There are a couple of different philosophies on giving awards in the Navy. My initial attempt to write this post ended up much longer than you would want to read today, so let's take it one piece at a time. In this post, I am going to focus on command level awards, and more specifically command NAMs (Navy Achievement Medals).
On one side of the fence, there are those who believe NAMs should be given out liberally to everyone who has done a good job. Why?
- They're free and don't cost the command anything. The CO of a ship or submarine can award as many command NAMs as he or she pleases.
- They're visible. It's something the sailor can actually wear on his or her uniform with pride.
- They provide enlisted sailors with points toward their advancement, so it has a tangible benefit to your crew members in that it helps them get promoted.
- They're easier to get routed and approved in a timely manner than a flag officer letter of commendation.
On the other side of the fence, there are those who believe in a more conservative approach to awarding command NAMs and advocate a limited quota or ground rules for who is able to earn a NAM. Why?
- As more NAMs are given, it may diminish the perceived value of the award. (The phrase "dime a dozen" comes to mind.)
- Some people take offense when as an E-7 they receive a NAM as an end-of-tour award (for leading an entire division of sailors) while the most junior sailor on board receives the same NAM.
There are a few other arguments and rebuttals swirling around in my head on this, but before I write any more on the topic, I want to ask for your opinions.
What do you think?
Does everyone who's done a "good job" on their tour deserve a NAM? Does giving out more NAMs diminish the perceived value of the award? Should commanding officers give out NAMs to anyone the feel is deserving, or should they impose some sort of % quota or ground rules to limit their distribution and make those who receive them feel more special?
Please take a moment to click one of the answers in the poll on the right, or leave a comment if you think there should be another choice on the poll answers.