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Hypothetic question about US awards


Greg
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Hi Gentlemen,

I have just discovered this great site and have just spent 3 hours reading through various threads. Great fun!

I am writing a novel about an Australian Army Reservist who starts off in infantry but becomes a Chaplain and is asked to go to Gulf War I as a Chaplain. He was a competitor in pistol at the 1986 Commonweath Games and isn't a bad shot. Anyway, he is stationed on one of the RAN ships in the Gulf and on the 27th February, 1991 he attends a Chaplains' meeting on board the HMS London (British flagship). After the meeting he uses the onboard pistol range for some practice with his pistol.

He was returning in a ship's boat to HMAS Westralia when a terrorist inflatable boat attacked and heavily damaged an American warship (a la USS Cole in 2000) and the Chaplain orders the boat to progress directly to the USS * in order to render assistance. Two further terrorist boats appeared and were speeding to attack the damaged USS * and the HMS London. The Chaplain orders the boat to ram the nearest enemy boat capsizing it. He then told the sailors to take cover and armed only with his light target pistol, he stood in the open boat and opened fire on the second terrorist inflatable. In the honourable tradition of Chaplains in the Armed Forces, he did not aim at the terrorists themselves but aimed to puncture their boat and so prevent them from reaching their target. Under fire from the terrorists' automatic weapons, he calmly continued to fire at their boat until it deflated. (I actually tested this - as best I was able - 9 hits from a .17 cal target pistol is enough to deflate a loaded rubber ducky with an engine enough to cause it to capsize - felt a bit like the Mythbusters!!). The petty officer in charge of the boat reloaded the magazines seven times. The Chaplain then directed the boat to rescue the terrorists from the water and take them into custody.

He then proceeded to the American warship which had been heavily damaged by the first attack. On board the USS *, he assists wounded American Marines and Navy personnel onboard both with First Aid and as a Chaplain. It was then discovered that scattered amongst the wounded men on deck were small explosive devices spread by the initial explosion. Together with two American medics in the midst of several explosions, the Chaplain continues to assist the wounded regardless of his own safety and threw/kicked several explosive devices overboard which exploded moments later. Shrapnel from one of these explosions wounded his left knee (blowing his knee-cap off) but he continued to minister to the badly injured US personnel.

Now, this is the part I need some help with :

I expect that an officer doing this would receive suitable reward for his courage and devotion to duty. For the sake of the story, I have the Australian government court martialling him for being a Chaplain and firing at the enemy and therefore refusing him a medal. The UK wants to give him a VC (as he was nominally in charge of a RN unit - the ship's boat at the time).

The US Navy are very appreciative. The President gives the boat's crew the Navy & Marines Presidential Unit Citation. The US later award him the Navy Cross and make him an Officer of the Legion of Merit. (All these medals have been awarded to Australians before). On the spot, (ie. the next day) the US Admiral awards him the Purple Heart, Marine Commendation medal with V, Navy Good Conduct medal with V, USN Expert Pistol Shot medal. The Captain of the ship also gives him a plaque suitably engraved with a message of appreciation.

I can speak with knowledge and experience of the Australian Army Reserves and of being a Chaplain. But I don't know if the medals etc from the US sound plausible. In the story the Americans treat this as two separate actions - taking on the terrorists and then later (even if it is only 15 minutes later) assisting the wounded on board the US battleship. Therefore awarding the Navy Cross and the OLM are for two individual actions.

Okay - so what do you think? Do the Navy Cross and Officer of the Legion of Merit and Purple Heart sound suitable awards for this action? I have read many times about a senior officer (eg. Admiral) awarding Silver Stars or Marine Commendation medals and Purple Hearts "on the spot". Is this a reasonable plausible senario ?

I have the US Admiral giving him the USN Expert Pistol Shot medal as a bit of a joke so it doesn't matter if the situation doesn't meet the regulations for this medal.

Hoping for some constructive criticism here.

Many thanks,

Greg.

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Hi Gentlemen,

I have just discovered this great site and have just spent 3 hours reading through various threads. Great fun!

I am writing a novel about an Australian Army Reservist who starts off in infantry but becomes a Chaplain and is asked to go to Gulf War I as a Chaplain. He was a competitor in pistol at the 1986 Commonweath Games and isn't a bad shot. Anyway, he is stationed on one of the RAN ships in the Gulf and on the 27th February, 1991 he attends a Chaplains' meeting on board the HMS London (British flagship). After the meeting he uses the onboard pistol range for some practice with his pistol.

He was returning in a ship's boat to HMAS Westralia when a terrorist inflatable boat attacked and heavily damaged an American warship (a la USS Cole in 2000) and the Chaplain orders the boat to progress directly to the USS * in order to render assistance. Two further terrorist boats appeared and were speeding to attack the damaged USS * and the HMS London. The Chaplain orders the boat to ram the nearest enemy boat capsizing it. He then told the sailors to take cover and armed only with his light target pistol, he stood in the open boat and opened fire on the second terrorist inflatable. In the honourable tradition of Chaplains in the Armed Forces, he did not aim at the terrorists themselves but aimed to puncture their boat and so prevent them from reaching their target. Under fire from the terrorists' automatic weapons, he calmly continued to fire at their boat until it deflated. (I actually tested this - as best I was able - 9 hits from a .17 cal target pistol is enough to deflate a loaded rubber ducky with an engine enough to cause it to capsize - felt a bit like the Mythbusters!!). The petty officer in charge of the boat reloaded the magazines seven times. The Chaplain then directed the boat to rescue the terrorists from the water and take them into custody.

He then proceeded to the American warship which had been heavily damaged by the first attack. On board the USS *, he assists wounded American Marines and Navy personnel onboard both with First Aid and as a Chaplain. It was then discovered that scattered amongst the wounded men on deck were small explosive devices spread by the initial explosion. Together with two American medics in the midst of several explosions, the Chaplain continues to assist the wounded regardless of his own safety and threw/kicked several explosive devices overboard which exploded moments later. Shrapnel from one of these explosions wounded his left knee (blowing his knee-cap off) but he continued to minister to the badly injured US personnel.

Now, this is the part I need some help with :

I expect that an officer doing this would receive suitable reward for his courage and devotion to duty. For the sake of the story, I have the Australian government court martialling him for being a Chaplain and firing at the enemy and therefore refusing him a medal. The UK wants to give him a VC (as he was nominally in charge of a RN unit - the ship's boat at the time).

The US Navy are very appreciative. The President gives the boat's crew the Navy & Marines Presidential Unit Citation. The US later award him the Navy Cross and make him an Officer of the Legion of Merit. (All these medals have been awarded to Australians before). On the spot, (ie. the next day) the US Admiral awards him the Purple Heart, Marine Commendation medal with V, Navy Good Conduct medal with V, USN Expert Pistol Shot medal. The Captain of the ship also gives him a plaque suitably engraved with a message of appreciation.

I can speak with knowledge and experience of the Australian Army Reserves and of being a Chaplain. But I don't know if the medals etc from the US sound plausible. In the story the Americans treat this as two separate actions - taking on the terrorists and then later (even if it is only 15 minutes later) assisting the wounded on board the US battleship. Therefore awarding the Navy Cross and the OLM are for two individual actions.

Okay - so what do you think? Do the Navy Cross and Officer of the Legion of Merit and Purple Heart sound suitable awards for this action? I have read many times about a senior officer (eg. Admiral) awarding Silver Stars or Marine Commendation medals and Purple Hearts "on the spot". Is this a reasonable plausible senario ?

I have the US Admiral giving him the USN Expert Pistol Shot medal as a bit of a joke so it doesn't matter if the situation doesn't meet the regulations for this medal.

Hoping for some constructive criticism here.

Many thanks,

Greg.

The purple heart is for US Service members wounded as a result of direct enemy action. I dont see it being realistically awarded to foreign military members. I have never heard of unit citations being awarded to foreign military members either.

I do see the Chaplain getting a Silver Star and the boat crew getting Bronze Stars from the US Govt. The USN expert shot medal is a qualification and not a decoration. If the Admiral gave him one, it would be as a sort of "ironic gift" that would not be official.

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President gives the boat's crew the Navy & Marines Presidential Unit Citation

Unlikely . . . more for Battalion size units

The US later award him the Navy Cross and make him an Officer of the Legion of Merit.

Most likely the Silver Star, not enough to merit a NC

Marine Commendation medal with V, Navy Good Conduct medal with V, USN Expert Pistol Shot medal

There is no Marine Commendation Mdl, perhaps you mean the Navy Commendation

with V. . . which is possible

The Navy Good Conduct is for US personnel only, it is a service award, not awarded for gallantry. It doesn't have a V

The USN Expert Pistol Shot Mdl is a service award, not awarded for gallantry

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There is no Marine Commendation Mdl, perhaps you mean the Navy Commendation

with V. . . which is possible

David is correct.

Specific Service DECORATIONS (Achievement medals and higher) and unit awards are the same for both the Marines and the Navy(since the Marines are under the Department of the Navy). Now days, these shared decorations are prefixed with Navy/Marine Achievement medal. I guess that it makes the grunts happier when they wear it! LOL

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The purple heart is for US Service members wounded as a result of direct enemy action. I dont see it being realistically awarded to foreign military members. I have never heard of unit citations being awarded to foreign military members either.

Several Australian Air Force Squadrons and Naval ships have been awarded US Unit citations. Greg.

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Most likely the Silver Star, not enough to merit a NC

Just for clarification : Terrorists have already attacked and blown a hole in the side of a battleship which is now VERY vulnerable to attack. A second attack would sink it for sure. Armed only with a light target pistol, my hero virtually single handedly attacks two boat loads of terrorists firing at him with automatic weaons, rams and capsizes one and then shoots and sinks the second - saving the ship. He then goes on to assist wounded men in the middle of exploding bombs, is wounded but keeps on helping the them and moving them to safety.

I have researched over a hundred medald awards and it seems to me that some men have received VCs or Medals of Honor for less. I am surprised to read that this would not be enough merit for a Navy Cross.

This is why I wanted to pick your minds. The context of the action seems to have a lot to do with the award. I look forward to your comments.

Greg.

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Given the current phone up the Political Commissars before doing anything at all idiocy, carrying an unsecured target pistol in a small craft and being a "noncombatant" would very likely (really) result in criminal charges being filed, not accolades.

It's a crazy world.

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In my experience (US Army at least), multiple awards were not made for the same action.

The exception is if the recipient were wounded during the action in which case a Purple Heart along with an award for heroism would be made.

The Army also made a practice of bestowing ?impact? awards during Vietnam. These awards were made under the circumstances of exceptionally heroic actions deserving immediate recognition. The awarding authority could immediately bestow an interim award to assure that ?context? was not lost. Often the award was a Silver Star when a Medal of Honor or Distinguished Service Cross was contemplated. The processing time for these high awards was so long that the sense was that an interim award was appropriate. If the higher award was granted, the lower would then be rescinded.

We had a scout pilot who was involved in a very dramatic rescue when Loc Ninh was over run prior to my arrival in country. As I recall, he was ?impact awarded? a Silver Star and recommended for a Medal of Honor. After review, he was granted the Distinguished Service Cross in lieu of the Medal of Honor.

I can not testify if this was the practice in the Navy, Marine Corps, Coast Guard or Air Force.

I also do not know if this practice is still used today.

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The US Navy Good Conduct Medal has very clear-cut award criteria these days. 3 years active enlisted service = one medal. It would be very difficult (I should say "impossible") for any foreign national to get one without serving the required 3 calendar years of active enlisted service in the US Navy.

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The US Navy Good Conduct Medal has very clear-cut award criteria these days. 3 years active enlisted service = one medal. It would be very difficult (I should say "impossible") for any foreign national to get one without serving the required 3 calendar years of active enlisted service in the US Navy.

Someone will have to be a member of the particular branch of service to get their good conduct medal(in the US anyway). I can promise you that a foreigner or someone outside the particular branch of service would never be awarded one

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Very interesting thread.

You may also wish to start this thread over at the OMSA forum, as the DoD awards guy (a friend of Jeffs?) apparently signs on quite often is is a font of friendly information and knowledge.

Also, it gets read by journalists on occasion and nothing expedites a medal faster than publicity. :rolleyes:

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