News story: New medal unveiled to recognise the fight against Daesh

#1
Sailors, soldiers and airmen received the Operational Service Medal Iraq and Syria, also know as the Operation Shader medal, from Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson. It is the first operational service medal to be created since 2003 and has its own distinct ribbon and clasp.

The Defence Secretary also confirmed today that Her Majesty the Queen has approved the extension of the eligibility criteria for the medal to new groups of personnel. It means that the medal will also recognise those who have made a significant contribution from outside the conventional area of operations in Iraq and Syria, including civilians.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said:


The campaign against Daesh is one that our Armed Forces can be extremely proud of. Eliminating the threat from terrorism is critical to our security at home and abroad. Our troops have made huge contributions to the fight against Daesh, helping end its tyranny in large parts of Iraq and Syria. Only by defeating this evil and barbaric group for good will we reduce the deadly threat they pose to us.

I am pleased that today those who have bravely fought against such untold evil will get the recognition they deserve. Reflecting the changing nature of warfare I am pleased to announce that the medal will now recognise those making a vital contribution to Op Shader from outside the conventional area of Operations, for example those Reaper pilots taking life and death decisions from back here in the UK.

Since 2014 the UK Armed Forces have taken a leading role in the counter-Daesh Global Coalition. The RAF has so far conducted over 1,700 strikes against Daesh terrorist targets and units from across the Armed Forces have helped train over 77,000 Iraqi Security Forces in infantry skills, counter-IED, engineering, and medical expertise. As a result, their capacity to defeat Daesh has increased considerably, contributing to the success of this campaign.

Despite recent success over the last year the operation continues and fast jets continue to fly out of RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus and remotely-piloted Reaper aircraft continue to provide support to the Syrian Democratic Forces on the ground who are clearing the last remaining pockets of Daesh terrorists in Eastern Syria.

Currently around 1,400 personnel still play an important role in the Global Coalition’s counter-Daesh operations in the wider region.

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#2
If reaper crew are to get a medal will it be kept at a remote location inside the MOD.
 

smeg-head

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#3
I'm still waiting for my NAAFI Queue medal.
 

MrBane

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#4
If reaper crew are to get a medal will it be kept at a remote location inside the MOD.
I'd never thought of that.... I know some are controlled from the AO but others are crewed in totally different countries. Do they qualify? I always thought the remit was you had to be within the AO for 'x' numbers of days, hence why the various high heidyins used to sail into the AO or pop in to a safe location for, was it 24? days attendance to qualify before buggering off again.
 
#6
I'd never thought of that.... I know some are controlled from the AO but others are crewed in totally different countries. Do they qualify? I always thought the remit was you had to be within the AO for 'x' numbers of days, hence why the various high heidyins used to sail into the AO or pop in to a safe location for, was it 24? days attendance to qualify before buggering off again.
Or x number of missions flown over the AO (eg, the Libya Stormshadow sorties flown from RAF Marham), which put your pink body in it as crew. As the announcement specifically refers to Reaper, it will be very interesting to see what the qualification criteria are deemed to be.
 

smeg-head

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#7
#8
I'd never thought of that.... I know some are controlled from the AO but others are crewed in totally different countries. Do they qualify? I always thought the remit was you had to be within the AO for 'x' numbers of days, hence why the various high heidyins used to sail into the AO or pop in to a safe location for, was it 24? days attendance to qualify before buggering off again.
Snip........

The Defence Secretary also confirmed today that Her Majesty the Queen has approved the extension of the eligibility criteria for the medal to new groups of personnel. It means that the medal will also recognise those who have made a significant contribution from outside the conventional area of operations in Iraq and Syria, including civilians.



Snip .
I guess my bold covers that one.
 
#9
I'd never thought of that.... I know some are controlled from the AO but others are crewed in totally different countries. Do they qualify? I always thought the remit was you had to be within the AO for 'x' numbers of days, hence why the various high heidyins used to sail into the AO or pop in to a safe location for, was it 24? days attendance to qualify before buggering off again.
Well - if sceptics can get a medal for tying their own shoe laces, travelling overseas and also bombing their allies, I can see a point for our reaper pilots to build up medal points ;-)
 
#10
@Magic_Mushroom has strong views on this subject - most of which I agree with.

The criteria for medallic recognition have to move with developments in warfare - recognizing that there has to also be lines drawn.
 
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#15
The Reaper crews do a job which carries a substantial mental and emotional burden and I suspect is storing up a long term series of PTSD issues over the next few years.

In simple terms, many soldiers on HERRICK deployed to KAF / Bastion, didnt go outside wire, never fired weapon in anger and in many ways lived a fundamentally barracks based life for 6 months, albeit in the desert and in the odd circumstances a 107mm rocket coming their way. Thats not knocking their contribution, its ust the reality that KAF and BSN were for the most part, not exactly a warry place to be full of risk and rigour etc.

Reaper crews spend about 2 years in postings, during which time they are working a fixed battle rhythm which keeps them extremely busy. They usually live locally, often with their families and lead a life involving the parent getting up, hanging out with the kids, taking them to school, then going to work where they sit in an ISO container sealed off from the outside world, focusing on 'flying' a drone several thousand miles away. They may spend the morning observing activity like watching live and very detailed images of people, maybe including innocent children being killed by enemy forces, or car bombs going off, or watching war go on in a Truman show way.

They then perhaps at lunchtime go for a run, or pop home for lunch and see their toddler (the same age as ones they've just seen killed on TV), and then in the afternoon they go back to work. During that bit they may end up firing a missile on a target whose pattern of live they've minutely scrutinsed for some time, essentially in the way a sniper waits for the moment to get the perfect shot, killing them outright. Then they may do some CAS support to ongoing operations, firing missiles at targets that see a lot of enemy forces killed as a result of their direct action.

At the end of the day they go home, see the family and hang out with their wife and kids spending an evening of quality family time together over dinner and a glass of wine, while knowing inside that on the other side of the world, a family is grieving and mourning a loved family member that the Reaper operator killed that afternoon. Then repeat that ad nauseum for two years, and probably several more repeat tours, and do it in a world of constantly living at home, spending your days fighting a war and going to sleep in your own bed.

I don't begrudge the RPAS operators a medal in the slightest - they're doing a bloody difficult job, making far more life and death decisions and seeing far more trauma daily than many of the people on HERRICK/TELIC, and they have the constant mindfuck of being at home, and not being able to slip into a 'operational tour mentality' of chuff charts, R&R and compartmentalising life on tour separate from life at home.

We would be wise not to sound too churlish complaining about it, but I'm sure plenty of people will.
 
#16
The Reaper crews do a job which carries a substantial mental and emotional burden and I suspect is storing up a long term series of PTSD issues over the next few years.

In simple terms, many soldiers on HERRICK deployed to KAF / Bastion, didnt go outside wire, never fired weapon in anger and in many ways lived a fundamentally barracks based life for 6 months, albeit in the desert and in the odd circumstances a 107mm rocket coming their way. Thats not knocking their contribution, its ust the reality that KAF and BSN were for the most part, not exactly a warry place to be full of risk and rigour etc.

Reaper crews spend about 2 years in postings, during which time they are working a fixed battle rhythm which keeps them extremely busy. They usually live locally, often with their families and lead a life involving the parent getting up, hanging out with the kids, taking them to school, then going to work where they sit in an ISO container sealed off from the outside world, focusing on 'flying' a drone several thousand miles away. They may spend the morning observing activity like watching live and very detailed images of people, maybe including innocent children being killed by enemy forces, or car bombs going off, or watching war go on in a Truman show way.

They then perhaps at lunchtime go for a run, or pop home for lunch and see their toddler (the same age as ones they've just seen killed on TV), and then in the afternoon they go back to work. During that bit they may end up firing a missile on a target whose pattern of live they've minutely scrutinsed for some time, essentially in the way a sniper waits for the moment to get the perfect shot, killing them outright. Then they may do some CAS support to ongoing operations, firing missiles at targets that see a lot of enemy forces killed as a result of their direct action.

At the end of the day they go home, see the family and hang out with their wife and kids spending an evening of quality family time together over dinner and a glass of wine, while knowing inside that on the other side of the world, a family is grieving and mourning a loved family member that the Reaper operator killed that afternoon. Then repeat that ad nauseum for two years, and probably several more repeat tours, and do it in a world of constantly living at home, spending your days fighting a war and going to sleep in your own bed.

I don't begrudge the RPAS operators a medal in the slightest - they're doing a bloody difficult job, making far more life and death decisions and seeing far more trauma daily than many of the people on HERRICK/TELIC, and they have the constant mindfuck of being at home, and not being able to slip into a 'operational tour mentality' of chuff charts, R&R and compartmentalising life on tour separate from life at home.

We would be wise not to sound too churlish complaining about it, but I'm sure plenty of people will.
It’s an entirely ridiculous comparison - I’m surprised you made it.

It’s arguments like the one you have just made that have denied RPAS pilots a medal for so long - dripping on about watching something on TV and then ‘enjoying quality family time over a glass of wine’ just demonstrates the lack of risk and rigour in their role, and to be honest really highlights your lack of front end experience and service.

As does the attempt to draw comparisons between soldiers on the ground and the RPAS pilots - this again damages the perception of the job done by the operators.

I’m a huge fan of the RPAS pilots and their contribution to current operations in fundamental. They absolutely deserve medallic recognition for their contribution. Your post illustrates why many people don’t agree. Other posters in the RPAS thread have been able to make a more convincing argument
 
#17
Widow - we're not going to agree here. I've worked with RPAS crew, been in their cabins and seen how ops are done. Personally I and others would rather they deployed, operated and returned via a base elsewhere ljke Creech, but its not always possible.

I'll leave it there
 

MrBane

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#18
The Reaper crews do a job which carries a substantial mental and emotional burden and I suspect is storing up a long term series of PTSD issues over the next few years.

In simple terms, many soldiers on HERRICK deployed to KAF / Bastion, didnt go outside wire, never fired weapon in anger and in many ways lived a fundamentally barracks based life for 6 months, albeit in the desert and in the odd circumstances a 107mm rocket coming their way. Thats not knocking their contribution, its ust the reality that KAF and BSN were for the most part, not exactly a warry place to be full of risk and rigour etc.

Reaper crews spend about 2 years in postings, during which time they are working a fixed battle rhythm which keeps them extremely busy. They usually live locally, often with their families and lead a life involving the parent getting up, hanging out with the kids, taking them to school, then going to work where they sit in an ISO container sealed off from the outside world, focusing on 'flying' a drone several thousand miles away. They may spend the morning observing activity like watching live and very detailed images of people, maybe including innocent children being killed by enemy forces, or car bombs going off, or watching war go on in a Truman show way.

They then perhaps at lunchtime go for a run, or pop home for lunch and see their toddler (the same age as ones they've just seen killed on TV), and then in the afternoon they go back to work. During that bit they may end up firing a missile on a target whose pattern of live they've minutely scrutinsed for some time, essentially in the way a sniper waits for the moment to get the perfect shot, killing them outright. Then they may do some CAS support to ongoing operations, firing missiles at targets that see a lot of enemy forces killed as a result of their direct action.

At the end of the day they go home, see the family and hang out with their wife and kids spending an evening of quality family time together over dinner and a glass of wine, while knowing inside that on the other side of the world, a family is grieving and mourning a loved family member that the Reaper operator killed that afternoon. Then repeat that ad nauseum for two years, and probably several more repeat tours, and do it in a world of constantly living at home, spending your days fighting a war and going to sleep in your own bed.

I don't begrudge the RPAS operators a medal in the slightest - they're doing a bloody difficult job, making far more life and death decisions and seeing far more trauma daily than many of the people on HERRICK/TELIC, and they have the constant mindfuck of being at home, and not being able to slip into a 'operational tour mentality' of chuff charts, R&R and compartmentalising life on tour separate from life at home.

We would be wise not to sound too churlish complaining about it, but I'm sure plenty of people will.
It's a well based point you raise until you fill it with stuff about seeing their kids, wine with dinner, etc.

That's not a hardship, regardless how you tie it back in to what they do. I accept there may be mental health issues there, but the same can be said for many jobs in the UK.

You undermine your rationale for people not based in the AO or having a physical presence in the AO (Pilots, etc) getting a medal, in my opinion.

I'd give my right arm to have been able to remote control a robot on the ground in Afghan that'd take all the shit for me, and if that meant I didn't have to drag one of the lads half body off a bridge or realise my other mate wasn't in the prone but was in fact dead, I'd happily forgoe a medal.

Thus as an uniformed body on the ground, with no insight into the bigger picture, I'd begrudge a crew sat in a container in the UK getting a medal, if you see where I'm coming from.

So your argument is sound, but I'd tweak it a bit to avoid negative kickback, if you don't mind the feedback.
 
#19
Widow - we're not going to agree here. I've worked with RPAS crew, been in their cabins and seen how ops are done. Personally I and others would rather they deployed, operated and returned via a base elsewhere ljke Creech, but its not always possible.

I'll leave it there
I have worked with them extensively. (Well extensively may be putting it strongly) I’m not disagreeing that they deserve recognition - I am arguing that their merits and derservedness stand alone without having to make comparisons with other FEs.

I would go so far as to say these comparisons have in the past hindered them from getting the recognition they deserve.
 
#20
The Reaper crews do a job which carries a substantial mental and emotional burden and I suspect is storing up a long term series of PTSD issues over the next few years.

In simple terms, many soldiers on HERRICK deployed to KAF / Bastion, didnt go outside wire, never fired weapon in anger and in many ways lived a fundamentally barracks based life for 6 months, albeit in the desert and in the odd circumstances a 107mm rocket coming their way. Thats not knocking their contribution, its ust the reality that KAF and BSN were for the most part, not exactly a warry place to be full of risk and rigour etc.

Reaper crews spend about 2 years in postings, during which time they are working a fixed battle rhythm which keeps them extremely busy. They usually live locally, often with their families and lead a life involving the parent getting up, hanging out with the kids, taking them to school, then going to work where they sit in an ISO container sealed off from the outside world, focusing on 'flying' a drone several thousand miles away. They may spend the morning observing activity like watching live and very detailed images of people, maybe including innocent children being killed by enemy forces, or car bombs going off, or watching war go on in a Truman show way.

They then perhaps at lunchtime go for a run, or pop home for lunch and see their toddler (the same age as ones they've just seen killed on TV), and then in the afternoon they go back to work. During that bit they may end up firing a missile on a target whose pattern of live they've minutely scrutinsed for some time, essentially in the way a sniper waits for the moment to get the perfect shot, killing them outright. Then they may do some CAS support to ongoing operations, firing missiles at targets that see a lot of enemy forces killed as a result of their direct action.

At the end of the day they go home, see the family and hang out with their wife and kids spending an evening of quality family time together over dinner and a glass of wine, while knowing inside that on the other side of the world, a family is grieving and mourning a loved family member that the Reaper operator killed that afternoon. Then repeat that ad nauseum for two years, and probably several more repeat tours, and do it in a world of constantly living at home, spending your days fighting a war and going to sleep in your own bed.

I don't begrudge the RPAS operators a medal in the slightest - they're doing a bloody difficult job, making far more life and death decisions and seeing far more trauma daily than many of the people on HERRICK/TELIC, and they have the constant mindfuck of being at home, and not being able to slip into a 'operational tour mentality' of chuff charts, R&R and compartmentalising life on tour separate from life at home.

We would be wise not to sound too churlish complaining about it, but I'm sure plenty of people will.
Keep forgetting how reaper crews have to worry about that friendly afghan who is standing 2 meters from them might either detonate themselves or open fire with their weapon our troops have shown them how to use. A soldier became a target the second they entered afghan airspace regardless of where physically in the country they spent their tour. Reaper operators deserve recognition, but minimizing the continuous risk to troops in theatre is weak.....
 
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