Conspicuous Gallantry Cross sale sparks controversy

Chef

LE
I think you were listening to it with some idea of what it should be, rather than what it was. It wasn't an investigation of Cutterham, even though it leant on that story very heavily (which is fair enough). It was a direct criticism of the honours system, which is something that I and many other guys in Afghanistan would agree with - including, by the way, guys with bravery awards with whom I've talked about it, including several MCs and one CGC.

Saying that, like many of the Army's supposedly great systems, the medals system is actually substantially flawed, is not the same as impugning the bravery of soldiers. In fact, one of my main criticisms of the system is that it creates kind of reverse scapegoats: it awards halos to specific individuals to bolster a sort of hero effect, rather than rewarding the group and bolstering the team ethos which the Army says is its priority. I've rarely met anyone with any award who didn't suggest that him getting it was out of proportion with the contribution of others during that incident or tour. There are exceptions I'm sure, either extraordinary individual acts or incidents where a lot of medals were awarded, but why shouldn't we have a system geared to the norm rather than exceptions?

People are reflexively critical of the US system of badges here, and it can be overdone. But they have one thing we don't - unit citations - which are important to cultivating the team rather than individual ethos. Call it an updating of regimental honours if you like, because basically nobody (other than training staff, recruits and WOs) knows nor cares what the names on your regimental colours are.

I also think a system that focused on displaying objective achievements like merit badges - a thing which soldiers already use as a way of status and ranking each other (e.g. wings, daggers, winged daggers, etc) - would help. It's a virtuous incentive to encourage soldiers to take and pass serious professional qualifications, and frankly more useful to have them on uniform than JPA where they often go unnoticed. There is already a status that comes with certain courses - widening that and encouraging people to take some overt pride in them would broaden public forms of recognition that are currently quite narrowly directed into just rank and medals.

These alternate forms of recognition (unit awards and qualification badges) might draw some of the effort and investment that clearly happened at unit level in Iraq and Afghan, if individuals and commanders could explicitly demonstrate their value and status in ways that didn't require a gallantry award. It's the same logic as awarding honours, just applied more widely so that it rewards a larger set of desirable behaviours instead of just getting rounds down.

Unfortunately I think there is no answer to the "reward mission achivement not the fighting" problem until the Army first solves its more critical problems with understanding, stating and sticking to missions.
I believe the Japanese army eschewed medals, as in their view, being brave and soldierly was the basic duty of the emperor's troops.
 

sirbhp

LE
Book Reviewer
I would deduce ,that you don't just go to your officer an say " i have just done a brave thing can I have a medal please "

I would further assume that people who saw what happened and told the story back at base, which was passed on for a review before the medal was issued .?

Otherwise, I wouldn't have my two VC's

If his medals are worth over £100k why not sell them and get copy replacements . The money could have helped him start a business, buy a new car and a host of hookers. It's his property, and he gets to decide what he is going to do with them .

If he was in trouble and needed to sell them for urgent cancer treatment in Cuba, i'm sure that SSAFA or the RBL could have stepped in .
 
I also think a system that focused on displaying objective achievements like merit badges - a thing which soldiers already use as a way of status and ranking each other (e.g. wings, daggers, winged daggers, etc) - would help. It's a virtuous incentive to encourage soldiers to take and pass serious professional qualifications, and frankly more useful to have them on uniform than JPA where they often go unnoticed. There is already a status that comes with certain courses - widening that and encouraging people to take some overt pride in them would broaden public forms of recognition that are currently quite narrowly directed into just rank and medals.
Indeed. One Army was quite good at displaying their battalefield accomplishments on their uniforms.

9adba175029d0375e2ee4fdd473cbee7--ukraine-waffen.jpg
 
Yanks have it right with the CIB
1637901261305.jpeg

A soldier must meet the following requirements to be awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge:

Be an infantryman satisfactorily performing infantry duties
Assigned to an infantry unit during such time as the unit is engaged in active ground combat
Actively participate in such ground combat

A recipient must be personally present and under hostile fire while serving in an assigned infantry or Special Forces primary duty, in a unit actively engaged in ground combat with the enemy.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Yanks have it right with the CIB
View attachment 618211
A soldier must meet the following requirements to be awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge:

Be an infantryman satisfactorily performing infantry duties
Assigned to an infantry unit during such time as the unit is engaged in active ground combat
Actively participate in such ground combat

A recipient must be personally present and under hostile fire while serving in an assigned infantry or Special Forces primary duty, in a unit actively engaged in ground combat with the enemy.
An improvement. A lot of attached arms these days, including some who see a lot of ground time, get stuck in and do difficult and dangerous things. Or, at least, a separate but similar combat badge for non-infantrymen in combat, because there are a significant minority of them.

Indeed. One Army was quite good at displaying their battalefield accomplishments on their uniforms.

View attachment 618207
...not quite sure what your point is. Yes, the Nazis had an army. This does not make all army things Nazi, unless you are at sub-kindergarten levels of reasoning (i.e. on Twitter). Should we also avoid uniforms, tanks, guns, etc?
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
Yanks have it right with the CIB
View attachment 618211
A soldier must meet the following requirements to be awarded the Combat Infantryman Badge:

Be an infantryman satisfactorily performing infantry duties
Assigned to an infantry unit during such time as the unit is engaged in active ground combat
Actively participate in such ground combat

A recipient must be personally present and under hostile fire while serving in an assigned infantry or Special Forces primary duty, in a unit actively engaged in ground combat with the enemy.
At least one non-infanteer has been awarded the CIB, but the criteria are changed to include being a natural female and shouting loudly you want one.
 

Cutaway

LE
Kit Reviewer
He linked an SS officer. The Germans had a Wehrmacht. The Nazis had an SS.
True enough, but neither group were all honourable sldrs nor all war criminals.
 
The CIB is in a grouping with the Combat Action Badge and Combat Medic Badge.
 

The_Duke

LE
Moderator
An improvement. A lot of attached arms these days, including some who see a lot of ground time, get stuck in and do difficult and dangerous things. Or, at least, a separate but similar combat badge for non-infantrymen in combat, because there are a significant minority of them.

And unsurprisingly, there is still quite a lot of bitterness towards people who actively seek the conditions to qualify for the CIB / CAB because they might be deemed "improperly dressed" without it - combat tourism.

Once qualified, some take rapid and large steps rearwards to ensure that they are never at risk of qualifying again.
 

Caecilius

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer

And unsurprisingly, there is still quite a lot of bitterness towards people who actively seek the conditions to qualify for the CIB / CAB because they might be deemed "improperly dressed" without it - combat tourism.

Once qualified, some take rapid and large steps rearwards to ensure that they are never at risk of qualifying again.

The conditions are also pretty flexible, and like any other badge cause a large amount of bitterness.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
The conditions are also pretty flexible, and like any other badge cause a large amount of bitterness.
But as with all these things, you aren't going to escape human nature. The question is how best to channel the best bits and dampen the worst bits. I think the principle is pretty simple that increasing the number of and diversifying the nature (i.e. lowering the average value of any one badge) of broadly objective "status" badges is preferable in both cases to a tiny number of very high value subjective awards. It draws the poison while spreading rewards more evenly, which, in a collective organisation, is a good thing.

I also think that "combat tourism" is a more complex phenomenon than is allowed for. What is the point at which combat or ground experience, which we hold to be very important, becomes "combat tourism"? Can anyone define it for me? Having been and seen others on both sides, I think a leavening of combat/ground experience is one of the most valuable lessons many soldiers in support arms can have, and in some cases (J2/5 especially, but also elements of J4/6/7) should be considered required experience.
 
There are/were some odd rules around the CAB, not least between the four US Services. I know USN individual augmentees were pretty hacked off when working in the C-IED units not getting it, but the US Army guys they were protecting did.
 

Sarastro

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Been there, done that, got the t-shirt, etc
Or
'I've seen the elephant'.
Me?
Chaps who HAD been there, when they told us what to expect, were listened to.
Going to go Morpheus on you: there is a difference between knowing the path, and walking the path. Often that difference matters.
 

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