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Pentagon reverses gender-neutral pronoun requirement in military awards

The Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia. (Dreamstime/TNS)
September 25, 2023

The Pentagon made alterations to its gender pronoun guidelines for award citations last week after the military generated controversy over its guidelines that would have required military awardees to be called “themselves” for joint award citations.

The Pentagon has explained that it will add a “clarifying comment” to the Manual of Military Decorations and Awards to allow gendered pronouns to be used for joint military award citations.

A Department of Defense official told The Daily Caller, “The change in the DoD Manual was not intended to restrict the use of the citation pronouns. However, in order to avoid confusion in the future, we are adding a clarifying comment that ‘themselves’ can be replaced with ‘himself’ or ‘herself’ as appropriate.”

The Pentagon’s decision follows an earlier change to the Manual of Military Decorations and Awards that mandated the use of “gender-neutral” pronouns for several joint military accolades. The change, labeled as “Change 6,” clarified the language for Joint award citations and implemented updated references.

The Department of Defense in August mandated award citations to adopt the word “themself,” which is not recognized in the standard English language, over traditional pronouns such as “himself” or “herself.”

READ MORE: New Pentagon Rule: Must use gender-neutral pronouns in military awards; Sen. Cotton demands explanation

The Pentagon’s gender-neutral pronoun requirement was first highlighted by the Heritage Foundation when the foundation revealed that Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley’s end-of-tour award was returned due to the use of gender-specific pronouns in his citation.

The awards impacted under the Pentagon’s gender-neutral directive included the Defense Superior Service Medal, Defense Distinguished Service Medal, Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Joint Service Achievement Medal, Joint Service Commendation Medal and the Joint Meritorious Unit Award.

However, the Pentagon’s alteration was not received well, especially by GOP lawmakers. In a letter to the Pentagon, Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) voiced his disbelief over the change, writing that he “would welcome a reply that this whole episode was just a practical joke or a decision you immediately reversed when it came to your attention.”

Sen. Cotton, a member of the Senate Committee on Armed Services, told Fox News that the Pentagon’s directive to only use non-gendered pronouns for joint award citations “was no mistake.”

“The administration has been trying to woke-ify the military since Joe Biden took office,” Cotton added. “They got caught this time and reversed course, but the Department of Defense should never have adopted this absurd left-wing terminology in the first place.”

This news article was partially created with the assistance of artificial intelligence and edited and fact-checked by a human editor.