- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 30, 2019

In a sign of the changing nature of modern warfare, the Air Force has officially set the eligibility criteria for a new medal for drone operators and other “remote” fighters.

Those who are eligible include Air Force members who “personally” provided hands-on deployment of a weapon system with direct impact on combat operations, officials said. Airmen eligible for the Remote Combat Effects Campaign Medal would not have been physically exposed to hostile actions, the Air Force said.

The “Remote Combat Effects Campaign Medal” was established in May by then-Secretary of the Air Force Heather Wilson. It’s part of a “continuing effort to recognize U.S. Air Force military members in a non-deployed status who directly participated in a Department of Defense combat operation from a remote location,” the Air Force said in a release announcing the decoration.

“Our remote operations community makes vital contributions to our national security and the security of our allies,” Gen. David L. Goldfein, the Air Force Chief of Staff, said in a statement. “These airmen play a crucial role in every campaign we undertake and this medal is for them.”

Airmen can be awarded the medal for actions after Sept. 11, 2001. Anyone who has previously received a campaign medal or decoration for the same time period isn’t eligible for the Remote Combat Effects Campaign Medal.

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