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Author Topic: Service Awards Revisited  (Read 8333 times)
AE7VA
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Posts: 35




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« on: October 08, 2013, 05:53:59 PM »

Since my last post was hijacked by someone with a beef with local hams who are unrelated to my original post, I've opted to post my question again in a new, clean post.

As the AF State MARS Director for AZ, I believe it is my duty to look out for and recognize those who do a good job.  I'm also a member of the Coast Guard Auxiliary (CGAux).  In the CGAux, they have their own awards/medals, but are also eligible to receive active duty awards/medals from local active duty commanders.  Not all active duty awards, but some under certain conditions.  That is covered under U.S. Coast Guard policy and is something the CG chose to do.  Based on my experience with the CGAux, I'm curious to know what might be possible in the MARS arena.  I don't know what CAP does.

I'm not as familiar with other branches for awards, and especially not familiar with Army or Navy MARS, I'm asking the question if AF MARS and the other MARS services if they have an awards program?  Let me make this point clear again, I'm asking if there are existing or past DoD or service branch specific instructions/regulations/programs that authorize MARS members to be eligible for active duty awards and occupational specialty badges or similar; if a civilian DoD or service specific awards program is applicable; or if MARS has or once had its own program.  I'm not advocating wearing or presenting anything that isn't authorized by instruction or regulation.  While other non-related hams may be misrepresenting themselves, I'm instead asking if appropriate policy exists first; similar to CGAux.  Asking the question is the first part of my research phase and I don't know exactly where to start looking.  I've been told that there is a DoD Civilian awards program; but I'm not at all familiar with it.  Maybe some of you know which regulations to read and where to find them at or specific people to talk to?

I have members with over 40+ years of MARS service; who operated Goldwater's station during Vietnam here in Arizona.  I have a member who is 91 yrs old who puts in the second highest number of hours each month.  I'm looking for a way to recognize their volunteer service to the nation and the troops.

I intend on suggesting a MARS specific lapel pin for years of service and a lapel pin for meritorious service.  Those are the two categories I'm looking at for awards.  I'd just like to know what else out there might be available under regulation/instruction.  Because, if I find a regulation/instruction that advises a MARS member is eligible to receive a certain award, I will make sure they receive it if they meet the criteria to receive the award as per the instruction/regulation. 

Receiving an award that is authorized by regulation or instruction is not being a whacker.  Whackers are people that would deny someone an award because they personally don't like the regulation or instruction.
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W6EM
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« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2013, 06:45:16 PM »

Paul:  As a suggestion, you might route your question(s) up your chain of command to the AF MARS Director at Scott AFB, IL.

As I think I said in your other thread, I was an Army MARS member for about 20 years, and to my knowledge, no such awards existed through my resignation in the early 2000's.  I was also an AF MARS member for a couple of years in the mid-60's, and no such awards then.  However, there were hosted MARS meetings and get togethers, at which surplus gear was given as door prizes.  And, the old AF program of the 1960's had a points-based surplus electronics gear issue program.  Points were awarded based on participation and message traffic handling.

My earlier suggestion of creating a service award in memory of Barry Goldwater is the least that should be done to recognize his service and that of others to those on active duty away from home.

It makes my skin crawl when I heard this evening that those who died this week in service to this nation are being denied funeral benefits thanks to a group of idiots trying to extort concessions on Capitol Hill.  Really sick.
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W1MSG
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« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2013, 04:24:47 PM »

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Department_of_Defense_Medal_for_Distinguished_Public_Service

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secretary_of_Defense_Medal_for_Outstanding_Public_Service

These are probably the only awards that a MARS Operator would qualify for. Even though MARS ops are allowed to use some facilities off post they are not classified as DOD Employee's and are ineligible for any of the Civilian awards.

This is a very good sight for award information. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Awards_and_decorations_of_the_United_States_government

Look at the eligibility for each award, that will sum up what is available.

Google is your friend !
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W6EM
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« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2013, 05:48:42 PM »

Craig:  Those look great, but Wiki said that those awards have been to those working in close proximity to the Secretary.  My problem with Paul's request is, there really have been only a few tasks MARS has undertaken worthy of recognition in recent years.

Sure, running phone patches for in-flight crews that are overseas would be one (not just while flying stateside or patching into DSN).  Handling an aircraft emergency situation, as was noted, certainly deserves recognition.  As did the patches and traffic into and out of Haiti after the earthquake there.

I remember one in which a civilian Army MARS member took his HF transceiver to help train a unit that was about to be deployed to Central America on use of HF radio equipment.  Civilians training or assisting with training ought to be worthy of some form of recognition.

SHARES nets are run by MARS members.  Since they are a critical component of our National Communication System, lengthy performance in that regard is certainly noteworthy.

I really can't think of anything else that present day MARS does that would be worthy of any awards.  Running an intercom service for TSA, or making a radio "bridge" from Southeast Asia to stateside on one occasion are really no big deal.


73,

Lee
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W1MSG
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« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2013, 06:50:30 PM »

I hear what your saying Lee. I looked at a lot of the awards, the majority of the awards listed for civilians are for actual Federal Employees. The only MARS that has a full time paid non Military Staff is the Army, I think there are 2 positions and both are actual GS level employees. If someone were to come up with a MARS award program I wouldn't even have a clue as to how it would get Authorized. I was unaware of the AF Phone patch thing, the last couple of AF flights I took overseas they were using Satellite communications. I even had a load master let me call home while enroute from Balad to Mosul after my mid tour leave, that was pretty cool.

Anyway, the quest for awards will be no lesser an endeavor than the Quest for the Holy Grail..

73,    Craig
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W6EM
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« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2013, 07:06:10 PM »

... The only MARS that has a full time paid non Military Staff is the Army, I think there are 2 positions and both are actual GS level employees. ....

They used to be contractors over at Huachuca.  The Akima Corporation, as I recall.  The Chief is civil service, or used to be.  I'm remembering something about them doing publicity, but I could be wrong.
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W1MSG
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« Reply #6 on: October 10, 2013, 03:42:18 AM »

... The only MARS that has a full time paid non Military Staff is the Army, I think there are 2 positions and both are actual GS level employees. ....

They used to be contractors over at Huachuca.  The Akima Corporation, as I recall.  The Chief is civil service, or used to be.  I'm remembering something about them doing publicity, but I could be wrong.

With in the last couple of years they had a Job posting for the FT Huachuca position, I want to say it was a GS-7 position. There was an admin clerk as well, GS-3 or GS-4 but don't quote me on the actual grade.

Craig
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AE7VA
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Posts: 35




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« Reply #7 on: October 10, 2013, 09:53:26 AM »

Thanks guys.  I appreciate the good discussion.  Lee you are on target with the higher level acts of service versus lower level day to day acts and the levels of awards they would deserve.

I think MARS should develop some low level volunteer recognition;  such as, meeting a time increment milestone...say 500 or 750 hours of service or more. Something simple like a lapel pin and have Vanguard Mil produce them as they produce insignia for other auxiliaries.  My chain of command suggested I just print a certificate at home....that's not what I would call an award worth any value and there is no standardization. However I do hope to push the issue to the new Chief.....right along with fingerprint-based  background checks to become members...no telling what unsavory people may be amoungst us and give a black eye to our parent service.  As an SMD i hate rubber stamping new applications because i have no means to verify someone.  The other auxiliaries do it and we should also......but this is a whole other discussion.
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