THE PENTAGON — With the Defense Department reeling from the far-reaching effects of sequester budget cuts, Army brass has proposed cutting the number of medals and ribbons awarded to soldiers — with officials claiming the move will save billions in taxpayer dollars.
Lt. Gen. Howard B. Bromberg, the Army G-1, explained, "the amount of money spent on ribbons and medals has increased exponentially over the decades." As proof, Bromberg pointed to a picture of Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, a five-star general, who was bedecked with only three ribbons.
"Today, we'd look at a private with only three ribbons as if he were some sort of dirtbag," said Bromberg.
Although no final list had been decided upon, one Army spokesperson said that several ribbons were all but certain to be canned.
"The Army Service Ribbon? What the hell?," asked the spokesman. "The fact that you're in an Army uniform is proof of your army service. Why should I give you a damn ribbon?"
Army officials would neither confirm nor deny the fate of the National Defense Medal. One simply said, "So you were drinking beer in Germany, while the entire U.S. military was fighting Desert Storm? Remind us, again, why you deserve a medal?"
The Army indicated they would be cutting medals incrementally, starting with "I have a pulse"-tier awards, followed by "Thanks for showing up" awards, and finally, "I did an okay job" awards. Altogether, the program is expected to save $37 billion over the next decade.
But not everyone is so enthusiastic.
"My impact Army Commendation Medal really means something," 2nd. Lt. Bob Carmichael, a battalion chemical officer, told Duffel Blog. "It represents sacrifice."
Chemical NCO Staff Sgt. Mike Richards disagreed. "Sir, you turn in the battalion's USR [Unit Status Report], and you have more medals than Carl von Clausewitz. That just ain't right."