Catherine Spearnak 3:30 p.m., March 6
General Atomics Predator drone receives first-ever "drone medal"
Retired drone is honored for 2005 strike against Al-Qaeda operative Haitham al-Yemeni
STARING BRAVELY AHEAD INTO A FUTURE THAT WILL ABSOLUTELY HOPEFULLY NOT INCLUDE ROGUE DRONES RAINING DEATH FROM ABOVE ON U.S. CITIZENS - Secretary of Defense Charles "Chuck" Hagel today presented the United States military's first Distinguished Warfare Medal to "Palindrone," the locally built General Atomics MQ-1 Predator Drone responsible for the death of senior Al-Qaeda official Haitham al-Yemeni. Named for then-governor Sarah Palin, Palindrone took out the terrorist operative from a height of 45,000 feet while flying over Pakistan in May of 2005.
The Distinguished Warfare Medal has become known as the "drone medal" because it can be awarded to drones for "heroic service deemed too dangerous, too laborious, or simply too time-consuming for actual human American soldiers." It currently ranks above both the Bronze Star and the Purple Heart, a fact which has more than a few soldiers and politicians up in arms.
"It's outrageous," said Representative Duncan Hunter via text from his backyard bomb shelter. "The very idea that some robot plane is more deserving of honor than our brave men and women in the service." Rep. Hunter continued by texting, "I fully intend to use my position as" before mysteriously falling silent. Repeated attempts to renew contact have proven unsuccessful.
During the ceremony, Secretary Hagel praised Palindrone's deadly accuracy and "machine-like efficiency" in carrying out the strike, and took time to note that while subsequent missions did involve "unintended civilian casualties," these casualties were the result of bad intelligence, or "human error."
"In every instance," continued Hagel, "Palindrone performed to perfection, unlike his human support team. It is therefore my very great honor to award this medal in recognition of his excellent service and unassailable character." Hagel then backed away slowly from the aircraft, smiling and nodding.
More like this:
- We don't call them drones anymore — Feb. 5, 2014
- Drones are humanitarian, misnamed, says General Atomics — Dec. 19, 2013
- General Atomics' DC office added to anti-drone protest targets — Nov. 15, 2013
- There goes the neighborhood — March 21, 2013
- Rust in Peace — May 28, 2012