Official Recognition from the U.S. Army and Bosnian Government For U.S. Bosnia Veterans
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The forgotten Peacekeepers of the Balkans:
Long before and after September 11th, they were over there. They walked and demined the minefields of Bosnia. They kept fighting factions apart. They neutralized the war-fighting capabilities of warring tribes. They dug up the bodies of tragic victims of the war. They stopped genocide in its tracks. They supported the new civil infrastructure. They helped build new roads, bridges and hospitals. They pursued war criminals.
And what is their reward? U.S. Bosnia Peacekeepers are the only soldiers in American History to have a medal with an ugly, negative word on it: The 'Nato Non-Article V' Service medal - a disgusting slap in the face.
We have no medal from the Bosnian Government (Nema na čemu. Your gratitude is underwhelming - oh yeah, you could have done it all on your own without our help as so many of you told me so many times.
Note: so any genocide after 1996? No? Why was that? Could it have been Uncle Sam's green machine?).
We have no Campaign medal from the U.S (Even Kosovo got a Campaign Medal).
We have no Combat Patch (Even though American service-people in Bahrain, Qatar, Dubai and yes Djibouti?!?! got one for the War on Terror). Note: (I have a 1st Cavalry Division combat patch from Iraq, this about my fellow Bosnia Vets before they are all out of the system.)
So walking the minefields, digging up the bodies of Srebrenica, endless daily confrontations, nation-building and civil support earned us nothing. Nice. This must change.
I wish you could have seen us. Our mission was perfectly executed. We were well-disciplined and represented America well.
We never disgraced our country.
We never embarrassed ourselves on CNN.
We always followed the rules. I'm sorry that some people didn't like our mission.
Some people didn't like the missions in Vietnam and Iraq either. Did we choose that? Was that our fault? And we get insulted and degraded for it.
Sorry that we got upstaged by Osama bin Laden.
Every time I contact a Senator's or Congressman's office, (from either party) I get the same disrespectful, dismissive response. First I have to fill out some kind of idiotic waiver - (I will not ever do that ever again - I am a constituent, not a customer).
"Well, sorry, E.I., but DOD says that the reg. says you don't get any recognition." I already know the reg. The hell with the AR 670-1. Stop sending it to me. It's an abomination.
Like the regs on:
gays in the military
trans in the military
women in combat
religious gear in the military
Korea service, (Not during the war or in combat mind you), - got a Korea Service Medal, while Bosnia gets nothing.
The reg. is written in stone? We can't change it? More power to those who got the regulations changed on behalf of their constituency, I guess their lobbies were better than ours.
Someone needs the guts enough to stand up to DOD and call B.S. on this immoral policy.
Not since Vietnam has any group of Veterans ever been so forgotten or so disrespected. Vietnam Veterans were mistreated Korea Veterans were the forgotten war But, Bosnia Veterans don't even exist
We want the Campaign Medal
We want recognition from the Bosnian government and
Yes, above all We want the patch (If Bahrain, Qatar, Dubai, Djibouti and Kuwait service earned it, then so did we.)
Who is on our side? Or will Balkan vets continue to be invisible?
I am a Veteran of Iraq (4th BCT, 1st Cavalry Division) and
Bosnia (35th Infantry Division - known for Kelly's Heroes and Harry S. Truman).
I am Retired from 30 years of Service with the Army, Army Reserves and National Guard.
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