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McCaskill Joins Lawmakers Opposing Drone Medal Ranking

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(ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

(ROBERTO SCHMIDT/AFP/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (KMOX) – U.S. Senator Claire McCaskill wants to ensure that combat medals like the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart rank ahead of a new medal honoring service away from the front lines.

The U.S. Defense Department recently announced that the Distinguished Warfare Medal will recognize extraordinary achievement by unmanned aerial vehicle pilots and cyber warriors.

The Department of Defense plans to rank the medal below the Distinguished Flying Cross, but above the Bronze Star and Purple Heart two medals earned only through service on the battlefield.

McCaskill recently joined 10 other democrat and four republican Senators in urging Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to reconsider the Defense Department’s decision. The bill is also supported by the American Legion, the Military Order of the Purple Heart, and the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW).

Sen. Carl Levin (D), Senate Armed Services Committee’s chairman, and Sen. Jim Inhofe, the committee’s top Republican, asked Secretary Hagel to reflect on his combat experience in Vietnam. In a letter, they said they were concerned about the message the medal’s ranking sends to those who served in harm’s way.

The new medal is a sign of the changing nature of war and would honor drone pilots and others who use their technological skills to gather intelligence and kill enemy fighters.

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(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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