This poem/post will probably be a little more controversial than most Blackout poetry posts. That’s because it involves Combat Action Badges, and the current debate regarding them, and when/how/if/under what circumstances they should be awarded. My position on this is somewhat unique, though I know I’m not alone…
This article originally appeared in the Army Times and was over whether or not Combat Action Badge’s (CAB’s) should be retroactively awarded to soldiers.
Here’s my take: Back when I was in the army, and serving in Iraq, I was awarded a CAB while serving in Mosul, Iraq. Now, at the time, CAB’s were a huge thing. Everyone wanted one. Some people wanted CAB’s so bad that they were even willing to lie to get them and “pretend,” as though they had been in a direct combat situation. It was a sad, sickening, spectacle. Several of my commanders lied about being in combat (and then backed up one another’s stories) just so they could get the coveted “Combat Action Badge.” This, ultimately, led myself and several fellow soldiers to come up with the saying “Never trust a soldier with a chest full of metal, unless the metal is shrapnel.” Lying was so prevalent that towards the end, the CAB, and several other awards, meant nothing to us.
People were trying so hard to get CAB’s that they were petitioning the Army, even back then, to change the regulations. Some soldiers wanted CAB’s for being around unexploded ordnance (I kid you not) others wanted unit-wide CAB’s since some of us had been in combat (that is actually too ridiculous for me to be able to explain in a blog post). And the coup de grace of all this is that at the end of my deployment, several fellow soldiers wanted me to lie about the events of an attack so that another soldier could be awarded a CAB. I refused, and the soldiers got upset with me, as though I was the asshole.
Anyway, if you can’t tell by now, I have no respect for soldiers, or anyone else, who feels the need to bitch, complain, and whine that they don’t have enough awards to pin on their chests.
We don’t fight wars for awards. Act like it!
The Combat Action Badge
Was made to
They want to be recognized
To read more about the military experience and CAB’s check out the following book: