Panetta: Proper Recognition for Heroes

The Air Force is examining the cases of past recipients of medals for valor to ensure that these airmen have received proper recognition or qualify for a higher decoration, said Defense Secretary Leon Panetta. “We’ve done this with other services. We’ve looked at going back and making sure that we’ve properly honored those in the past,” Panetta told airmen at Barksdale AFB. La., during a townhall meeting. He continued, “We’re doing the same thing with regards to the Air Force. So there is an effort to review all of [the past medal recipients] to make sure that we have properly honored them in the most effective way.” Panetta was responding to the question what DOD was doing to determine if any Air Force Cross recipients would qualify for the Medal of Honor. He also noted that the Air Force is working “to develop a proper” award that recognizes the service of remotely piloted aircraft operators, “who are flying some very effective missions going after the enemy.” He said: “I think that’s a good thing to do.” Panetta visited Barksdale on Feb. 17 to tour the base, the seat of Air Force Global Strike Command. (Panetta transcript)