Medals & Misfires

MEDAL: Review of valor awards proved totally justified

The military-wide review of more than 1,300 valor decorations awarded since 9/11, which began in early 2016, continues to pay dividends by recognizing the nation’s heroes for their incredible courage on the battlefield.

A case in point: On Dec. 15, Air Force Chief Master Sgt. Michael West had his Bronze Star upgraded to a Silver Star, the nation’s third highest award for valor.

West, a joint terminal attack controller attached to a team of Army Green Berets during a September 2006 battle in Afghanistan, controlled more than 88 attack aircraft and called in airstrikes that killed 500 Taliban fighters, all while exposing himself to direct enemy fire.

Astonishingly, his original Bronze Star didn’t even have a “V” device for valor.

The medals review was intended to address criticism that the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps failed to appropriately recognize valorous acts throughout the war on terrorism.

It is now clear that criticism was justified. It is time, however, for the military services to complete these upgrades and provide a complete accounting of the review’s results.

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