With only a couple weeks left we had an awards ceremony. Everyone received an award based on what they accomplished while in Iraq. We were lucky…we were in an air conditioned building, we had cake and drinks. Usually we’re stuck outside sweating to death. Several people talked and talked. It was painful. Finally it was time to line up according to the medal you were receiving. Soldiers received awards ranging from the AAM, ARCOM, MSM, Bronze Star and the Silver Star. I was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal. My award read: “The Meritorious Service Medal, SPC H, For exceptionally meritorious service while assigned as a staff writer for the Anaconda Times in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. SPC H’s leadership, initiative, and courage are indicative of the highest standards of service and reflect great credit upon her. “ It was a huge deal because a “Specialist” was given a Meritorious Service Medal. A lot of higher ups were pissed. There was actually a Lieutenant Colonel sitting next to me, he received an ARCOM. I was thinking, “Holy shit I got a higher award then an LTC.” He was gentlemen...he shook my hand and congratulated me. I was told when I had to wear the medal on my Class A uniform I should carry my orders (saying that I actually received the medal) or else I’ll be accused of lying and told to take it off. I thought that was kind of funny.