Posted on May 3, 2017
MSG Palmer U.
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Why do we have it and how can we make it go away? Seriously can we just lose it?

UPDATE (20 March 19): I've read a lot of responses. Some good and some unprofessional and not worth reading. I will say this to all those who like the ASR and leave it at that: Imagine you're wearing your uniform to a formal event in your honor. A young man or woman says "Wow, you sure do have a lot of awards. What do they mean?" As you point to each one and describe why and where it was awarded, you come to the ASR. You point to it and say "This is for joining the Army". The young person cants their head and ask "You get an award for joining". "Yep!" you exclaim.

Regardless of why it was originally authorized, it does not make sense IMHO. The AAM? Sure. The NCOPDR? Nope, but I hope one can see the obvious. It's not because I do not appreciate history. I would argue that those who suggest it do some reading before suggesting that.

I simply argue that being handed that branch insignia at the end of training and having that graduation ceremony where you walk across a stage or parade field with all of your family members watching should and ought to be enough. I know it was for me, but if you really believe that this ribbon somehow inspires others to do something, even though they probably didn't know it existed till handed to them, then I posit everything is relative and we should examine how much "gimmie" awards are really necessary. That is all.
Posted in these groups: Ribbons_logo RibbonsUs-medals Awards
Edited 6 mo ago
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Responses: 415
SGT Joseph Gunderson
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I agree with a lot of the points being made prior to my comment. There is a certain history behind the award and that history should be understood and acknowledged. I don't understand the reasons why modern day service members feel the need to downplay awards that they and others receive. I believe it was just a few months ago that there was a similar discussion about the National Defense Medal being a "gimme" award as well. I don't see that any award deserves that kind of categorizing. You are awarded your Army Service Ribbon as basic recognition of your willingness and ability to serve. I believe that the award speaks volumes if one would only be willing to understand it. We are all told over and over that there is such a small percentage of us that choose to serve in the military. Why can't soldiers realize that it is the ASR that recognizes that elite separation between civilians and soldiers? Yes, we were all awarded the ribbon, but that is because we all stood up and took a post. I wouldn't think of it as a "gimme" among the Army; instead think of it as the symbol of being apart of that small percentage of people that willingly put their life on the line for their country. I've said it before, and I will say it again, I have a total of nine different ribbons/medals that I am authorized to wear after my seven years in the military prior to my medical retirement. Each one I did something for, I earned those stupid little pieces of fabric and metal, and I'll be damned if some person tries to undermine the value of my blood, sweat, and years that I put into earning those. Even something that many seem so insignificant as a little ASR.
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1SG John Millan
1SG John Millan
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The point was that this award was created because some post-Vietnam Soldier "A" had awards and Soldier "B" didn't and Soldier "B" was mad and had a hissy fit and demanded one too, even if it was for mediocrity and meeting, vs. EXCEEDING standards. What is next? The ate in the chow hall ribbon? The took the APFT ribbon (with a star device if you actually pass?) Or the I shaved every duty day for 6 months badge? This is reflective of a culture of participation trophy seekers and spoiled, bling-seeking crybaby snowflakes. This very mindset is precisely why older vets (Nam on back to WW2 and Marines in particular) laugh at the Army's awards culture. It is time to get away from the Salvarodan Admiral look of a never-deployed Specialist having more meaningless ribbons that WW2 vets had for 3-4 years of combat. Lets phase out the meaningless, feel-good ribbons that have no standards or are based on mandatory requirements. Make awards MEAN something. The ASR has no standards, no presentation ceremony, no accompanying citation and EVERYONE gets it, from the honor grad to the worst screw-up in the training cycle, who gets and ART 15 and is on track for an entry-level separation for inability to adjust to military life in under 180 days. The NCO Professional Development Ribbon is another joke. If you have the stripes, you HAD to have completed the requisite NCO school, so it is pointless to award a silly ribbon for what is required. Or a 10th AAM, with a second same ribbon worn, because the original ribbon or medal ran out of room for subsequent award devices!! Show me ANYONE with 10 or more AAM's, and I'll show you 7-8 worthless, inflated, welfare awards. State-issued, title 32, Army and Air National Guard ribbons are another entirely laughable bunch of BS and should be abolished instantly! I for one, NEVER wear the ASR, NCODP or state awards, now that I am retired. When I wear my Class "A" blues to a military funeral, military ceremony, patriotic event, parade or speaking engagement, I only wear full-size, professionally-mounted, Stay-Brite medals, so as not to look absurd with the goofy participation ribbons and state joke ribbons. The fact that a lot of Soldiers are on this thread fanatically defending this ridiculous bullshit with the same zeal as holdout Japanese Soldiers who hid in the jungle for 30 years is appalling. We need to get rid of Campfire Girl Merit Badge type awards and the mindset that goes with them. Lets be warriors, not bling-seeking crybabies.
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1SG John Millan
1SG John Millan
9 d
By the way Gunderson, you shouldn't get a ribbon just for serving. In wartime, the National Defense Medal is awarded, but serving in and of itself is rewarded by a place on the team and wearing the uniform. Pro athletes go to tryouts. We go to basic and AIt. Pro athletes get a jersey. We get a uniform. Pro athletes get a trophy or ring AFTER the big game or win. We ran off the track and gave everyone a trophy before the big game. It is absurd. New Soldiers get a National Defense Medal and GWOT, a cord for infantry and everyone gets branch insignia. Get rid of the dumbass ASR.
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1SG John Millan
1SG John Millan
9 d
Gunderson, I don't kn ow how you "tear something apart" solely with the use of subjective opinion, and back that up with no experience, training, expertise or relevant education. You were a sergeant. You have no understanding of mid-level or senior command or leadership. You state that if you say something, it is word of God. You lack the resume to have any impressive command presence and you are certainly not the kind of person who people will give the same kind of due deference to as say some retired general on a news talk show as a military analyst. You had no advanced schooling in leadership or management. You were a security guard and you write crime novels? that is like a CNA writing novels about a neurosurgeon! Or a charter fishing boat operator writing novels about naval warfare leadership. Your credibility is non-existent, your resume is a joke and your self-inflated sense of importance is delusional. The bottom line is this: awards were intended for exceeding, not meeting the standards. The fact that you can't comprehend this shows that is a good thing that you left the army as an E-5. As far as being a security guard, that is the most laughable and no-respect job in America. Wannabe cops who couldn't cut is a cops or correction officers, stereotypical flunkies who cops laugh at and the public has disdain for. No weapon, no arrest powers, no commission, simply some poor loser, who kind of looking like a cop from a distance. As a police chief, when I went through police command institute for 6 weeks. one of my papers I wrote was on how it should be a yellow flag ( not always red, but definitely yellow) on anyone applying for a police job who has been a security guard for any length of time, except as a retiree or a part time job. It is generally indicative of the classic failed wannabe. Those types definitely call for intense psych eval time. A majority of cops who get fired end up as security guards, along with the non-hackers. I, like the vast majority of my fellow chiefs, strongly recommended against the use of uniformed, unarmed security guards by businesses and institutions, which tend to give a false sense of security to the public. LOL, good luck on those crime novels, I guess you can write a novel on your career highlight, nabbing a trespasser or a shoplifter. What a friggin' JOKE!
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SGT Joseph Gunderson
SGT Joseph Gunderson
9 d
1SG John Millan you continue to repeat the same tired arguments. Why you are still returning to demonstrate you inability to understand my previous arguments is quite confusing. In fact, I'm starting to wonder if you have some kind of obsessive disorder. For the love of God, read the entire section before peddling the same idiotic crap already espoused.
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MSG David Rogers III
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Way too late for that. If if was just coming out, maybe you could argue against it and start a petition. But it is here to stay. Is it really hurting anyone?
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1SG John Millan
1SG John Millan
7 mo
SGT (Join to see) - So the ex-security guard who writes crime novels, once again authoritatively speaks! This from a self-appointed academic and proud military historian and writer-in-residence. Ok, here we go little fella! Awards for mediocrity and meeting standards exist to appease bling-seeking spoiled, entitled snowflakes who need a participation trophy. Everyone gets an "A." The most marginal Soldier who perhaps had an Art. 15 will get this dumb ass automatic award, the same as the honor graduate in the Basic-AIT training cycle. It has no corresponding medal, is not awarded, but just entered in the 201 file and look at me: I didn't even go to Basic, I went to USMC boot camp and I was authorized it the day I joined the Army. It is redundant. Obviously you served in the Army, you are IN the Army, DUH! This is BY DEFINITION, a participation award. The Band of Brothers vets of WW2, like Maj. Dick Winters would laugh at the many silly-ass ribbons of today. A young Soldier who never deployed to combat will have 6-7 by the end of a first enlistment. The WW2 vets fought in the most hellish war humanity ever saw for 4 years, some longer than that, as the USCG and Navy were battling German subs in the N. Atlantic before the war even began. The Greatest Generation survived the Dust Bowl and Great Depression, then won WW2 and MAYBE had 4-5 ribbons. These weak-hearted snowflakes are a scourge. The Army awards system is broken.
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SSG Dave Johnston
SSG Dave Johnston
6 mo
The ASR is a damn "Cold War" participation ribbon, it's aggravating that it rates higher than an Overseas Service Ribbon, and the Army Reserve Components Overseas Training Ribbon.
The only significance I can see to the ASR is in the event of Entry level separation (ELS), the SM has "a little something for their chest".
http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/archive/index.php/t-751778.html
https://www.reference.com/government-politics/chapter-11-military-discharge-f868ba1855bcf9d2
https://legalbeagle.com/7223954-chapter-517.html
The Army Service Ribbon (ASR) is a military award of the United States Army that was established by the Secretary of the Army on 10 April 1981 as announced in Department of the Army General Order 15, dated 10 October 1990.
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SSG Timothy Lanham
SSG Timothy Lanham
3 mo
If you want to talk about an award just being handed out then look no farther than the Bronze Star. That symbol of Heraldry is given to every Ssg and above after any kind of skirmish the US military is involved in. I have seen it given out from Grenada on. The key word there being given. A bull dozer operator used a bull dozer off a runway in Grenada. A CW2 lost 125 AT4 but got the BSM when she left Iraq. Jessica Lynch got one for courage in the face of the enemy but from her own admission she was knocked out. Can't think of any E-6 or higher from my unit after Desert Storm that did not get one. They sure as hell did not do anything to deserve or earn one one. Since we are on the subject, How about the Army Achievement Medal? I quit wearing mine when I was awarded one for a period of service of the award I was on leave for.
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MAJ Norm Michaels
MAJ Norm Michaels
24 d
There are too many medals and ribbons. I finished 20 years of service with 18 ribbons. 18. I am not a Combat veteran. I was a Signal NCO, then Officer, never in direct combat like so many. Our Viet Nam, Korean conflict, and WWII veterans fought like heroes, and they typically left the service with four ribbons on average. Yes, I wear my uniform and ribbons with pride, but why do we have so many when so many have so few?
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CSM Victor Gomez
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The new breed has little understanding and appreciation for service medals and service ribbons. The award system has been so prostituted that Soldiers, NCOs, and even Officers think that they can dictate or demand a certain level of award for achievement or upon PCS. It is the responsibility of leadership to enlighten this new breed of self serving patriots on history, tradition, and the meaning and reason for the aforementioned. Bottom line you get what you earn so shut the hell up.
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SFC James L. Woodling
SFC James L. Woodling
4 mo
Thank you CSM.
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SSgt Greg Willard
SSgt Greg Willard
4 mo
Crazy! If I could I would've voted you up 100 times CSM Gomez!!!
How many ribbons does it take to make a hero? My father was a bombardier and aerial gunner on a B-17 Flying Fortress (double duty and an NCO filling an officer's billet in the Army Air Corps not uncommon then). We would share combat stories and some of his memories of things like flying in and out of missions thru flak, and blood on the turret from crews blown out of the sky made me shut my mouth. My oldest brother still has his blouse and there isn't 25 or 30 ribbons. Let's try two rows!! I guess they weren't really heroes since they didn't have spaghetti piled up to shoulder, and those men didn't serve months on a tour of duty, for a lot of them it was for the duration of WWII...or death! My Dad THOUGHT I was a hero, but I KNEW he was the hero!!
How many ribbons does it take to make a hero? None, all the ribbons in the world won't make a hero.
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TSgt James Warfield
TSgt James Warfield
3 mo
SFC Jim Wellman - I am retired now, but years ago I was denied an award because someone higher believed that that reward should only go to E-7 or higher. I was an E- 6 at the time. Also as one person mention on here, I missed out on a few awards because my OIC thought I should do the narrative for the award. I refused to me the award would always be tainted, if my OIC didn't feel that I was worthy enough for him to spend the time to write up the narrative an award. The same thing when it came to writing efficiency Report. Just my way of thinking,
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SSG Timothy Lanham
SSG Timothy Lanham
3 mo
In WWII 2 Soldiers from 82nd Abn Div were awarded the Medal of Honor One was A PFC and the other was Pvt. They earned the award for their actions. The people recommending the awards did not worry about the medal going to lower enlisted. That was one of the things that always irked me about awards. I recommended Soldiers for an awarded and it got down graded or denied because they did not have a high enough rank. What does rank have to do with awards?
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