Can being overweight cost you campaign awards?
By Jeff Schogol
Published: August 10, 2010

Beware of ice cream, donuts and other calorie bombs that can cost you awards.
ASSOCIATED PRESSIf you spend most of your time on a big forward operating base, you might be tempted to frequent the chow hall more than the gym.

But before you get to know the guy at the ice cream bar on a first-name basis, The Rumor Doctor feels obliged to inform you of a recent rumor he heard that might affect you, your belly and any future decorations on your suddenly stretched uniform.

Is it true that soldiers who exceed height/weight standards are not eligible for awards, including campaign medals and ribbons?

One soldier in Iraq who spends about 12 hours every day at a desk with no time to work out during his shift, doesn’t like the sound of that.

“I am 6-1 and about 280 depending on the scale and actually am pretty healthy overall,” the soldier said in an e-mail to The Rumor Doctor. “I can work just as long and just as hard as many others in the Army. Sadly enough those that smoke five packs a day don’t have any restrictions placed on them yet I can outperform most of them in many areas.”

“I did my duty as a soldier and did it honorably,” he added. “Why does the Army say that I’m a horrible and worthless soldier because I’m overweight? Talk about a morale smasher.”

Now, The Rumor Doctor can sympathize with this soldier. After all, The Doctor has kept Dunkin’ Donuts in business during the Great Recession.

But The Doctor also understands that there reasons for Army regulations, and this soldier’s dilemma probably sounds ludicrous to troops who spend most of their time outside the wire or on remote combat outposts.

And an Army spokesman confirmed that soldiers must meet their prescribed size standards to earn their decorations.

“An essential function of day-to-day effectiveness and combat readiness of the Army requires all personnel to be healthy and physically fit,” Army spokesman Hank Minitrez said in an e-mail. “Self-discipline to maintain proper weight distribution and high standards of appearance is essential to every individual in the Army.”

THE RUMOR DOCTOR’S DIAGNOSIS: This rumor is true. So for those of you stuck at a desk all day, here’s one way to try to slim down: Finish all of sergeant major’s coffee; then try to outrun him when he comes after you.
Stripes