The Ministry of Defence is adding two new award devices — a C device for persons who have distinguished themselves under combat conditions, and a R-unit for service members, such as the drone pilot who “at a distance, but directly contributed to the combat of the operation,” said the chief of staff of the Army awards branch.
The new devices are similar to the dn-V device for bravery, who was authorized decades ago for wear on the Army ribbons.
Both are fully described in Military Personnel Message 17-095, entitled “the Implementation of the Ministry of Defence of the Guidance of the Newly Created ‘C’ and ‘R’ Devices’, dated 15 March.
In the past, awards such as the Army Commendation Medal not indicate extraordinary service in connection with the fight, Lt. Col. R. Arron Lummer, head of the Awards and Decorations Branch, the Adjutant-General of the Directorate, U.S. Army Human Resources Command, said in a March 28 press release.
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“Soldiers were not being correctly recognized with the awards for the system as it was, so this change in DoD is doing exactly that,” Lummer said.
The Army was the first to publish guidance, and permission to wear the equipment when the MILPER came out this month, but the guidance will probably vary slightly between the Joint Staff and the other services, Lummer said.
There is a subtle but important difference between the V and the C-devices, Lummer said.
The valor V device “for combat heroism, limited to a special performance where a soldier of proven courage in battle against an armed enemy,” he said.
The control of the C device is earned “through the service or performance under combat conditions,” Lummer said. The intent of the C device is to be distinguished from a price have earned in the battle, because not all military awards are exclusively combat-related.
For example, the Bronze Star Medal will not be the merit of a C unit, because the medal itself acknowledges service or achievement in a combat theater. The Army Commendation Medal, however, may be awarded in battle or in peacetime, so a C machine would be distinguished service or achievement in combat, Lummer said.
But in order to qualify for the C-device, the soldier must be in an active area of combat where “the soldier was personally exposed to hostile action or in an area where other soldiers were actively involved,” he said.
Unlike the Combat Action Badge — which is awarded if a soldier is personally involved or seize the enemy — the C device may be awarded to a soldier, even if he or she is never personal, as long as the “service or performance is included in an area where enemy actions have taken place,” Lummer said.
The R device is classified as a soldier contributes to a control of the remote control, such as when an unmanned aerial system operator to place ordnance on a high value target from a location away from the combat area, Lummer said.
That UAS operator likely to be eligible for the new R-device, as he “delivered ordnance, or identified the goal, and was then able to talk or walk, the effects on that purpose, or of a robbery on the ground, or the designation of targeted munitions delivered from somewhere else,” he said.
The new C and R are the devices of the same color, size and font as the existing V-device, Lummer said. Instructions on the wearing of the C-and R-devices borrowed heavily from similar instructions on how to wear the V device.
Both new devices will probably be rewarded with the Army Commendation Medal, but there are others.
The C-device can also be worn with the:
— Distinguished Service Medal;
— Legion of Merit;
— Distinguished Flying Cross;
— Air Medal; and
— Army Achievement Medal.
The R-device can also be worn with the:
— Legion of Merit;
— Meritorious Service Medal; and
— Army Achievement Medal.
The new devices are not, however, intended to be awarded for past conflicts, including the majority of the combat operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The devices are retroactive only to Jan. 7, 2016, when the Ministry of Defence recognised them, so the only price that is approved prior to that is not eligible for a C or R device, Lummer said.
— Matthew Cox can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.