So, here we mostly wrap up the firefight in the cemetery. Sergeant Kajama uses a grenade launcher to good effect, and gets the Al-Qaeda in Iraq guys stunned to the point where they are taken prisoner. But not everyone that fought the Americans was a hard-core insurgent: some were just locals that needed a quick buck; Al-Qaeda might come to them and offer them money, and there might be an implicit sense of danger to one’s family if the offer isn’t accepted. Either way, it’s not like jobs were falling out of the sky for the locals.
Meanwhile, Lieutenant MacGregor will see if he can get his guys awarded the “Combat Action Badge”, which was an award created specifically as a result of soldiers being deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan. See, in the Army, the Infantry gets an award called the “Combat Infantry Badge”. It is given to all Infantrymen (and I guess in the near future, Infantrywomen) who serve in a combat zone. The problem was, it is only awarded to people who were in the Army specifically as “Infantry”. But a lot of non-Infantry personnel went into combat as well, for various reasons. Tankers, Artillery crews, sometimes even clerks or drivers found themselves fighting, but they got no recognition for risking life and limb.
So the “Combat Action Badge” was made up to award to any non-Infantry that came under direct enemy fire, and they fought back. Of course, debates ensured about the criteria for the award, and what constituted “direct enemy action” and so on, but in the end, people (such as Combat Engineers) can now be awarded the C.A.B. for engaging the enemy in combat. Unlike my earlier comment about risking one’s life for the privilege of wearing a colored ribbon, things like the C.A.B. and Combat Infantry Badge can help add points to a soldier’s promotion packet and can be considered career-enhancing. There’s also the whole “badge of honor” thing that many like.
So LT. MacGregor is trying to look out for his guys, but he wants to make sure they are in combat long enough to qualify and there are no questions about whether this was actually a sustained enemy action, or just a few random potshots in their direction…. which doesn’t qualify.