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 1 y ago
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Responses: 468
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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SGT Joseph Gunderson
SGT Joseph Gunderson
3 mo
1SG John Millan - yeah, you're going to have to provide proof of the statements you have decided to say came as rationale for the award. However, it does not suddenly make the award worth less just because it is, by far, the easiest award to earn. Does it discredit every ARCOM just because an awardee receives an Art 15 at some point afterward? Does the MoH suddenly lose credibility if an awardee does something regrettable? Of course not. The notion that the ASR means nothing because some jagoffs will inevitably wash out of the military quickly is erroneous. The fact that you have now chosen to lump the NDSM and GWOTSM into your argument is even more ridiculous. As the ribbon rack of a SM is a readily observable, tangible representation of their service, each award has its place and purpose, from the MoH down to the lowly OSR. Your hissyfit does not change any of that. Now, unless you have anything novel to add to this conversation, can you please quit making a fool of yourself and revisiting this topic every few months; you are becoming tedious and annoying at this point.
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1SG John Millan
1SG John Millan
3 mo
SGT Joseph Gunderson your parroted and hollow replies, fanaticism and zeal to mediocrity DEFINE laughable, tedious and annoying points. Let's first address credibility, education, training and experience: you are a former one or two term, young, non--career, former Soldier who got out. You make a fool of yourself with your Napoleonic complex and aura of being the final word on this subject. Take me out of the equation here and note what the VAST majority of senior field grade officers. Sr. NCO's, SGM's, CSM's 1SG's and warrants are saying on this topic. The less experienced a point-maker has relevant to the topic at hand, the less credibility he-she has. That is common sense. You obviously truly see yourself as being at the paramount; the tip of the academic pyramid; as a genuine scholar, writer-in-residence and the kind of top 1% elite academic that networks refer to for talking pointa on military matters. I am sad to inform you that You are simply pointlessly boviating Absent of being a current or former SEAL, SF, PJ or Ranger or being a retired admiral, general think tanker or West Point professor, you are simply another seemingly maladjusted, PTSD'd-out and pityful veteran. You have made it your cslkibg in life to be the defender of the esteemed and coveted Army Service Ribbon. You are so far removed from the status of academic authority, it is laughable! Still, BE academic and research the in-depth history of that Army Service Ribbon award. The then-SMA admitted it was a post-Vietnam freebie, to cheer up new, volunteer, non-drafted troops who wanted awards like the Vietnam vets had. I was not aware of that aspect of the award's history, as I was in the USMC at that time. That historic and telling aspect was posted by a skew of Army vets from that era. I DO recall the sloppy uniforms, long hair, pot smoking and low morale in much of the Army during that era of the Jimmy Carter administration, which was the lowest point of the US military since the end of WW2. That was the very first time a that a participation ribbon was created and awarded in the history of the US Army and it was a 180 degree departure from the norms of award standards from WW2-Vietnam. Again, if it HAD even ONE "exceeds standards" mandate and had either a citation or a formal presentation mandate, I would STFU. It doesn't. Plus as it was a freebie award for placating bare-chested troops, that peacetime rationale has expired with the NDSM and GWOTSM being two freebies now awarded in wartime. Plus, we give the uniform to proudly wear at Basic and branch insignia at AIT. My point is that if we began indoctrinating the new, young troops, to not seek participation awards, but to instead want awards that reflect an exceeding of standards "EXCELLENCE" vs. mediocrity, and to want awards that don't state the obvious and to simply be proud Soldiers, the warrior ethic would burn brighter. Do we REALLY wonder why UK, Canadian, German and other allied troops laugh at a young a US Soldier who never deployed, but has 6 ribbons and thus, looks like a Salvadorian admiral after just one 4-year hitch? Or why Marines laugh at Soldiers who are wearing TWO (2) AAM ribbons for 10 total awards? There is a wealth of well-written articles out there on the WWW arguing my points. If a Soldier is documented as marginal, gets recycled, has an ART 15 and then, just weeks later, he is chsptered out administratively, for inability to adjust to military life and all that occurs at the start of a military career, in under 180 days, THAT constitutes a complete failure as a Soldier and is the military equivalent of a civilian worked being dismissed from a job at-will for inability to do the job in a probationary period. If THAT is the type of standard we want to be held to, it's sad. Remember, you like most short-serving youths, have an greatly-inflated sense of self-worth and importance, despite a mediocre Army career and an unremarkable post-Army bio. You demand unearned things, which is the appeal of Bernie Sanders and that is a whole other lesson. I am now aware You aren''t simply being condescending to stir crap on here; you obviously, GENUINELY see yourself as the highly-informed, final authority on all matters of the US Army in here, and in particular, on this matter and as the apparent moderator. That is not how life works. That type of behavioral health profile might be why, among other factors, you are no longer a Soldier. You were a pretty low-ranking NCO in the Army and you served for a relatively short time. You were not in a senior leadership billet. You then were a security guard? I wouldn't brag on THAT one. That is truly the ultimate no-respect, cop-wannabe job in our society. The telling split on this debate is that the vast majority of E-6 and above laugh at the award, while the E-5 and below troops tend overwhelmingly to want it kept. That is because young troops, who are the Army's "children" often want something for nothing. The Sr. NCO's and officers are the Army's "adults," who learned how life worked over time and see that nothing should be free. Still, you and a handful of others in here are more devoted to that silly award, than a Ranger is to his tab and scroll. I get your refusal to address my points one by one, you can't, and thus you won't. You have had dozens of opportunities to address those points and you simply ignored them, as you deflected and simply seem to indicate that you are the moderator and with your more experienced and senior status, your points are final. It is amusing. But that radical fervor you folks express for that pathetic award defies sanity and logic; it reeks of patheticism, insecurity and mediocrity. When I first posted, I didn't have the aargument ammo about the SMA in 1980 stating it was simply a created award, specifically for troops to "have" one. That sad admission and the fact that again, a hoodlum troop who is recycled, barely squeaks by AIT with an ART 15 and then gets chartered out still gets it, proves it is not an earned, fitting or prestigious award. It is interesting that young Soldiers like you, with no credibility, experience or status, are so zealous over such a silly and trivial point. The banality of your attitude and the hollow structure of your points, along worth the self-deluded sense of self- importance and general outlook is humorous. It is a relief that you are out and never made any position of impotance in the Army. Continue the crusade in your mediocre, minimum wage, laughable and marginal life. Don't forget your appointments at mental health at the VA. LOL.
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SGT Joseph Gunderson
SGT Joseph Gunderson
3 mo
1SG John Millan bud, it is very sad to watch as a supposed NCO has decided to simply try to tear down my service instead of coming up with a valid argument. At this point, you aren't even worth conversing with. You are unimaginably pitiful.
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1SG John Millan
1SG John Millan
3 mo
Gunderson, I am not TEARING down. MSG Utley and I are pointing out a systemic weakness, one that is inconsistent with warrior culture. By your logic, an employee is being disloyal to the company in pointing out that the office smoke detectors are broken, the fire extinguishers are low pressured and the fire exits are locked. This ASR bullshit is a leftover symptom of the immediate post-Vietnam era; one of a participation awards culture, and it was aimed squarely at MY generation, which in the late 70's into the end of the Carter era (early 1981); with the-new, all-volunteer, post-Vietnam crew in the military. This was a time of long haired Soldiers, pot smoking in the open and insubordinate Soldiers thinking that the Army was a joke and that they would never fire a shot. Unless you were on the Korean DMZ, at Fulda Gap or in Berlin, it was a joke. This dumbass award came about in the Carter Administration, which was the truly lowest point of morale, readiness and warrior state in modern US history. It was a dark time for the US military and this whole concept of participation awards was unheard of before that time. And even if we say there WAS a need to give everyone an award that states the obvious back then (I disagree), it CERTAINLY is no longer needed. Every recruit rates a NDSM and GWOTSM after basic and branch insignia after AIT. And actually, as for the "history" behind the award, the history of same is pretty mediocre, if not embarrassing. The Sergeant Major of the Army, William Conneley, at that time, stated openly, it was a ribbon for new, all-volunteer troops, who were not in Vietnam or the era and had no ribbons! WTF was THAT??? These whiners were butt-hurt that the old sarge had 6 ribbons after Vietnam and they jhad none after 4 months in the Army! So, instead of explaining to little spoiled troops, that NO, we don't just give you a ribbon right away, they are EARNED for EXCEEDING standards or for service not otherwise recognized, we gave them one too. If this was pro sports, like say football, we Soldiers would get the Army uniform instead of the jersey. It sholw membership in the team and that should be ENOUGH! If someone will not be a Soldier unless he gets a participation award, I think the Army is really not for them. So anyhow, we complete basic and AIT instead of tryouts. But the NFL gets a ring only AFTER the Super Bowl. The Army unfortunately, gives the ring out at the start of the game, even if you sit on the bench. That is the toxic history of the root of the rot of the whole participation awards ideology, and how this whole ridiculous BS all started since 1980. It is sad that so many in here are as fanatical in their devotion to that silly, no-standards, state-the-obvious ribbon, as we would expect say a Ranger would be to his tab and scroll. Gunderson, you are as fanatical in your love for that SILLY ribbon as some Japanese Soldiers were for the emperor in WW2 and held out in the jungles for 35 years rather than to surrender. It is ridiculous to see a supply clerk who served 4 years with 6 riobbons and never deployed or an Airman who repaired computers and never touched a rifle after basic, who has 12 ribbons. This whole "let's look like a 3rd world dictator" BS is insane and only getting worse. If we got Soldiers to accept the ethos that awards should mean something, not "tell a story" or "simply make you "feel good," we might get on the road to a warrior force and weed out the bling-seeking crybabies. This could start with one good Soldier at a tine. As the old saying goes, the great wall was built starting gwith a single stone or the pathway to success begins with a single step.
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MSG David Rogers III
208
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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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SSG Timothy Lanham
SSG Timothy Lanham
10 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
8 mo
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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1SG John Millan
1SG John Millan
3 mo
SSG Lanham-AMEN! I as a prior-service Marine, never even KNEW that a BSM could be for service. It should have a law change to make it for valor only and retro change all service BSM's to MSM's.
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SSG Combat Engineer
SSG (Join to see)
2 mo
PFC Jesse Kiepke How many people do not make it through basic training? What is the percentage of the population that can't even make it to MEPS because they are either unfit or unwilling to do so. The ASR is the Army's acknowledgement of the people who are willing and able to serve. Which is less than 5% of the eligible population.
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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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SSgt Greg Willard
SSgt Greg Willard
11 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
10 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
10 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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1SG John Millan
1SG John Millan
3 mo
CSM, some losers in here are so fanatical about that worthless, participation trophy, crybaby Army Service Ribbon award, that they act like we would expect a Ranger to act if it was suggested that he might have to give up his tab and scroll! It saddens me the low caliber of troops we have in some cases nowadays.
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