Posted on Apr 19, 2017
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It seems to me that officers are recogized far more often then enlisted soldiers. I mean an officer and junior enlisted could do the same exact thing, or an enlisted could do more then an officer and chances are the officer will be given a higher award. Why? I have been in for almost 8 years and only have 1 AAM which is my only actual award.
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MSG Stay At Home Dad
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Man, there are a LOT of officers responding with their thoughts on why the enlisted ranks don't get the amount or level of awards that officers get.

And most of these answers are hilarious. But only because I'm a RETIRED MSG and it doesn't matter to me anymore.

There is an unwritten law in the Army that the higher the rank you are, the higher the award you get for doing a thing. and I am not whining, it really doesn't matter to this retired Soldier so I am speaking objectively.

I have been on the receiving end of not getting the award that an officer who did the same thing DID get, I have put in Soldiers for Awards and seen officers that I put in get upgraded while enlisted (especially lower enlisted) get downgraded for THE SAME ACTIONS.

And when I have mentioned these discrepancies, I have been told "that must just be your unit," "that's probably not what happened," or my favorite, "you don't understand the dynamics of what happens at higher levels."

I WAS the higher damned level. I ran a Batalion and a Brigade S2 Section. And I repeatedly watched as enlisted Soldiers got awarded lesser awards than officers, often for events in which the enlisted Soldier did something well beyond the officer's actions.

This is an Army-wide issue, and one that has been going on for decades. In 1993 as a Private I got an Certificate of Achievement for beating the best time on the "Green Hell" obstacle course in Fort Sherman Panama. My partner, a junior NCO, got an AAM. Later I found out that two officers, a 1st Lieutenant and a Captain, recieved ARCOMs for getting the "best time," which wasn't actually the best time but what translated to the "best time for a pair of officers," which they happened to leave off of the award citation.

In Iraq in 2009 I put a couple of Soldiers in for ARCOMs for their actions in the Intel field. I put our OIC in for an ARCOM as well, because I knew that putting him in for anything less would be a ska in the face that would cause all of my Soldiers' Awards to get slapped down. Our OIC had only been with us for bout a third of the deployment, prior to that we were without an OIC, having myself and one other NCO to run things. Our OIC was awarded a Bronze Star, and most of my Soldiers received AAMs.

I and most NCOs have long understood that the system is INCREDIBLY flawed, and that one just needs to Lee their teeth together and grind it out because the people who would CHANGE the flawed system are the same people who currently BENEFIT from the flawed system - namely, officers. and it's not ONLY officers; Senior NCOs are often given awards that are WILDLY out of proportion for the actions they have taken. Not too long ago a 1SG got an ARCOM for reporting Soldiers who were complaining ONLINE about their leadership. This, to me, says that her "trolling" of these Soldiers is equal in merit to the Army as my actions in COMBAT that merited an ARCOM. Which is, obviously, fucking RIDICULOUS.

I am not trying to offer any type of fix for this, I am simply stating the facts: officers (and to an extent senior NCOs) receive preferential treatment when it comes to awards. Anyone who tells you different is either delusional, bullshitting, or an officer who is trying to defend a flawed system.

And that's okay. My DD-214 is two pages long with all of the damned awards and decorations I received by being in the wrong place at the wrong time for the Army over three different decades, and I've found that once you're out not a single one of them matters.

So drive on, Airborne. Huaa?
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MSG Stay At Home Dad
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Lt Col W Scott Arnott
Lt Col W Scott Arnott
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MSG (Join to see) - Most officers don't get promoted on "points", at least IMO. It has to do with their jobs and bosses but, that's true in the enlisted force too. Look at the number of "medals" (i.e. AAM or Air Medals), that enlisted flyers get and look at their promotion rates vs the line maintenance guy (which I was when enlisted). I'm not complaining or arguing, I'm just commenting based on my experience from E-1 to O-5 with about 27 years experience... And time in multiple conflicts, both while enlisted (VN), and as an officer (Desert Storm and as an American assigned to NATO, the Balkan Conflict...)
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GySgt International It Pmo & Portfolio Manager
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MAJ Harold Moffett I concur. I think awards are nice heirlooms foe decendents. And they don’t have to be Medals of Honor. Family rallies around the pride of having a veteran forebear who had character. I strive to meet that expectation to be someone my great great great grandkids can be proud of.
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SFC Craig Titzkowski
SFC Craig Titzkowski
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MSG I have retired as well. I think it could be the write up of the award sounds funny but since I was an engineer 21B I took lessons from a S-1 NCOIC on the right way to write an award the reason I did this is because I had 105 soldiers I was putting in for awards and some of them were getting down graded. when I got done a lot got up graded the write up is huge catch words and phases specific wording. I also know it is easier to ask for a AAM then a ARCOM and MSM or BSM the story about the event must reflect the level of the award. Officer take care of officers Enlisted and the Senior NCO have to take care of the soldier and fight the good fight to not kill or burn out our soldiers. Officers push to the braking point alot and call it testing to see what the capabilities for mission assignments. I never have liked that soldiers will always rise to the mission. Train 90% 10% mission. Mentor and Be No Do. Hope all gets better.
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CPT Jack Durish
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A very reasonable question with a very simple answer. Junior officers, the ones in closet contact with enlisted personnel aren't very adept leaders. They are lucky to know how to do the simplest tasks of leadership let alone something sophisticated like recommending personnel for awards and decorations. Their immediate superiors aren't much better. However senior officers who are well aware of the significance that decorations can have on a military career rarely witness the accomplishments of the troops as individuals. What's the solution? If you witness an act of valor or a significant accomplishment that you feel is worthy of recognition, bring it to the attention of your immediate superior. Suggest a that they submit a recommendation for recognition if they're too dense to take the hint. Write it up yourself if you have to. Then hope that someone does the same for you when you deserve it. If anyone gives you trouble for following my advice, refer them to me.
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MSgt Robert Bell
MSgt Robert Bell
1 mo
Sir,
I am a former Marine and the corps has this same problem, and I would almost buy your answer, if I wouldn't have personally seen over and over throughout the duration of my 25 years, senior officers often turning down awards for enlisted Marines, while some of those same officers write up their own awards and never left the comfort of their desk.
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SP5 Jay Molyneaux
SP5 Jay Molyneaux
1 mo
SSG Ken Potts - I would say medics don't get medals period. If you are killed you can get a BS-V. During my tour of VN I was put in for medals three times and got my Purple Heart only. MY LT got awards for being alive.
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SSG Carpentry and Masonry Specialist
SSG (Join to see)
1 mo
From my own personal and humble opinion. No matter what type of awards you wanted to input your soldier for, it always got downgraded. The intent was always to submit an ARCOM for example or higher, it always got downgraded to a certificate of achievement. As for me during my last deployment and close for retirement anyways I said I don’t want any awards. I am just happy I was able to accomplish the needs of the Army and my country. I am done and God Bless America.
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Lt Col W Scott Arnott
Lt Col W Scott Arnott
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MSgt Robert Bell - Not just the Marines but well said!
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MGySgt James Forward
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Don't get wrapped around the axle on awards, sometimes there is not much rhyme or reason. Do you best always, I never worried about any awards. End of tour before PCS orders is a give away award in my book and does not occur that much in the Marine Corps. We also don't give promotion point for them either. Yes, looks nice on your uniform but you evals and performance are what count in my book. Semper fi and keep charging.
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LCpl Cody Collins
LCpl Cody Collins
1 mo
MSG David Rogers III Exactly! I have 3 Letters of Appreciation and 2 Certificates of Achievements. Semper Fi
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LCpl Cody Collins
LCpl Cody Collins
1 mo
SFC (Join to see) Sounds like E-3’s and E-4’s had to kiss a lot of a$$ in the army, if they want to get promoted. Glad I joined the Marines where they kicked you in the Ass to get you motivated.
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SSgt Robert Van Buhler III
SSgt Robert Van Buhler III
1 mo
Every time I see some General Officer on the TV news, with a rack of ribbons so large it is half under their collar, it seems to me more fitting on a third world generalissimo than a US officer. The decorations and devices go too far, and begin to look comical. I don't doubt they were earned, but they still look Banana republic. Just as the continual uniform changes do.
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SSG Cliff Richardson
SSG Cliff Richardson
13 d
The circumstances are overlooked, and the enlisted man himself is brought into question always, and too often. I was recomended out of the decision from 3rd AD CDR that all officers, and the enlisted rank of E-7, and above would automatically recieve the broze star, only 2 from my company were recomended for this award, 1 was sent to Saudi Arabia for less than 2 months before I was, I not he was recomended based on battlefield actions, mine for 3 different actions, these actions as described to me from the company cdr. concerned 1 mine field, medivac of 1 wounded soldier ( dust off - soldier is in golden hour ), and clearing of enemy base areas using lots of c-4 ( Infantry stuff ). The other soldier when questioned about what actions he had taken as stated in his own words ( all I did was fuck some captian for a few cases of mre's ). I must tell you that I was super dissapointed that mine was downgraded to a ARCOM (my 4th ),and he walked away with the brinze star, I walked away with head held low! Circumstances and relationships play a big part also. Some people were against me, for one my 1sgt. A former Marine, as myself, was a spitshine - if you look good, you are good type! was afraid of another former Marine, and myself, and spent the war worried that both, my friend and I were going to frag him, he assigned the company clerk as a bodyguard for every move he made. The platoon leader, a west point grad, ranger tab, jump wings, and CIB - who constantly shoved that tab in my face and told me that I was in his opion shit as a former Marine, although he was the one who got us into the fucking mine field, caused 1 wounded as described above, countless mistakes, locked and loaded a 45 on me, cause he couldn't take my remarks concerning his weak leadership on the battlefield, and the cost of those mistakes, he couldn't take constructive criticism from the plt.sgt, or myself, and other reckless actions from this man! This man forgot everything he ever learned about leadership, and complley lost it on the battlefield, if not for my actions getting us out of that minefield the cost would have been much higher than 1 wounded,and to make things worse forgot everything about Ranger school!
Lets be clear here, cadets from acadmies accross the board, are allowed to go through Airborne School, and Ranger school, when questioned about Ranger school, those officers stated that they only retained 60% or less, yet it's needed for career records. You will not find hardley any officers who have not been through both of these schools! while enlisted can't often get those schools, mostly due to needs of the Army! I applied 3 times, was denied 3 times based on conversion to Bradleys, and Mech Infantry needs! Jump school was always overcrowded, and the waiting list was endless, just as 5+ years to get chopper piolot school. The last in this I believe that the 1sgt. and the shit reckless platoon leader were involved in the dismisal of the bronze star on my behalf. Although the last thing offered to me for my last re-up, was a packet - airborne school, warrant officer for SF, my pick of what school needed concerning completion of Q-course for SF. I didn't take it cause my marriage, and family was on the rocks due to my dedication to my job - 11M30 Staff Sergeant, Mech Infantry. I chose family, and it cost me too much, went reserves, went into IRR, due to the incompetance of the IRR in 1993, I lost my career. But have a great family!
So yeah awards are needed, but for the right reasons, not BS, all awards need to be reorganized as to let the people who need these schools, courses get them. Ranger school is nothing more than an intiation to Rangers, sadly most of the students attending are not of the combat arms MOS's
! they are non combat arms, cadets and others - like foriegn students, all officers, pass without question, this is a fact!!! In the 1980's there was a foriegn student who didn't pass, was executed by an official of his country behind some barracks, how do I know, my platoon sgt. was there! I had known this man and had worked with him prior to his position as my Plt. Sgt. so I trust what he has said concerning the subject, and there were others that were there as cadre, or personnel, so they need to make it a cut and dry thing, either you pass or you fail, no give aways. And I believe this should be the standard for all schools, as it should be for awards, not based on rank, or relation to those awarding these awards, at what ever level they are. This was a dissapointment not only to me but to many others, who were more deserving of these things than many of those who recieved them, and did not earn them!
Sorry that this was so long, I needed to vent a little wrath here, because what happended to me happens all the time to others in the Army, and I imagine all forces, back then as i figure it does now, nothing will change, it will take away power from some level of senior NCO, or especially officers!!
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