Air Force

April 26, 2012

Air Force officials clarify Bronze Star approval process

Amaani Lyle
Defense Media Activity

WASHINGTON (AFNS) — Recent heightened interest in the Bronze Star Medal has led Air Force Central Command and Air Force Personnel Center leaders to further explain the criteria and approval process for its recipients.

Col. Scott Arcuri, AFCENT director of manpower, personnel and services, said candidates can expect a consistent and rigorous review process for BSM, Meritorious Service Medal or higher award packages submitted from any service through the organizations’ channels.

Executive Order 11046 authorizes the secretary of the military department to grant the award for either heroic or meritorious achievement or service, not involving aerial flight, in connection with operations against any opposing armed force, or while serving with friendly forces engaged in an armed conflict.

While the BSM criteria do not necessarily prescribe direct combat engagement with opposing forces, the “V” for valor device distinguishes individuals who have been in engaged in conflict to a lesser degree than what might qualify them for a Silver Star.

“In processing high-level decorations, our primary focus at AFCENT is to determine the degree to which the individual’s accomplishments can be tied directly to ground combat operations for the unit in which they served,” Arcuri explained. “We’re committed to a consistent, deliberative process that recognizes deserving individuals and reflects that consistency long-term across the Air Force.”

Under the direction of AFCENT Commander Lt. Gen. David Goldfein, a bi-monthly board of independent military members comprised of senior officer and enlisted leaders, and a non-voting board president assesses each AFCENT candidates’ decoration packages, Arcuri explained.

The board assembles at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., and does not use quotas in its determinations, but the approval rate is typically between 50-60 percent, Arcuri noted, adding that nominators can even resubmit a downgraded or disapproved package within a year to include supporting information.

“This intensive process is so important that General Goldfein or his deputy commander personally addresses each board to ensure that only the worthiest individuals receive this recognition,” Arcuri said. “We bring in currently wing, group and vice commanders and command chief master sergeants from across the CENTCOM (area of responsibility) to carefully consider the merits of the individual.”

Board members receive clear and direct guidance to make decisions that represent the greater interest of the Air Force without regard to their particular wing or career field, Arcuri added.

As Airmen continue to support and embed with other branches and units in contingency operations, BSMs awarded from other services have become more frequent, Arcuri said.

The criteria, though generic, can be applied specifically to the mission and determination of each service’s chain of command, Arcuri explained, noting the Air Force’s shift to an administrative concur/non-concur role when another branch awards the decoration to an Airman.

“It is within the prerogative of any branch to award a BSM, and typically we have no reason to question that determination,” Arcuri said, adding that even in rare cases of Air Force non-concurrence, the granting service can override the recommendation.

Arcuri also acknowledged that decorations can critically impact accrued points under the Weighted Airman Promotion System, leaving some service members to question whether BSM recipients might have an unfair advantage over MSM recipients.

AFPC officials have confirmed the BSM to be on par with the MSM from a promotion point system perspective.

“The Air Force can award either the BSM or the MSM in theater, while the Army typically awards the BSM – but each is worth five points in the promotion system,” said Will Brown, Air Force Evaluations and Recognitions Branch chief at AFPC.

A finance Airman returning from an embedded tour with the Army is among 13,354 others who, since 9/11, have received the decoration, including 839 recipients recognized with valor for combat heroism, Brown added.

“The number of BSM recipients in no way diminishes the accomplishments of those individuals who have earned it; rather, allows commanders to recognize meritorious or heroic service which may have occurred in various capacities or missions within a particular unit or service,” Brown said.

Still, Arcuri maintains that AFCENT and other approving officials are less interested in comparing award criteria or approval statistics to other services, so much as maintaining the integrity of the decoration process and its original intent.

During World War II, the BSM evolved from the “Ground Medal” developed by a U.S. Army colonel to raise morale and distinguish the actions of ground troops from those in aerial combat. On Feb. 4, 1944, President Franklin D. Roosevelt authorized the Bronze Star Medal by Executive Order 9419, retroactive to Dec. 7, 1941.

“We want to ensure we apply the same criteria throughout the decades to recognize the achievements of our people in combat environments,” Arcuri said. “We’ve got a tremendous force of modern Airmen doing incredible work across the AOR and we encourage commanders to laud the exceptional service of these Airmen through multiple channels.”




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
12AF_pict

AFSOUTH medics arrive in Belize to facilitate obstetrics course

Three International Health Specialists and three non-governmental organization personnel supporting the 12th Air Force (Air Forces Southern) arrived in Belize to facilitate the Global Advanced Life Support in Obstetrics Instruc...
 
 

355th FSS invites D-M to join intramurals

The 355th Force Support Squadron would like to invite all Active Duty and Department of Defense personnel to join the intramural sports program. The intramural sports program is an organized sports competition designed to meet the needs of all personnel beginning at the lowest levels. Active duty personnel have priority in all programs as determined...
 
 

55th Electronic Combat Group

The 55th Electronic Combat Group provides combat-ready EC-130H Compass Call aircraft, crews, maintenance and operational support to combatant commanders. The group also plans and executes information operations, including information warfare and electronic attack, in support of theater campaign plans.
 

 

DUI in Arizona: You can’t afford it

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. –  Arizona has some of the toughest drunken driving laws in the United States. The average overall cost of a DUI in the state of Arizona is around $10,000. Crazy, right? Ten thousand dollars may seem hard to swallow at first, but first time offenders often find themselves paying considerable unforeseen...
 
 

Is being good, good enough?

LUKE AIR FORCE BASE, Ariz. – In today’s Air Force can you settle with just being good? I say, “No.” With the Air Force executing the deepest force cuts since the end of the cold war with programs such as the Quality Force Review Board and the Enlisted Retention Board, what you do and how well you...
 
 

‘Final Rule’ offers broader mental health care coverage

WASHINGTON – TRICARE military health plan beneficiaries will now have access to both TRICARE-certified mental health counselors and supervised mental health counselors, a Defense Health Agency official said here today. In an interview with DoD News, Dr. John Davison, DHA’s behavioral health branch chief, said the so-called “Final Rule,” published yesterday, will go into effect...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>


Directory powered by Business Directory Plugin