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Army awards Bronze Star for DBA work!

I recently received a resume from a fellow who received the Bronze Star for his work as a database administrator.  The Bronze Star is normally reserved for For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action, and I was surprised to see that his was for creating a tracking database:

"Awarded the "Bronze Star" medal for developing and training personnel on an Asset Tracking database during the Desert Shield/Storm Gulf War.

As it pertains to my Bronze Star I was tremendously blessed to have received such a prestigious award. Without question I was awarded this distinguished medal for performing exceptionally over the duration of the campaign. I was serving at the highest level with tremendous amount of responsibility with the brightest minds and brass. I supervised some of the most talented personnel in the country "

Meritorious achievement in database management

The Bronze Star is a very prestigious medal, normally awarded for acts of courage that don't quite merit the Silver Star.  Here is the criteria to get the Bronze Star

The Bronze Star Medal is awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity in or with the Army of the United States after 6 December 1941, distinguished himself or herself by heroic or meritorious achievement or service, not involving participation in aerial flight, in connection with military operations against an armed enemy; or while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.

Awards may be made for acts of heroism, performed under circumstances described above, which are of lesser degree than required for the award of the Silver Star.

It's so remarkable for a database professional to get an award normally reserved for acts of courage, that I thought I'd ask some colleges who graduated from West Point:

Steve Callan (West Point, class of 1981) notes that "If he is the guy who fixed that problem, a bronze star wouldn't be a far stretch as the equipment shortages had real meaning and impact on people.":

"I worked a couple of years as a Bn and Bde S-1 (similar to being a personnel officer), and I was quite familiar with the Army's awards manual and process (both the formal and informal parts of it). Formal = doing the paperwork, using the right words, informal = certain ranks/people get certain awards. For example, a company commander with a successful command would get an MSM when leaving the duty station. A lieutenant would get an Army commendation medal (ARCOM). A good NCO would get an ARCOM, a first sergeant or SGM an MSM. Troopies generally got an achievement medal, if someone was really sharp, an ARCOM.

In a normal tour of duty, doing what this person did, based on the recipient being an E-8 or E-9 (maybe E-7, stretching it), at most, it would have been an MSM (meritorious service medal). Meritorious service while serving in a combat zone/receiving hostile pay qualifies for a bronze star.

This person was probably working at a very high headquarters level element (theater staff like CENTCOM or MFN) and had a lot of interaction with one or more general officers. One of those GO's really liked this guy and "encouraged" his chain of command (starting with the company commander, who more than likely was the original submitter) to submit this guy for a bronze star. It is signed/approved by the Secretary of the Army.

I know there has been some award inflation in both rounds of the Gulf War. I would venture to say that few company commanders in combat arms units, driving down roads with IEDs all over the place, over a period of a year as opposed to 6 weeks, taking fire from the bad guys as opposed to hearing from irate rear echelon staff workers, get a bronze star.

It's all relative and many times, it is who you know. So, yeah, he could have one. He probably did a bang up job, but it wasn't under sniper fire, that's for sure. 10 years of service, maybe an E-7, probably an E-6, and just as likely an E-5 (promotion rates for support occupational specialties tends to be a good bit slower than for combat arms). I would say good for him that he got it, but it was way overinflated in comparison. A battalion commander of an Apache unit (in the brigade where I was the S-1 and processed the award) who deployed his unit on short notice and returned everyone safe and sound got a bronze star.

Asset tracker database? One of the biggest logistical problems in the first war was loss of equipment. Oh, it was in theater, but no one knew where it was. It was so bad that a daily "red ball" flight was started for high priority shortages, even though the equipment was already there. It was like FedEx for the Army, delivered to your door, that is how bad it was. If he is the guy who fixed that problem, a bronze star wouldn't be a far stretch as the equipment shortages had real meaning and impact on people."


Bronze Star Medal

a. The Bronze Star Medal was established by Executive Order 9419, 4 February 1944 (superseded by Executive Order 11046, 24 August 1962).

b. The Bronze Star Medal is awarded to any person who, while serving in any capacity in or with the Army of the United States after 6 December 1941, distinguished himself or herself by heroic or meritorious achievement or service, not involving participation in aerial flight, in connection with military operations against an armed enemy; or while engaged in military operations involving conflict with an opposing armed force in which the United States is not a belligerent party.

c. Awards may be made for acts of heroism, performed under circumstances described above, which are of lesser degree than required for the award of the Silver Star.

d. The Bronze Star Medal may be awarded for meritorious achievement or meritorious service according to the following:

(1) Awards may be made to recognize single acts of merit or meritorious service. The lesser degree than that required for the award of the Legion of Merit must nevertheless have been meritorious and accomplished with distinction.

(2) Award may be made by letter application to Commander, ARPERCEN, ATTN: DARP-VSE-A, 9700 Page Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63132-5200 (enclosing documentary evidence, if possible), to each member of the Armed Forces of the United States who after 6 December 1941, has been cited in orders or awarded a certificate for exemplary conduct in ground combat against an armed enemy between 7 December 1941 and 2 September 1945, inclusive, or whose meritorious achievement has been other wise confirmed by documents executed prior to 1 July 1947. For this purpose, an award of the Combat Infantryman Badge or Combat Medical Badge is considered as a citation in orders. Documents executed since 4 August 1944 in connection with recommendations for the award of decorations of higher degree than the Bronze Star Medal will not be used as the basis for an award under this paragraph.

(3) Upon letter application, award of the Bronze Star Medal may be made to eligible soldiers who participated in the Philippine Islands Campaign between 7 December 1941 to 10 May 1942. Performance of duty must have been on the island of Luzon or the Harbor Defenses in Corregidor and Bataan. Only soldiers who were awarded the Distinguished Unit Citation (Presidential Unit Citation) may be awarded this decoration. Letter application should be sent to the Commander, ARPERCEN, ATTN: DARP-VSE-A, 9700 Page Boulevard, St. Louis, MO 63132-5200.



 

 
 
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