Carter to Reconsider OIR Campaign Medal Criteria

Defense Secretary Ash Carter awarded the first five Operation Inherent Resolve medals to troops serving in Iraq on Monday. The first recipients of the medal included one airman, one marine, one sailor, and two soldiers, according to Carter’s Facebook page. Additional information was not available before press time. During a visit to Al-Dahfra AB, UAE, on Saturday, Carter said the department needs to reconsider the criteria for the new Operation Inherent Resolve medal to include those supporting the mission from outsided of Iraq and Syria. Al-Dahfra is a large Air Force installation with thousands of troops deployed in support of OIR, though many are not qualified for the medal based on existing criteria, which states troops must have served inside Iraq, Syria, or within contiguous airspace or waters, extending out to 12 nautical miles. The criteria means pilots who fly missions into Iraqi or Syrian airspace qualify, but maintainers and other airmen outside of the country who worked on the aircraft or supported the mission will not qualify for the medal. “You guys are fighting the war too, as far as I’m concerned,” said Carter on April 16 when asked about the medal by a major serving on the base. “I definitely really need to give some thought to that.”