A Green Beret credited by his command with taking down several enemy and saving hundreds of lives during an ambush in Afghanistan was doing the job expected of a soldier of his caliber — and therefore his actions didn’t meet the standard of the Medal of Honor.
This sure-to-be controversial conclusion was drawn by a member of the Senior Army Decorations Board tasked with considering Sgt. 1st Class Earl Plumlee’s nomination for the top valor award, according to a newly released Defense Department Inspector General report.
The board member, whose name is redacted, said the bar for obtaining the MoH should be much higher for a senior NCO like Plumlee “versus a private.”
“One’s a leader. One’s a Soldier,” the member said, according to the investigation.
And so when I looked at the circumstances and, although the battle was ferocious and unfortunately a couple members were killed, I just thought that it wasn’t a sufficient level for the Medal of Honor based off the individual and the circumstance and that, I just felt that there was an expectation of a leader who did a phenomenal job, that there was something more that [the nominee] needed to have done in order to, in my mind, to make the recommendation for a Medal of Honor.
This logic is “absolutely insane,” said Joe Kasper, the chief of staff of Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., the Congressman who has lobbied for reconsideration for Plumlee to earn the MoH.
“It was another case where Army leadership was trying to be overly-cautious, and in doing so became pessimistic and prejudicial against Plumlee, personally,” Kasper told Army Times. “This underscores the fact that the Army needs to re-examine this.”
The three-member board ultimately recommended Plumlee receive a Silver Star for his heroism in the 2013 battle on Forward Operating Base Ghazni.
The IG report noted two other reasons the board recommended Plumlee’s award downgrade:
• There were conflicting reports of what happened
• Plumlee wasn’t the only hero that day.
Read More: Army Times
Featured Image – Sergeant First(Photo: Spc. Codie Mendenhall/Army)