Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., was among federal lawmakers who protested the Pentagons decision to rank a cyber-warfare medal above honors awarded to combat troops.
Obviously I thought that was inappropriate, and it was wrong, Donnelly said Wednesday. The people who have received the Purple Heart or the Bronze Star have been in combat, have put their lives on the line, and I did not think that putting the Distinguished Warfare Medal at a higher rank made any sense at all.
The Department of Defense announced Tuesday it is suspending the Distinguished Warfare Medal, given to operators of drones and other remotely controlled battleground technology and will review complaints from lawmakers and veterans groups. The Pentagon approved the medal a month ago when Leon Panetta was at the helm, and 22 senators objected in a letter sent Friday to new Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
We are very hopeful that a review will get this right, said Donnelly, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
In a media conference call devoted to military and veterans issues, Donnelly said he is very pleased to see that in Fort Wayne we were able to expand mental health care for our veterans in northern Indiana. The Department of Veterans Affairs and Parkview Health announced plans last week to build a Fort Wayne outpatient clinic for veterans who suffer mental health disorders.
Donnelly also urged Hoosiers to take part in the Veterans History Project, which is gathering multimedia oral histories from veterans for the Library of Congress.
He said that until he and his staff have set up regional offices, veterans should call his Indianapolis office at 317-226-5555 if they have needs, concerns or problems.