Morale: Is It Combat Yet?


July 29, 2008: Roadside bombs (IEDs, or Improvised Explosive Devices) in Iraq and Afghanistan have finally gotten the attention of the generals who determine if these weapons count as "combat." With these bombs causing about half the combat injuries in Iraq, and a growing number in Afghanistan, the U.S. Army finally decided that these weapons were "direct combat." Previously, the bombs had been considered more like artillery or mortar fire, and not enough, by themselves, to qualify troops for the coveted CIB (Combat Infantry Badge, only infantry and Special Forces are eligible for this.) The change, now gives roadside bombs a lot more weight in determining if a soldier had earned it. In the past, "30 days of infantry combat" was the standard. But what if you have a lot of guys who spend a year getting blasted by roadside bombs, making dozens of night raids, and chasing bad guys in general, only to not get the CIB. The rules change will eliminate embarrassing and demoralizing situations like this.

Roadside bombs will also more easily qualify non-infantry troops for the CCB (Close Combat Badge). A number of other changes to the regulations made earning the CIB and CCB more fair and logical.


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