---- — While reading the newspaper on March 19, I came across a letter to the editor about drone pilots being eligible for medals of a higher level than that of combat-based medals such as the Purple Heart and the Bronze Star.
Drone pilots remotely fly crafts over in the Middle East to take out threats. I respect what drone pilots do for our country, but they should not be awarded a medal with a higher level than that of a Purple Heart or a Bronze Star. People who operate drones are safe in their offices here in the United States or elsewhere, while hundreds of soldiers are out in the Middle East face to face with the enemy being shot at in combat.
All of these brave men and women do not get to go home to their families every night as drone operators do. They are away from family for months on end and get leave for just a short period of time. Many soldiers have sacrificed seeing their first child being born, being there for the passing of a loved one, or even the ultimate sacrifice of their own lives. I am eternally grateful for what these men and women do for us every day.
Soldiers and drone pilots both do important work to keep our country safe, but the field soldiers face real danger each mission. The least we could do for these soldiers is to give them a high prestige medal showing their courage. Drone pilots may also receive a medal, but the level of the medal should not exceed those of the ones received by soldiers.
I hope Sen. Toomey and the veteran groups both continue their hard work to correct this issue. I would appreciate the medals being properly ordered, and I am sure our brave soldiers and veterans would, too.
Leah Musser, Selinsgrove High School