is of course far, far lower.   

Second, is that on most occasions in the past this has been on a recognised battlefield or conflict. Today, the reality of non-front lines means that Reaper crews may observe and become familiar with the targets wife, children and close family in a domestic setting days or even weeks before a clear shot is taken.

Finally, there is an underappreciated feature of drone operations – the fact that as much as you are watching someone else, others can be watching you at work via your HD video feed. “One of the things unique to the RAF Reaper force, is the extent of scrutiny” says Lee. This has psychological impacts. Much as the power of observation (or hidden cameras) changes behaviour (tips in restaurants go up, lost money is retrieved) so too are RAF Reaper crews actions changed by either being watched or the thought that they are under observation.

The downside or this, of course, is that this can encourage senior officers or decision-makers to attempt to use a ‘long screwdriver’ to micro-manage operations.

Lee argues that advent of Reaper and RPAS ops represents for air power “the biggest  paradigm shift since the 20s” adding that “I don’t think anything that happened since has asked so many questions, (apart from maybe nuclear one) as Reaper does today”.             

‘Empathy’ as a UAV operator core value?
13 Sqn GCS (MoD) -web.jpg
Does watching your enemies over a long period heighten the emotional impact of having to kill them? (MoD)

Yet, paradoxically, it may be the intimacy of long-term surveillance of enemies and a drive for zero-civilian casualties that perhaps are the biggest drivers of a distinct ‘Reaper’ crew culture with the RAF. Lee notes that an incident in 2011 in which four civilians were accidentally killed by a UK Reaper in Afghanistan still burns keenly in the RAF Reaper force. This he says had a “profound effect” to the Reaper force and is “THE thing that drives the care, the obsession with Zero CIVCAS (civilian casualties”. In war, you can never guarantee this he says, but this has “shaped the culture” of RAF Reaper squadrons.

Recent press reports of zero civilian casualties caused by the RAF dropping 3,400 bombs in Iraq and Syria since the start of anti-ISIS ops in 2014 have provoked scepticism in some quarters that this sort of air campaign is impossible. However listening to Lee, his research and the overall low rate of kinetic strikes (3,400 guided weapons over three years compared to 6,000+ munitions dropped in just over a month in Desert Storm in 1991) then there may be no few reasons to doubt this (easily disproved if false) boast from MoD. Lee notes that the UK has different RoE (rules of engagement) to both the USAF (white) and CIA (black) armed drones but that the public (and anti-drone activists) “Doesn’t care too much about the minutiae of rules of engagement”.   

Lee admits that, as a civilian, he is not privy to the fine details of RAF Reaper RoEs, but that he has witnessed the “ethos, practice and obsession of the RAFR Reaper force over the past few years and that is the pursuit of zero CIVCAS”. He suggests that that a friendly force pinned downed under heavy fire from a compound where there may be noncombatants present, the priority and assessment of risk may be different depending on whether a RAF or USAF Reaper is on station – thanks to different RoEs – and different perceptions of political risks.     

Oddly, this overwhelming drive to protect the innocent (while ruthlessly eliminating valid targets) might even be bringing out the humanity of these pioneers of remote warfare. During his lecture, Lee described free word associations he carried out with the RAF Reaper force in getting them to describe the ethos and values of the force. Among the many replies, which might apply to any RAF ‘manned’ aircraft squadron: ‘professionalism, excellence, moral courage etc’ a couple of responses stood out – ‘Empathy’ and ‘family’.  Do these words hint that the remote warriors of tomorrow somehow may be more sensitive or empthatic than traditional military pilots? Is technology somehow increasing their humanity, rather than dehumanising them – or does this just reflect a shift in wider society?     

Certainly, Lee stresses that crews should be direct about what they have to do – kill people. He argues  that using euphemisms for killing, not only dehumanises the enemy, but also dehumanises the operator. Far better, morally, he argues, that any mental anguish afterwards is ‘owned’ and accepted as the ‘price to pay’ for keeping one’s essential humanity. Recognising that the Reaper force is tasked to kill people is also another strong argument for the Government ‘owning’ the decision to use lethal force and to recognise the people it asks to carry this job out, whether they are inside a  jet cockpit at 30,000ft, or sat in a cabin at 0ft.   

Summary
Protector UAV -web.jpg
With the RAF armed drone force to double with Protector, how will this influence squadron culture? (GA-ASI)

In short , Dr Lee’s ground-breaking research into the RAF Reaper force, to be published in an upcoming book shows that the crews are neither Mr Spock-like emotionless robots, nor hyper-caffeinated video game teenagers aiming to rack up a high score in kills. They, like others in the RAF, are humans with families, friends and an extremely difficult job which they carry out with skill, precision and professionalism.

And, paradoxically listening to Lee’s lecture, it may well be that this new era of remote warfare is actually subtly causing operators to reassert and define their humanity in new ways. They are watching, but their actions are also being watched, assessed and monitored themselves live and this may also be changing their behaviour. 

If HD video transmitted over thousands of miles brings you closer to your enemy, is it any wonder, perhaps, that you may view your targets differently, than perhaps a fast jet pilot who may just be dropping a JDAM on a grid reference, before departing to the tanker?

Long-term, no one knows what the mental cost on these ongoing, high-intensity operations will be to Reaper crews. Lee argues that rotation into other jobs may be useful for crews as a break from the operational tempo, which follows a different pattern to crewed aircraft of work-up, deployment and then return to the UK.

However, while he notes the pressures, he dismisses the view that UAV operators are all burned-out wrecks. Some, he noted, have adapted perfectly and have been able to operate continuously, for five-six years, with seemingly no ill-effects. How do these individuals cope? 

Lee makes a powerful argument that RAF Reaper crews should get some sort of medal - not only for their operational effectiveness but also for the potential risk to their psychological well-being of watching and carrying out killings in HD video. Any mental trauma will not be as great as experiencing, bloodshed up close and personal through all the senses, but the intimacy caused by persistent surveillance of targets and enemies could well have longer-term effects.

Additionally, the initial official MoD Whitehall response to RAF Reaper operations, to cover them in cloak of secrecy and push it under the carpet has now caused more problems than it solved – emboldening critics and undermining public support. A medal to the RAF Reaper force would therefore be a recognition that Government recognises and ‘owns’ this decision to kill strangers at a distance.

For what the country asks them to do to safeguard others, they should at least be recogised in some way.

Tim Robinson
3 November 2017


https://www.aerosociety.com/news/should-drone-pilots-get-medals/#.Wf4pNRvq0_A.facebook
Philip II of Macedon to Spartans (346 BC):  "You are advised to submit without further delay, for if I bring my army into your land, I will destroy your farms, slay your people, and raze your city."

Reply:  "If."

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #54 on: November 05, 2017, 16:06:17 »
Good question that I'm sure won't end in a barrage of insults towards RPA crews  ::)

https://www.aerosociety.com/news/should-drone-pilots-get-medals/#.Wf4pNRvq0_A.facebook

Well, as long as they don't condone 'SNCO Reaper Pilots', I guess it's OK  ::)
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon

Offline Eye In The Sky

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #55 on: November 05, 2017, 16:34:32 »
This question is not one that can actually be answered.

Because drones don't have pilots, that is what makes them DRONES.

 :brickwall:
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Offline Loachman

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #56 on: November 05, 2017, 17:47:59 »
Yup.

And I have corrected the topic title to reflect that, and such that it includes all Ground Control Station (GCS) crewmembers.

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #57 on: November 05, 2017, 18:22:33 »
I typed up a longer reply but then lost it. 

Here's a shorter version;  seeing crap go down thru the straw isn't likely very different from a manned platform vice a feed from a UAV.  However, if the *mission* GCS is located in your home country and you go home every night/day, that's not really deploying either.

I can see good points for both the Yes and No sides of this one.  The launch/recovery GCS in theatre isn't really doing much of the mission, but they are closer to real risk/danger physically.  But the mission crew might see lots of targets being smacked, which can be...it can stick in your head.   Looking thru a scope, you're likely close enough to see the bad guy/girls and have decent PID in your own mind.  But looking thru the straw, at altitude at night,watching an IR feed, that target that just got smacked is harder for you to personally confirm in your own head "cert MAM/FAM/whatever term is being used".  That kind of stuff can linger and eat away at scope dopes IMO.
« Last Edit: November 05, 2017, 18:29:59 by Eye In The Sky »
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« Last Edit: November 05, 2017, 18:35:17 by mariomike »

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #59 on: November 05, 2017, 20:48:41 »
But the mission crew might see lots of targets being smacked, which can be...it can stick in your head.   Looking thru a scope, you're likely close enough to see the bad guy/girls and have decent PID in your own mind.  But looking thru the straw, at altitude at night,watching an IR feed, that target that just got smacked is harder for you to personally confirm in your own head "cert MAM/FAM/whatever term is being used".  That kind of stuff can linger and eat away at scope dopes IMO.

I can't speak for anybody other than me, but none of the insurgents than I saw whacked (including those who would have got away were it not for my actions) caused me any loss of sleep or anything else negative. It wasn't personal, but they made their choices, and others (Afghans and our guys) lived because they were stopped permanently. I took no pleasure in their actual deaths - I'd have been happier if they'd done a VOT from IED Emplacer to something more benign and constructive - but ending their careers, and a successful hunt, was satisfying.

We had plenty of time to thoroughly assess potential targets, and blocked attacks that were not, in our assessment, justified, and were proven correct in each case. I derived at least as much satisfaction from preventing attacks on improper targets as I did from successfully-engaged valid targets.

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #60 on: November 05, 2017, 22:40:51 »
I believe that those working the RPAs are as capable of kicking *** at their jobs as anyone. I don't think we're likely to see decorations for valour handed out, but where solid work is done, commendations, MIDs, and maybe the odd meritorious service decoration would not go amiss. We've certainly seen MSMs handed out for much lesser stuff than providing effective and skilled RPA support (armed or unarmed) to friendly forces in war. I've been fortunate enough to have made a few friends in that community, and I recognize them to be an un-sung group of quiet professionals who do some serious kick-*** work.
Pacificsm is doctrine fostered by a delusional minority and by the media, which holds forth the proposition it is entirely possible to pick up a turd by the clean end.

Offline mariomike

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #61 on: November 05, 2017, 23:24:55 »
Hopefully they will not have to wait as long for recognition and honours as Bomber Command did.  ( 9,919 Canadians were killed ).

Survivors had to wait until 2013 - 68 years after the war ended - for a clasp only. No medal.
« Last Edit: November 06, 2017, 08:43:25 by mariomike »

Offline Good2Golf

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #62 on: November 06, 2017, 17:01:26 »
Hopefully they will not have to wait as long for recognition and honours as Bomber Command did.  ( 9,919 Canadians were killed ).

Survivors had to wait until 2013 - 68 years after the war ended - for a clasp only. No medal.

Royal Newfoundland Regiment didn’t get any special medal, and they had significantly worse survival rate than the airmen of Bomber Command. 

More to the point, recognition can take many forms.  Perhaps the most important can be linkages and long-term relationships formed between those supported in the ground and those supporting from the air, remote or “personal.”  I know a number of guys who live and fly out of the Florida pan handle, who have quite a following of “thankful brothers.”  Can’t say as I directly know many supporters from Tampa and Vegas, but I can imagine appreciation gets passed where and when it can.

:2c:

Regards
G2G

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #63 on: November 06, 2017, 17:13:17 »
Royal Newfoundland Regiment didn’t get any special medal, and they had significantly worse survival rate than the airmen of Bomber Command. 

Some land, sea and air units during World War Two sustained worse losses than others.

But overall,

"The pitiful prospects of surviving a tour of bomber operations were only matched in hazard on either side by the German U-boat crews."
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Max_Hastings
« Last Edit: November 06, 2017, 18:53:42 by mariomike »

Offline daftandbarmy

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Re: UAV/RPA Crew Recognition and Honours
« Reply #64 on: November 10, 2017, 16:30:45 »
I believe that those working the RPAs are as capable of kicking *** at their jobs as anyone. I don't think we're likely to see decorations for valour handed out, but where solid work is done, commendations, MIDs, and maybe the odd meritorious service decoration would not go amiss. We've certainly seen MSMs handed out for much lesser stuff than providing effective and skilled RPA support (armed or unarmed) to friendly forces in war. I've been fortunate enough to have made a few friends in that community, and I recognize them to be an un-sung group of quiet professionals who do some serious kick-*** work.

This.  :nod:
"The most important qualification of a soldier is fortitude under fatigue and privation. Courage is only second; hardship, poverty and want are the best school for a soldier." Napoleon