Op Tour Medals - Do we earn them?

#1
A controversial subject but nonetheless worth mentioning.

With all the actions going on in the south of Afghanistan I have nothing but admiration for the paras and now the marines who after a tour there get exactly the same medal as I do. In a way I feel guilty about it because my role was not nearly as dangerous as theirs (more like slipper city actually).

I can also apply this to other theatres Ive been in ie Bosnia, Kosovo and Iraq. Another thing that annoys me is those of us(and you know who you are) that do the minimum time on tour to gain the medal award then pull a fast one to get out of theatre. Those people are normally the ones slagging off others for having no medals - this really winds me up.

I think the marines and paras and all those troops involved in the thick of it ought to get a more substantial medal or award. Think of it this way - your stood next to a para on parade with the same medal knowing hes had severe action every day for 6 months whilst you in the same theatre had a jolly good stress free time with the only whinge being that the bandwidth of your internet connection was a bit slow.

In essence do we (most corps troops) earn that medal and the right to stand alonside the real heroes - comments please
 
#2
Everyone does their bit, however small, in order to try and make sure the blokes at the sharp end can do their's.
 
#3
Don't forget that there are Corps troops alongside Para Regt soldiers in quite a few places, especially the 16 AA and 3 Cdo Bdes.
 
#4
Although I can sort of see your reasoning, as has been said everybody does their bit so the folks at the sharp end are able to do theirs.
 
#5
suits_U said:
Although I can sort of see your reasoning, as has been said everybody does their bit so the folks at the sharp end are able to do theirs.
Ditto. Without you guys they couldn't do their job as well as they do.
 
#6
You could argue that there is a fine line between the awarding and earning of a medal.

However, with the exception of the "dedicated minimum days do nothing glory hunters" (this does not incude those who will play some important part even if for only a short time as then they are no longer required) everyone in theatre plays their part no matter where they find themselves. Without the necessary support, comms, logistics, intelligence etc the front line troops would have a much harder time.

Edited to add:

It is all about being part of the big team.
 
#7
Everyone has their part to play as 'Drain_Sniffer' says and you should'nt feel that your not earning yours all inter unit banter aside the army is built on supporting arms and as with other theatres the front line isnt always a clearly defined place or line.

Even slipper city jobs mean gat battlebowler and body armour to the ready!!!!!!
 
#9
I am well aware of the need for everyone to do their bit and that it is one big team - That doesnt stop me feeling guilty standing alongside the hero para and reaping the same praise that he and his colleagues earnt for us through the media - even though it was me that fixed that light bulb on the OCs radio set 3 months ago!! This does not include corps troops at the front line but the majority of REMFs like me.
 

RP578

LE
Book Reviewer
#10
Both the Australians and Americans have some sort of Combat Action or Combat Infantryman Badge that is awarded to those who were in direct and immediate combat with hostile forces.

I think I've posted on here before about a story from Soldier magazine many years ago. It was about a WW2 veteran who had earned every possible campaign star and clasp combination. The fact is this bloke had actually only been in transit through most theatres of operations, sometimes on a troop ship in harbour for the entire qualifying period before being shunted off to the next front. Being a honest and honorable man, he was the first to put his hand up to not having ever fired his rifle in anger and readily volunteered that there were firemen during the Blitz that saw more action than he did and 'all' they got was a Defence Medal.

I think his phrase was, "Only the man who wears the medal knows the story behind it."
 
#11
I must admit it is a little annoying arriving at SLB or BAS after a long hard patrol and seeing SOME of the support arms enjoying the base facilities everyday. However a 107mm rocket or a 120mm morter doesnt care what capbadge you wear. On telic 8 during maysaan desert ops a couple of loggies kopped a load of srapnel from an IED in kumayt.I guess its your choice what unit/corp/regiment your in. My drama is with the bullsh@tters that gob off about it ,when there only worry is catching D+V from subway at SLB.(you know the ones you hear on the welfare telephone when your on the phone next to them,telling there mums and birds about ''how they had a close one today'')
 
#12
Superdood said:
I think the marines and paras and all those troops involved in the thick of it ought to get a more substantial medal or award. Think of it this way - your stood next to a para on parade with the same medal knowing hes had severe action every day for 6 months whilst you in the same theatre had a jolly good stress free time with the only whinge being that the bandwidth of your internet connection was a bit slow.
I do see your point TBH but it is not your job to engage with the enemy so don't let it worry you. A medal is awarded for service in theatre not for what service you did in theatre. We (Paras) joined the Army to mix it with the enemy and generally act like cunts in Helmand and other places. You joined to do whatever your job entails. As long as you did it to the best of your ability then you should feel proud. So don't worry about it. All infantry personnel realise that fighting on the front line is only a small part of operations (though the most exciting part!).
 
#13
RP578 said:
I think his phrase was, "Only the man who wears the medal knows the story behind it."
Well said I personally feel that my time in Afgh, Iraq and Bosnia does not merit any award - it was like a holiday hence the guilty feeling and I would gladly donate my medals to those who do deserve them. I am very proud to be british though as our fighting troops are without doubt the best soldiers in the world.

If you need to reflect on this read the thread on the RE forum about Normandy and the sappers through D-Day to Bremen - very humbling indeed - it puts EVERYTHING in perspective and if I ever meet the man himself he will never need any cash whatsover in my company I salute you "swordsman"

Link here: http://www.arrse.co.uk/cpgn2/Forums/viewtopic/t=46796.html
 
#16
How far would you go with this Superdood. Even in the Corps you have those that are more REMF than others. For instance those serving in Kabul have a lot easier time, with beer available etc etc, than those in Kandahar. Who again have it easier that those in Bastion. Where do you draw the line???

As has been said by our infantry collegues, and being ex-infantry myself, we are all a team, and as a team we all earn our medals, some more deserved than others, but ultimately all earned. We all known the Helmand teams did the hard work, and they know themselves, that is justification in itself.
 
#18
7 months away from home, mortared everyday (sometimes more than twice) uncomfortable working conditions, i think i will have earned my medal when i get home. However i do agree that some infantry units that have been "out on the ground" should get extra recognition of this fact in some way.

Ps. There are members of the Corps not 216/264 that are getting involved in contacts in BAS city. Plus i know a sprog tech walking round with shrapnel in his leg from a mortar 3 weeks ago. We are doing it
 
#19
There used to be a small rosette that went on the medal ribbon, which was awarded in GW1 for those that crossed the border into Iraq.

I think there was something similar for the S Atlantic medal.

However, given the mortars, IED and suicide bombers, the concept of a "front line" has changed since then.
 
#20
Well I did say it was a controversial subject!

Op tours these days involve concentric warfare ie your dumped behind enemy lines just as the paras did on D-Day with the enemy all around but now you dont really know who is friend or foe . On the other hand the Falklands war was very different - you knew who your enemy was and where the FEBA was (Forward Edge of Battle Area) with most supporting troops spread out over 10Ks behind the fighting troops (the logistic tail).

Even in todays Op tours if my Base came under attack it is highly unlikely Id get to see any real action - Force protection would deal with this on my behalf so in theory I might as well be a civvy contractor. Yes I can defend myself if it came to the push but realistically my only chance to see any action would be to volunteer for a tail end charlie slot on a mobile or similar after anouncing on the 2000W camp tannoy in Arabic that the prophet Mohamed is a queer who shags goats.

If I was getting attacked every day I would not feel guilty at all because it would be a real achievement just surviving that everyday but lets face it the vast majority of us out there face more danger from some twat having an ND or road accident. Or getting zapped from the sparkies dodgy wiring !!

There is definately a need to acknowledge those who dice with the devil unlike us REMFs. I know there are a surprisingly lot of guys who volunteer for these stress free REMF posts just to get extra dosh ie LSSA and that cant be right.

Im sure Ive created some more controversy here so comments please
 

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