OSM - Have we missed a trick?

Discussion in 'Military History and Militaria' started by Perevodchik, Sep 23, 2006.

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  1. Just pondering last night, as my jet-set lifestyle allows me to do, the subject of the OSM. The original plan was for each operational medal awarded to have a distinctive ribbon attached to it, which has happened. Why then does the govt feel it necessary to add a clasp which merely tells us what the theatre is when the ribbon does this already?

    Looking back at previous medals awarded for the Afghan campaigns last century, clasps were awarded for areas and battles in which the recipient served. Clasps for Cabul, Candahar (sic) etc were commonplace. Which got me thinking, why not do it now?

    Surely a clasp for 'Helmand' 'Kandahar', 'Kabul' 'Sangin' etc would engender a lot more pride than a generic 'Afghanistan'? I know that the 'Afghanistan' clasp is only awarded to those in-country, but surely the distinctive Afghanistan ribbon on the OSM makes the location clear. In addition, it would allow new clasps to be awarded to personnel on repeat tours who serve in different areas, as well as carry on an established military tradition. Just wondering what my fellow arssers think.

  2. I like the idea of it and it would also mark out those that have been somewhere genuinely dodgy and those who have been to a more wheezy boy type place.

    Saying that, personally I think it will be obvious as to who's been where because the blokes down in Sangin and all of the other 'platoon houses' should come back with shack loads of gallantary medals judging from what I've seen, read and heard.
  3. If you put the bar on it it can also be awarded to personel serving outwith of the operational zone but in direct support of it like with the Telic medals etc.
    If you bung on regional bars as you suggests what would happen if you jump about from region to region as your tour progresses do you get a bar for every district you serve as long as you qualify?

    Surely the silver rosette worn on the ribbon would denote who has served in the combat zone like with the South Atalntic medal and the GW1 medal
  4. Meiktilaman spot on with the rosette. Would be silly to add name clasps for modern warfare, due to increased mobility. The Victorian blokes had to get about by foot, making presence at contested areas rarer, and more dangerous. A bloke working the HRF in Helmand could cover his medal with clasps- to the extent you couldn't see the ribbon. The only way around it would be to award clasps for specific battle honours, and be really strict about times/ locations.
  5. I think the present system is pretty good

    The battle honour way sounds a good idea but what if there isnt a battle as such and there would be no uniformity and much argueing i think.

    What they need to strict about is the amount of people who wangle a trip out to an operational area for just long enough to earn a medal. This was particularly noticeable on OP Jacana in Afghan in 2002
  6. In addition, it would allow new clasps to be awarded to personnel on repeat tours who serve in different areas, as well as carry on an established military tradition. Just wondering what my fellow arssers think.


    I agree with you on this. The medal office must be a pretty busy place to earn a crust but would it incur greater costs to issue clasps for different regions? Probably not in the greater scheme of things. Anyway, has the Army ever wasted money on incentives to create unique pride within its ranks?

  7. Well the last I heard, come 5 o'clock they stop work and read ARRSE like evryone else!
  8. Personally I am not in favour of attempts to set conditions under which some people attract a bar to an OSM or CSM etc, other than in the circumstances as for the SAM, Gulf Medal, or Iraq Medal, ie you cross the Start Line(LD for the modernists) as the opening shots are fired. The Infantry will always face more hostile fire, but they can't do thier job without the support of those less exposed, sounds obvious but just needs to be remembered when discussing two tier campaign awards. I'd further argue that the unpredicable and asymetric nature of modern warfare puts all Arms and Services at increasingly equal risk therefore any distinction does not reflect this.
  9. I think it's a fcuking great idea. If it comes in I look forward to receiving a sandy coloured ribbon, with white, red, and black lines running down the middle, and a small bronze clasp embossed with the word: 'ECHOS'.
  10. Personally, I thought that the choice of the word Afghanistan for the 'first' clasp was rather stupid, as the ribbon denoted that specific theatre (rather like having an Africa clasp on an Africa Star). A dated clasp would have been more suitable and logical - like on the Iraq Medal. This choice of clasp did not make provision for subsequent clasps.

    This is a classic example of lack of departmental (and governmental) foresight. I do not begrudge a subsequent clasp, as it is well deserved, but a (for example) Helmand Province clasp is going to look odd above one for Afghanistan on a double clasper.

    The whole point of (initially) not using clasps was to set the OSM apart from the GSM by using distinctive theatre ribbons (like the UN issues). So... what do 'they' do? They introduce clasps on subsequent issues (to the claspless but rosetted Sierra Leone issue - work that one out) for Afghanistan & Congo. There's nothing like a bit of wheel reinvention for bored decision makers.

    So all they have managed to do is to make a simple, logical system a confusing and complicated mess, with silly ribbons, rosettes and clasps. What a total cake & arse party.

    A rosette would be the logical step - and in keeping with the trend started off by the South Atlantic Medal and Sierra Leone OSM as a mark of distinction in lieu of an actual clasp. However, as the rosette is already used to denote the Afghanistan clasp in undress, the addition of a second rosette would indicate two clasps. Therefore, it would be simpler just to award another clasp subsequent to the initial issue. This is what happens when things are badly thought out - by people who know bugger all about medals and precedent.
  11. How about a clasp for every tour, engraved with your dates on?
  13. The_Duke

    The_Duke LE Moderator

  15. You all make very good points, heres my two pence worth.......

    In my opinion at the end of the day, it doesn`t really matter about bars for more hairy tours, or locations, because...

    1. At the end of the day, you know if you`ve earned your medal or not.

    2. Its all down the fortunes of war, whether your location at that time, is in the shit or not. Example- An infantry Regiment, guarding POW`s, on Telic 1 and never hears a round fired in anger or an RLC Chef- acting as a stretcher bearer, to a another unit that takes a lot of casualties and is under fire everyday?

    3. And this one is from experiance, when you come home, no one gives a shit anyway.

    Anyway, as a wise man once said "Thats all I have to say about that".