No Free Fries With My Medal, Right?
February 16, 2012 1:21 PM   Subscribe

Can soldiers in US accept awards/rewards beyond those within the military structure, such as cash rewards and such, for actions pursuant to their military duties? (I'd be interested in other Anglophile or closely-allied nations, too.)

Once upon a time this was common. War heroes got all kinds of crazy toys, pensions and cash rewards in the 19th Century and on back. Does this sort of thing still fly today if offered? Are there express rules forbidding it? None of those SEALs who killed bin Laden received that bounty on him, right?

There's the old myth about the King of Saudi Arabia (or Kuwait) offering a cash reward of X dollars (the ludicrous sum varies) for every serviceman who served in the first Gulf War, but President Bush allegedly forbade it because US soldiers aren't mercenaries. Snopes doesn't seem to have an article proving it false, but it seems ridiculous to me.

Anyone know what the rules are like now?
posted by scaryblackdeath to Law & Government (7 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Short answer: No.

The rules are pretty restrictive these days. Essentially, anything beyond a meal is a no-no. Bigger gifts can be accepted on behalf of a unit or the like, but they're immediately turned over to the lawyers. If they have any intrinsic value (e.g. not a plaque or flag), they will be turned over to (I believe) the U.S. Treasury for appropriate disposition.
posted by Etrigan at 1:33 PM on February 16, 2012

While it's not exactly a "reward" and certainly not a bounty, members of the military and their families are eligible for a tremendous number of discounts and perks. Not sure if that's what you're getting at, though.
posted by charmcityblues at 2:33 PM on February 16, 2012

In most units they will tell you that anything under $X you can keep and anything over that is turned over to the unit. In my husbands unit X is $25. I don't know how much X generally varies by but I've never heard of it being over $30.
posted by julie_of_the_jungle at 4:16 PM on February 16, 2012

Also, that's for physical items, we occasionally have nice waitstaff that will comp our meals and that doesn't count.
posted by julie_of_the_jungle at 4:17 PM on February 16, 2012

The DoJ Departmental Ethics office, on ethics in government service,with some details on gifts. I've never heard of it specifically applying to the military, but we followed something extremely similar when I worked in a DoD procurement office.

I think it would be pretty neat to get a sword or somesuch from a grateful citizenry, but that's in the past now.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 7:52 PM on February 16, 2012

Do directorships count?
posted by pompomtom at 9:48 PM on February 16, 2012

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