Mother has more medals than soldier sons


Soldier sons outshone by mother

A 46-year-old office worker has managed to notch up more military campaign medals than her two soldier sons.
Former soldier Jean Johnston from Bicester, Oxfordshire, has worked in administration for the MoD in Bosnia, Afghanistan and now Iraq.

Mrs Johnston said: "The boys bleat 'You've got more medals than we have, Mum'. It's a sort of running joke."

One son is currently serving as an Army nurse in Cyprus while the other is in the Royal Signals in Afghanistan.

Mrs Johnston first volunteered to use her administrative skills on a six-month tour in Bosnia.

An 11-week post in the field in Afghanistan followed and she is now in Iraq, overseeing how British-led forces spend money.

In the process she has notched up two medals for her work in Bosnia, one from Afghanistan and will be in line for an Iraq campaign medal when she gets home.

Her oldest son, Acting Sergeant Kenny Johnston, 25, currently in Cyprus, has a campaign medal from Iraq and is in line for a UN medal.

His 23-year-old brother Corporal Gary Johnston already has an Iraq medal and will be in line for one from Afghanistan.

Mrs Johnston jokes that her husband Joe, 47, prefers her to go on tour during the football season to allow him to watch matches.

"However, this tour meant he did not miss a single World Cup match," she said.
The-Daddy said:
I thought civvies didn't get medals?
MOD civil servants do. One of the lads at my rugby club who has served in Bosnia, Kosovo, The Gulf and Afghanistan has a hatful! So next time you wonder who buys locally all the crappy stuff...thank our Tony!
Nope. Entitled personnel are awarded campaign medals and MOD Civil Servants are in this category (which was large enough for the MOD to offer them to the embedded journos on TELIC!)


Book Reviewer
The-Daddy said:
I thought civvies didn't get medals?
BZZZT - wrong. My MoD colleagues who manned the CivSec component in Umm Qasr during Op Telic 1 when I was doing my impersonation of a mobilised TA soldier there got their Telic medals about a year before I did.
I'm proud of mine. I'm sure they are too.

Further to the Beeb piece here's the MoD version from DefenceNet. Her old man (22 years in - ex WO) gets to stay home now:

Keeping it in the family - Mum's medal tally outshines soldier sons

Like many mums, Jean Johnston is proud of her two military soldier sons and their efforts on the world stage. But her sons are just as proud of their 46 year old mum who as an MOD civil servant, has notched up more campaign medals than either of them.

Jean Johnston, the Finance Officer for Multi-National Deployment (South-East), at her desk in Basrah Air Station [Picture: Corporal H Harlen Army Photograper MND (SE)]

At the moment Jean is in Iraq keeping an eye on the money being spent by British-led forces in southern Iraq.
Back home Jean, who normally works within the Finance Branch of the Defence Storage and Distribution Agency in Bicester, does mostly data input and cost capturing.

Meanwhile, her son, acting Sergeant Kenny, 25, is a British Army nurse working for the UN at a medical centre in Cyprus. Jean's youngest son, Gary, 23, is a Corporal in the Royal Signals serving in Afghanistan. Jean said:

"Out here as the Finance Manager for Basrah Air station, I am responsible for giving advice and guidance to Multi National forces, checking and authorising expenditure and ensuring that all invoices are paid. The main difference between my job back home and here is, you are closer to the front line and get to see the end results."

"I have two medals for my tour in Bosnia – one NATO and one from the EU. I also have the Afghan medal and will be eligible for the Op Telic (Iraq) medal when I return home.

"The boys bleat 'You've got more medals than we have mum.' It's a sort of running joke with us. But I'm sure they'll end up with more medals than me."

Currently, Kenny has an Iraq medal and is line for a UN medal while Gary will be adding an Afghanistan campaign medal to his Iraq medal.

As a civilian, how did Jean end up in Iraq? Having volunteered for a six month tour in Bosnia in 2004/5 Jean was asked to fill an emergency stop gap post in Afghanistan for six weeks, which eventually increased to 11 weeks.
Jean explained:
"The first time they asked for volunteers and, as I had left the Army early when I got married, I wondered if I could do it. It was a challenge for me.

"I got a great buzz out of really being able to help people on the ground. I really enjoyed the experience. You always learn something new on a tour and you learn more about yourself."

Manning the home front in Bicester is husband Joe, 47, himself an ex-soldier who retired after 22 years as a Warrant Officer. The couple met when Jean was serving as a soldier.

And when Jean first broached the subject of serving on an operational tour, husband Joe simply said, "You've stood by me for 22 years when I was moving around – now it's roles reversed." Jean added:

"It's weird really being out here with everyone also away, and Joe back at base," Jean added. "But you just get on with it and hope for the best."
The ironic thing is that she'll have done more Op tours than a good number of the Service personnel she works with. Just remember this.... ahem, well-preserved mother of two strapping Servicemen next time you read some stroker whinging on about " feckin' civvies " on ARRSE.

Even if she's never had to 'grab a gat and stag on ' ( which I'm sure she could if required )......Bravo Zulu Jean :D

Le Chevre
not denying her right - just never knew. Goatman is right - she might never have picked up a gat but I'm bloody glad I did on Ops! Hated having to put mine in the Iso armoury and hearing rounds go off in the distance!

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