New operational medal recognises the changing nature of warfare

operation shader medal without claspThe Ministry of Defence has announced that under new rules, personnel from all three services serving from outside the traditional area of operations will receive the Operation Shader medal without clasp.

Operation Shader is the UK’s contribution to the military intervention against Daesh in Iraq and Syria. The medal is the first operational service medal to be created since 2003, and has its own distinct ribbon.

The award of the medal reflects the changing nature of modern conflict and recognises the vital contribution that personnel working from outside the operational area of Iraq and Syria have made to the campaign.

The personnel to be awarded the Op Shader medal without clasp include RAF Reaper crews, based at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire, and Creech Air Force Base in Nevada, US. This is the first time that remotely piloted aircraft systems (RPAS) crews have received formal medallic recognition.

Ground crew serving at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, where UK airstrikes over Iraq and Syria are launched from, are also eligible, as well as Army and Navy personnel providing logistic and communications support.

The changing character of warfare means that personnel based outside an area of military operations increasingly play a vital role in allowing the UK to be successful militarily overseas. For example, ground crew based at RAF Akrotiri play a key role in ensuring that RAF Tornado and Typhoon fast-jets can conduct air strikes over Iraq and Syria, through their maintenance, engineering and weapons technician skills.

shader medal with claspLast year, Her Majesty The Queen approved the extension of the eligibility criteria for the medal to new groups of personnel.

Gavin Williamson, defence secretary, said:

“The expanded medal criteria means that those personnel who have played a vital role in defeating Daesh but have been based outside the conventional area of operations will receive the recognition they deserve."

Alongside this milestone, RAF Akrotiri recently saw the last of the operational Tornado fighter jets fly home for the final time as they approach retirement after 40 years of service.

Images: Operational Service Medal for Iraq and Syria (Operation Shader medal) without clasp, and with clasp © MOD Crown copyright 2018

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