Op Shader medal?

They do this against the backdrop of maintaining daily life, which actually is far more of a headfuck than you might think.
A couple of years ago I spoke to an RAF Padre who admitted that it was only amongst RPAS personnel that he encountered deep and persistent questions on 'morality of altitude'.
 
Disagree.

Not violently: but I disagree.

The whole concept of establishing UK campaign medals is that oft-maligned phrase 'risk and rigour'.

Bluntly put, I see none here. 'Rigour'? Possibly, given the intensely focused nature of the role: then again, the opportunity to either go home or return to accommodation is always available. That is seldom available to troops in the field, though support troops can be reasonably well provisioned.

Risk? Nope, Sorry. Not a chance. Doesn't even clear the first hurdle with that one. By default, the RPAS operators are working in the most benign of environments: money and effort has been invested in their training and no COC is going to place them in a threat area.

And what of those who have supported war fighting during past operations? Those at Main Building, Northwood, Marchwood, etc during CORPORATE and GRANBY might now feel that there's a case for them to feel the love retrospectively.

If this comes to fruition then I'll give it a resounding 'meh' and move on.

But it's a wrong 'un.
I was following this on the radio this afternoon and there is a major flaw in the whole issue. Don't care about the medal going to this group of people, that's a policy decision and it's also tough from the point of view as we didn't do the same thing always in the same way.
I think a good point was made bringing back the defence medal. And it sort of makes up for the deficiencies of not qualifying for in theatre bling. Dear old dad crops up in this again. You might recalI that I was was doing some work seeing if he would posthumously qualify for the Suez medal. In the end he didn't even if he was operational for it in Jordan. And that that's the point. To look at his rack you'd say he didn't do much, but I know he did from operations in China, through Palestine, then to Egypt during the abyssinian campaign, before returning to this country having done 6 years away and was in at the tail end of Western Desert Force before the 8th was formed. So the defence medal represents what most don't see
 

chrisg46

LE
Book Reviewer
A couple of years ago I spoke to an RAF Padre who admitted that it was only amongst RPAS personnel that he encountered deep and persistent questions on 'morality of altitude'.
Can you expand on that? Was it that the Padre was asked questions about the morality, or he had questions regarding the RPAS morality attitude etc?
 
One group of people who generally miss out, even though they are based in Theatre are the Defence Section staff in British Embassies and High Commissions. Depending on when and where, there will be a couple of Cols/Lt Cols (equiv) a couple of Sgts (generally SPS equivalent) and the odd Cpl or Sgt int analysts. They provide a huge amount of support, often undertaking hazardous journeys to deliver material (Crypto, charts, mail) to units, are are critical in delivering ABO - access, basing and overflights. The are often under considerable personal threat of attack. There has been a long-standing prejudice that 'all that lot' do is get pissed at cocktail parties and live off massively-inflated COLA (different T&Cs for Embassy assignments). But they don't qualify for the medals ordinarily awarded to other British military personnel within the same theatre.
 
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Can you expand on that? Was it that the Padre was asked questions about the morality, or he had questions regarding the RPAS morality attitude etc?
RPAS operators asking deep questions about what they were doing and why - clearly affected by what they saw and did on a daily basis. In contrast, the Padre stated that he had never encountered this on manned FJ squadrons.
 
But they don't qualify for the medals ordinarily rewarded to other British military personnel within the same theatre.
Ditto the same when I was based in Naples for NATO in the early 90s. Did a lot of work alongside my former squadron colleagues who were supporting the RAF policing the No Fly Zone over FYR etc but didn't qualify for any of the gongs they picked up.
 
One group of people who generally miss out, even though they are based in Theatre are the Defence Section staff in British Embassies and High Commissions. Depending on when and where, there will be a couple of Cols/Lt Cols (equiv) a couple of Sgts (generally SPS equivalent) and the odd Cpl or Sgt int analysts. They provide a huge amount of support, often undertaking hazardous journeys to deliver material (Crypto, charts, mail) to units, are are critical in delivering ABO - access, basing and overflights. There has been a long-standing prejudice that 'all that lot' do is get pissed at cocktail parties and live off massively-inflated COLA (different T&Cs for Embassy assignments). But they don't qualify for the medals ordinarily rewarded to other British military personnel within the same theatre.
The one exception was Telic, for which I expect they got the Iraq Reconstruction Service Medal - certainly those of us who were MOD types but deemed not to be "serving with British Forces" because we were working out of the US Embassy in Baghdad, were eventually given the IRSM having been told (after the tour of course) that we did not qualify for the Telic gong. I do not know what the RMP CP team in Baghdad finally got - there were similar mutterings about them, completely ignoring the question of how a formed team of uniformed soldiers could be deemed to be not serving with British Forces, just because their job was to keep the Ambo alive...

Not complaining - the IRSM is a very nice and unusual medal. And, given the combined threats of insurgent IDF, USMC checkpoints, trigger-happy Blackwater loons in convoy, and well-meaning-but-utterly-inept-at-safe-weapon-handling Iraqi close protection teams guarding Ministers (racking up at times an ND a week inside the Iraqi MOD) there was certainly enough risk and rigour not to feel guilty about getting the gong.
 
In the in between years of the '50s to the '70s, I met members of 'them' with a CV like you wouldn't believe, with just two medals, GSM '18 and GSM '62, often half an inch longer than any other Tom's version to make room for the clasps. That, in my opinion, was, and should remain, the "British Way" outside declared warfare.
Have to agree there's something in that. A few years ago I attended a reunion when a serving LE officer with ten expensively court mounted medals was standing next to an old boy with a GSM and three bars on an honourably well worn, tatty, unmounted ribbon.

Looking at the old boy's bars there was no doubt who had the best stories to tell, especially when the LE said he'd never fired a shot in anger and the only time he felt threatened was from the atropine injections in GW1!

No doubt the ten medal bling was well deserved but an example of traditional British understatement it wasn't.
 
The one exception was Telic, for which I expect they got the Iraq Reconstruction Service Medal - certainly those of us who were MOD types but deemed not to be "serving with British Forces" because we were working out of the US Embassy in Baghdad, were eventually given the IRSM having been told (after the tour of course) that we did not qualify for the Telic gong. I do not know what the RMP CP team in Baghdad finally got - there were similar mutterings about them, completely ignoring the question of how a formed team of uniformed soldiers could be deemed to be not serving with British Forces, just because their job was to keep the Ambo alive...

Not complaining - the IRSM is a very nice and unusual medal. And, given the combined threats of insurgent IDF, USMC checkpoints, trigger-happy Blackwater loons in convoy, and well-meaning-but-utterly-inept-at-safe-weapon-handling Iraqi close protection teams guarding Ministers (racking up at times an ND a week inside the Iraqi MOD) there was certainly enough risk and rigour not to feel guilty about getting the gong.
excellent post.

I'm surprised at the odd occasion the FCO has a dinner in Black Tie with medals how many have the IRSM and have stories of risk and rigour that rival what many SP on ops have undergone. 10 round medals for me and made ready only once...
 

FORMER_FYRDMAN

LE
Book Reviewer
I take your point about risk and rigour and accept that there are strong arguments on both sides. You are correct in that physical risks for drone operators are negligible but the individual psychological and moral risks are heightened. UK PLC is also exposed to a strategic legal and moral risk which requires drone operators to demonstrate a disproportionate amount of personal responsibility in complying with complex RoE and UK legislation. I have no 'dog in this fight' and I'm not really interested in medals but I find your comments about killing by remote control to be crass. Furthermore, drone operators delivering operational effect against a live enemy and Cold War BAOR service delivering deterrence are incomparable. Both are, and were, important and the physical risks for both might be similar. However drone operators kill terrorists. The landscape has changed since the 1970s/80s and this is part of what the world looks like now.
Absolutely the right answer and the psychological challenge of shifting from normality to killing people on a shift basis over an extended period is something we can currently only guess at. The evidence we do have of the trauma of troops making too rapid a transition from killing to normality tells us that there are going to be issues and if we remove the moral vindication for operators by letting the idea get hold that somehow drone warfare isn't 'proper fighting' or is in some way underhand or dishonourable, we're going to screw them up even more.

If we truly believe the mantra that a psychological casualty is as much of a casualty as a physical casualty, and we should, then the risk element is more than spoken for. How we fight is changing and how we recognise those who do that fighting and sustain their moral component needs to adapt accordingly.
 
Ask the top brass who plotted and planned the whole scenario, I just got on with it, followed orders, and kept my head down. The other NATO forces strung out along the IGB, Belgium's, West Nazi army, and the septic's, took up the slack.
A quick question mush.

We currently have hundreds of troops banging out 8 month tours in Estonia. They are there to counter the threat from Russia.

They are unaccompanied, living in basic accommodation, with basic welfare provisions. They spend their time training, they aren't out on the swally.

Do you think that they should get a medal?
 
A toke
A quick question mush.

We currently have hundreds of troops banging out 8 month tours in Estonia. They are there to counter the threat from Russia.

They are unaccompanied, living in basic accommodation, with basic welfare provisions. They spend their time training, they aren't out on the swally.

Do you think that they should get a medal?
A token of time served away from home facing a real threat, that could kick off, if the Donald carries out his bellicose threat, would be a gesture.
 
A toke

A token of time served away from home facing a real threat, that could kick off, if the Donald carries out his bellicose threat, would be a gesture.
Well they aren't going to get one because they aren't on Ops you belter.

For a comparison see BAOR in the 1970s but everybody is sober.
 
You were training in peacetime and want a medal for doing your job?
Seems to be de rigueur in all area of the Civil Service, particularly the MOD
 
excellent post.

I'm surprised at the odd occasion the FCO has a dinner in Black Tie with medals how many have the IRSM and have stories of risk and rigour that rival what many SP on ops have undergone. 10 round medals for me and made ready only once...
Of course, one of the major risks amongst FCO/DFID staff at BE Baghdad was alcohol poisoning... our Thursday nights at Ocean Cliffs were legendary, though with an excessively high casualty rate amongst US guests who had been on General Order Number One for the best part of a year - one of my Yank counterparts face-planted into the sea of razorwire trying to back into the US Embassy; looked like a member of the Sweeney Todd survivor group the next morning, with around forty stitches in his head. This was a lad who had got through Vietnam unscathed and then copped serious injury thirty-five years later as an RO equivalent in the DIA from joined-up drinking with allies.

EDIT - I should make clear that I am not suggesting that MOD and mil types did not imbibe, just that we showed greater moderation than some of our OGD colleagues, not least because we tended to be somewhat older, and arguably could hold it rather better!
 
Of course, one of the major risks amongst FCO/DFID staff at BE Baghdad was alcohol poisoning... our Thursday nights at Ocean Cliffs were legendary, though with an excessively high casualty rate amongst US guests who had been on General Order Number One for the best part of a year - one of my Yank counterparts face-planted into the sea of razorwire trying to back into the US Embassy; looked like a member of the Sweeney Todd survivor group the next morning, with around forty stitches in his head. This was a lad who had got through Vietnam unscathed and then copped serious injury thirty-five years later as an RO equivalent in the DIA from joined-up drinking with allies.
I can attest to that. A certain US 4* openly.admitted he liked visiting basra due to getting alchohol at 1 Div. Another SBMRI hosted legendary dinners at the Brit house that saw multiple shitfaced US 2*s.
 
Well they aren't going to get one because they aren't on Ops you belter.

For a comparison see BAOR in the 1970s but everybody is sober.
Point taken. I think I will leave the rest of the arguments for and against to the obviously more seasoned veterans, and serving armchair warriors, and bow out gracefully, any further sparing serves no useful purpose. Argue amongst yourselves, I'm off down the pub!
 
I can attest to that. A certain US 4* openly.admitted he liked visiting basra due to getting alchohol at 1 Div. Another SBMRI hosted legendary dinners at the Brit house that saw multiple shitfaced US 2*s.
I was quite blunt with a couple of SBMRI/DCGs - their table at Maude was one of the most powerful levers available not just for British power-brokerage in Iraq, but also for media ops - if a British journalist was slagging us off too much, suggest he invite them to dinner and put over the alternative view whilst feeding them deep-fried camembert and a decent bottle of red (as opposed to the Lebanese stuff normally available in Baghdad). The only people who could rival us in that regard were the Italians...
 
Correct I was an ED, but slaughtering the enemy by remote control, from saftey, behind the lines, does not put you in any danger, no risk, no rigor.
When it kicks off, will the silo technicians in Wyoming and Nebraska be eligible for medals?
You have Medal envy don't you?
 
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