How Six or Eight High Ranking Officers Got Their CIB'S
©1998 Sarge LintecumLet me say, to begin with that many officers did earn their CIBs honorably, but to this day I am getting reports from Iraq of officers who lie and even put their troops in harms way to get their CIB. After all these years there is not so much as a review process for officers recieving the CIB.
It was one of those rare times when we were out in the boonies, but we felt relaxed and safe from Charlie's attack because we hadn't had any action in several days. Then the word came down to set up a perimeter, (in the middle of the day), which we all took as a clue that no one would get zapped (killed) that day. That of course put us all in a party mood.
We heard a chopper in the distance and that could only be a good thing since we had no wounded to be medivaced out -- we thought it must be supplies. The chopper landed in the center of our perimeter and as soon as I could open my eyes in the dust it kicked up, I saw six or eight officers getting out of the chopper. They, too, seemed in a feastive mood.
They were all high in rank, Majors and Colonels, and I had never seen that many high ranking officers in the boonies. They stood in a group, talking among themselves, which was in itself a breach of security, (one grenade or mortar shell could have taken them all out), but they didn't seem concerned. Then someone on our perimeter opened up on full auto. That, of course, inspired several others around the perimeter to open fire as well. The officers, displaying a level of bravery that I had never witnessed in combat, didn't even hit the ground! Not one dusty uniform in the group! Instead, they casually reboarded the chopper and flew away. Within minutes, the word spread around the perimeter that those officers had just "earned" their Combat Infantry Badges.
Since that time, I have paid special attention to the uniforms of high ranking Army officers, and amazingly enough, most of them wear a CIB. That is rather strange, because having spent eleven months in the jungle, minus hospital time, I know that most of those CIB's that high ranking officers wear stand for "Coward's Infantry Badge", not "Combat Infantry Badge." Of course many officers served honorably with us in the jungle, but their rank was either lieutenant or captain, never above those ranks.
I think that every CIB that was awarded to anyone who was above the rank of captain when they earned it, should be investigated. Our military records make it very clear if we were in combat or not, and just like the occasional political campaign contributor who somehow makes it into Arlington Cemetery, these shameful officers will stick out like a sore thumb with a review of their military records. The problem is that the very high ranking officers who should order these investigations will sit behind their mahogany desks, look down at their chest, reach up and polish the CIB on their uniform with their sleeve, and then somehow see no reason for such an investigation. Sarge Lintecum