Posted on Nov 4, 2013
SSG Robert Burns
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Too often you hear of individuals awards being downgraded/upgraded/or not even approved because of what rank the person is, who recommended it, or simply who they are. &nbsp;Awards should be approved based solely on what is written in the bullets or the narrative for that individual. &nbsp;If I have a SPC who did the exact same thing as a SFC and submit them both for a BSM how does one get an ARCOM and the other a BSM? &nbsp;I'll tell you what was told me, because of their rank. &nbsp;I would argue if you are going to bring rank into it then that SPC deserves it more because he obviously did something that was considered above and beyond for a SFC.<div>The awards form should be 2 forms; the recommendation with justification and an administrative form for S-1. &nbsp;Once approved/disapproved it comes back to S-1 and matched up with the reference number on the admin form for action. &nbsp;S-1 can check for flags, etc.</div><div>The decision should have nothing to do with anything other than those bullets.</div>
Posted in these groups: Us medals Awards
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CW3 Operations Coordinator
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I've never heard this approach to solving this particular problem.  I think it's a great idea.  I ran into an issue years ago where I recommended a SGT for a PCS award.  She was a pain in the butt, but she worked very hard and was frequently selected for particularly difficult/arduous tasks (she was very detail oriented too).  The award was initially kicked back because "That's the same award we just gave to the SFC who was the HQ Platoon Sergeant, and the training room NCOIC.  How can you possibly justify that your Soldier deserves the same award."  I returned it with the same bullets and told the commander to downgrade it if wasn't warranted.  The 1SG then started nit-picking every little detail on the award, each time kicking it back for something new and unrelated to previous submissions.  One day I was told the award was good to go.  Two or three weeks later my Soldier was awarded a lesser award as the PCS award.  When I asked her about it, she showed me the 638.  My acting Patoon Sergeant took my award, removed my name, downgraded the award, and resubmitted it.  No bullets were changed, and it was approved with praise from each of the Commanders in their comment sections.  Never in my life have I lost my military bearing to such a degree so quickly.  Calmer heads prevailed and I made it out of my boss's office with my rank, but I'll never forget the BS argument which cost a Soldier the award they had earned.  By the way, the recommendation was an ARCOM, not an MSM as some of you may have assumed while reading this.
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SSG Robert Burns
SSG Robert Burns
8 y
That is EXACTLY the stuff Im talking about. &nbsp;Basing awards off of personality and feeling instead of actions. &nbsp;It is a complete lack of integrity as far as I'm concerned.
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SPC Lead Security Officer
SPC (Join to see)
7 mo
Late to the discussion I know, but a similar event occurred with my end of tour award. I was assigned to a brigade and ended up working for five battalions and their down trace units as well as communicating with brigade and division staff. At the end of the tour my brigade NCO recommended me for an ARCOM. People in my direct battalion tried to halt it saying a PFC can't earn an ARCOM.

They even had a set of rules for the awards. AAM's for actions that affect battalion, ARCOM's for brigade, and MSM's for division. I clearly affected the brigade was my NCO's argument, and even worked for division on several occasions so based on their own rules I should have gotten an ARCOM no problem. A lot of hassle and fighting from my leadership and I did end up getting it.

I'm proud of the award as it was hard work getting it, but I think I'm even more proud of the people who pushed that hard for me. I've met a lot of guys who would say screw it, you get an AAM or COA sucks to suck.
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COL Strategic Plans Chief
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SSG Burns...totally agree with you! If a SPC does the exact same thing a SFC does, they should get the same award. Now...the chances of that happening are slim. It has to do with level of responsibility too. If a private is excellent at his job (top 1% performer) and a MSG is excellent at his job...which one has more impact? Which one has more responsibility? A LT and a LTC. The LT fights 4 vehicles and 25 soldiers and owns a small piece of terrain. The LTC is responsible for 600 people, 150 vehicles, and a battle space the size of Maryland. There's a difference there. Both may be excellent at their jobs, but one has a more significant impact on the army and the mission. We do have a gap though. PCS moves are a problem at the rank of SFC-1SG and CPT's. The MSM covers a broad range of ranks in the level of responsibility it represents. It's too wide in my opinion
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SSG Robert Webster
SSG Robert Webster
>1 y
LTC Halvorson, I think about this differently than you do. That LT may be the key that caused the LTC success or failure, this is applicable in both peace time and in war. If the LTC is awarded for the mission accomplishment, due to the LT's actions, shouldn't the LT be awarded commensurately? With your examples, it appears otherwise.
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COL Strategic Plans Chief
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I understand your point, but then everyone would just get the same award. Everyone. We'd give a Legion of Merit to every private in the Division when the CG leaves. There has to be a breakdown somewhere.
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SSG Medical Logistics Specialist
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I wholeheartedly agree.  Not only have I heard about this but I've seen it firsthand.  Why downgrade someone's award????  Because those senior "leaders" did not feel that the individual was deserving of our because they fell short of saving someone's life.  A Soldier (or any servicemember for that matter) should NEVER have to worry about thinking if the work they did was good enough to warrant an award.

Being a leader myself I've come to believe that in some units it is much harder to get an award than in others. This being particularly true with the comparison of TDA and TOE units.  Take the politics out of everything and let's reward those who honestly deserve them.  Watch how quickly morale will rise. 
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