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Afghan Medals Process (merged)

John Nayduk

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Medals slow in coming for veterans of Afghanistan

Michael Smith
National Post


Monday, November 25, 2002

OTTAWA - Canadian soldiers have been recommended for more than 20 medals of bravery for outstanding service during their six-month tour in Afghanistan, the National Post has learned, but it could take as long as a year until they receive them.

Sources in the Department of National Defence say some of the military‘s highest decorations will be handed out to members of the Canadian battle group, which included the 3rd Battalion, Princess Patricia‘s Canadian Light Infantry, the Lord Strathcona‘s Horse, Royal Canadian Engineers and support personnel.

Lieutenant-Colonel Pat Stogran, the commander of the 850-member battle group, confirmed that at least 20 of the troops under his command have been recommended for medals.

But the lengthy approval process means the soldiers will not receive the awards for up to a year, and Lt.-Col. Stogran said it was unfortunate that the decorations take such a long time to approve.

"Our system should be a little more timely. It‘s almost anti-climactic by the time we get our medals. So much for positive reinforcement," he told the Post.

"For the Americans, they‘re decorated in theatre: Strike when the metal is hot -- so to speak -- for positive reinforcement." Sources say Lt.-Col. Stogran has himself been recommended for a decoration, one of the highest awards for officers in the Canadian Forces.

Defence sources say his troops have been recommended for decorations such as the Medal for Bravery, Mention in Dispatches and the Meritorious Service Cross for actions above and beyond the regular call of duty.

Sources say some of those medals will be given to the Canadian snipers whose performance during Operation Anaconda so impressed their U.S allies they were nominated for Bronze Stars.

Other awards will be handed out for the actions of soldiers during the aftermath of the friendly fire incident that left four Canadian soldiers dead and eight wounded, and for troops on the Canadian offensive operations Harpoon and Khost.

Major-General Steve Lucas, the chief of staff of administration and human resources for the Canadian Forces, would not say whether medals or decorations are being considered for Afghan veterans. "We have not had a session concerning these type of awards yet," said Maj.-Gen. Lucas, who is the chairman of the committee that decides on honours and awards.

Maj.-Gen. Lucas was one of those who decided on awarding the South West Asia Service Medal (SWASM) for all the personnel involved in Operation Apollo. To date, only a handful of the SWASM medals have been given out: the Governor-General awarded them to a token 29 soldiers who recently returned from the region this summer. Around 7,000 of the service medals will eventually be given out.

© Copyright 2002 National Post
 

combat_medic

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Is this a surprise to ANYONE?!?!

In my unit, we just handed out the Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medals last spring, and they should‘ve been sent 2 years before. Also, how many people here can say that they got their CD on time? Anyone? Maybe it‘s just in the reserves, but usually they‘re between 6 months to 3 years late, even if they‘re ordered a year early.
 

Gunner

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To a certain extent, I prefer the CF way of awarding medals. In essence, units make their recommendation and it is supported/not supported through the chain of command. The CF Honours and Awards committee judges the merits of each application against a standard criteria. This does take time, but, hopefully those who deserve it will get it and the award isn‘t watered down.

I‘m sure LCol Stogran thinks that 20 of his officers/soldiers deserve the MSC, MB, MiD, etc, but according to the CF definition that the honours and awards committee will use, they may not get it.

Perhaps I‘m a traditionalist and I don‘t like to see the current climate of tossing honours and awards at soldiers just so they feel good about themselves. I use as an example teh Commander in Chief Unit Commendation. How many ships/units are going to get it for Op APOLLO...any wagers?
 
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aa

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Generally speaking, I agree with you. The question is whether or not the delay is a reasonable one caused by making an appropriate review, or an unreasonable one caused by administrative inefficiency or politics (as in the case of the Somalia medal). I‘m sure there are cases of both.

The awards systems does seem to have been watered down somewhat over the years (I mean, come on, they gave me a medal for serving in GERMANY???). The British equivalent (near as I can tell) of the SSM is the General Service Medal which was awarded for such operations as Northern Ireland, Malaya, Borneo, etc. Hardly a reasonable comparison to Germany and Alert. There will also always be the debates about who is eligible for medals (the old stories of people flying in on an "inspection" for just long enough to qualify, or of NDHQ staff being given the MSC for doing the staff work for an operation)

Of course, just like the "battle school was harder in MY day" argument, I‘m sure people have been saying this forever..........and I‘ve heard the same thing from friends in a number of other armies too
 

combat_medic

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What about people who got the Former Yugoslavia medal who served in a headquarters in Italy and never set foot in Former Yugoslavia? Do they deserve a medal?
 

Michael Dorosh

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This is nothing new, and if anyone has any constructive advice to give those responsible for issuing the medals, do so now. You would think rewarding troops in a timely manner would be a priority, but sadly, it isn‘t. So where does the problem lie, and how do we fix it?

I did get a kick out of the photo of the Navy NCM on the cover of Maple Leaf with her new medal. My CSM here in the Highlanders commented that it must have been rough for her, humping a Carl G up and down those hills in Afghanistan, with 100 pound loads and 40 degree heat.

I think he was being sarcastic. :rolleyes: :D
 

Gunner

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Hey, listen guys, there are three topics here.

First, most of the SWA Medals will be issued by Xmas. That isn‘t bad for a Roto 0 inwhich a medal must be designed, approved, produced and distributed. In our environment of consultation, I don‘t view this as that bad.

Secondly, the SWA Medal is issued to everyone involved in Op APOLLO. Those in the actual theatre of operations (3 PPCLI BG, SLOC, Navy, Air Force) get an "Afghanistan" Bar. We all signed the dotted line when we joined. Some have easier jobs than otehrs, but in the end we all should be focussed on the same mission. Who‘s come back to base camp after a ****ty patrol in the middle of the night and the the cooks have stayed up preparing coffee and a late meal. They don‘t stick their *** out on the line, but they have a very important role. Moreover, ask 3 PPCLI (less snipers) how many Al Queda or Taliban they killed or captured? How many for the Navy? Guess who has a higher "body" count and making the world safe for our kids? I hope that navy NCM wears his/her medal with as much pride as a soldier from 3 PPCLI and the staff officer in Tampa. They were all members of the same team trying to accomplish the same mission.

Third, other medals/awards/citations for bravery, service, etc. I don‘t disagree that they should be presented in a timelier manner, but what steps do you take out to increase teh speed of presentation?
 

Michael Dorosh

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Gunner - you are right of course; as a clerk in an infantry company I have pulled my share of easy duty while the grunts have been freezing/sweating/miserable. I think it just speaks for the need for something comparable to the US Combat Infantry Badge or German Infanteriesturmabzeichen. Even a WW II vet will tell you that the guys who landed at Dieppe, stormed the Hitler Line at point of bayonet, or charged German MG positions in the Scheldt got the same rack of medals as the dude at CMHQ who ordered paper clips.

How‘s that for constructive? ;)

I don‘t doubt the Navy chick missed her family while on deployment in the Gulf, and certainly she earned her medal. Still, it‘s just seems to downgrade the achievements of those who were in mortal danger (not to mention doing their bodies serious harm by carrying heavy loads in severe climate conditions...when these guys are pensioners, I wonder how many will be feeling the effects on their bodies?) rather than eating ice cream in the galley. This too is nothing new. Not that a CIB will help them with their arthritis when they are pensioners, either, but it would be nice to see them get their due - as has been/is the custom in other armies.

Those Bronze Star medals might have helped redress the imbalance a little...what ever became of that? I would hate to think that because one of them yelled at a chaplain, that the Canadian awards that were going to replace the Bronze Stars were also abandoned?
 

John Nayduk

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Interesting idea of a C.I.B. but how would you define the criteria for it? Take the Former Yugoslavia. During UNPROFOR lots of guys got shot at regularly. Would they get the badge? Now with IFOR, the guys patrol but rarely is there a shot fired in angry. Does getting shot at during UNPROFOR qualify equally to the guy getting shot at in Afghanistan? I don’t mind the idea of giving a little extra to the guys on the pointy end but how would we do it?
 

Michael Dorosh

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I think rather than a combat badge, why not a modification to the trades badge?

To qualify, you would have had to serve in a combat arms subunit (meaning that drivers, medics, clerks, etc. would qualify, but only if they were directly employed in, or attached to, an infantry company, pioneer platoon, armoured squadron, engineer squadron, armoured or recce squadron, or artillery/air defence battery that was employed "in the field").

The trades badges already identify what trade a member is employed in currently. Why not modify the badge as follows:

If employed on a peacekeeping mission for one month (or if wounded/injured during before that qualifying time elapses), your trades badge gets a UN blue surround (ie piping around the edge of the badge).

If employed on a peacemaking operation (Somalia, IFOR - ie not peacekeeping but an operation short of full blown combat), you get a maroon surround.

If employed in a war fighting operation (Gulf War, Afghanistan) for at least one month (or are wounded during the qualifying period), a scarlet surround.

You would only get one trades badge so altered - if you did two tours in Cyprus then fought in Afghanistan, you would get the scarlet edged badge. The tours in Cyprus are already noted by your campaign medals.

The trades badge would be for the trade the soldier was employed in during these duties.

What this would signal, then, is employment as a, say, infantryman in a hostile enviroment.

At the risk of looking like the boyscouts, if you changed trades after serving in an infantry company in combat, and say remustered to supply tech. You would keep the unpiped supply tech badge in the position normally worn as a "current trade" and on the opposite arm, you would get to keep the piped badge showing the trade you "saw action" in.

You would only be entitled to two badges maximum - one to reflect your current trade, and one to reflect past peacekeeping or combat service.

This would only be useful for ranks of Private to Sergeant, but perhaps WO and up could wear a miniature of the piped badge above the ribbon bar?

What this does is show at a glance that a guy has been in combat, or actual operations, as an infantryman, say. Currently, a soldier wearing the infantry trades badge and the UNPROFOR medal could likely have earned his medal as a clerk in Italy, or a cook in a Yugoslavian headquarters, and remustered to the infantry afterwards.

Just a dumb suggestion, but surely something could be done. The Americans had a big problem with introducing the Combat Infantry Badge because initially the combat medics -attached directly to rifle companies in WW II - were not eligible for them, despite putting their lives at risk as much as, or more, than the infantrymen.

There is still the problem of criteria, I realize - ie how do you quantify how much a person has been shot at, etc., but I don‘t suppose that matters much. The difference between the infantryman in Afghanistan - carrying his rucksack up and down the hills - and the seaman doing equally important work for 8 hours a day in a climate controlled ship - isn‘t recognized currently by the medal or even the trades badge.

Thrown out for discussion knowning full well some may hate it. That‘s ok, but let‘s hear some other suggestions in that case.
 
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Capt Whammo

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Hey all,

Just a few questions about our troops deployed for OP Athena:

Are OP Athena members eligible for the Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal?

Are the OP Athena members deployed to Camp Mirage eligible for the General Campaign Star?

There seems to be very little info regarding this, cheers.

B.R. Jacobs
 

Armymedic

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If you are military, there are CANFORGENs able to answer these exact questions.

If your not military, google search CANFORGENs and it'll give you th page for them. ( I am currently on a din computer so I can't link them to you)

look under:

CANFORGEN 092/04 ADM(HR-MIL) 050 071956Z JUL 04
GENERAL CAMPAIGN STAR AND GENERAL SERVICE MEDAL
 

KevinB

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FWIW,

Here in Kabul - we were told troops who did not have the CPSM woudl be elligible - for ISAF is a PSO not warfighting.

The people in support missions (Mirage etc.) get the General Service Medal.

 
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ModlrMike

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Capt Whammo said:
Are OP Athena members eligible for the Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal?

Are the OP Athena members deployed to Camp Mirage eligible for the General Campaign Star?

There seems to be very little info regarding this, cheers.

1. Currently, Op Apollo is not listed as an eligable mission. However, as the GCS is awarded for "Canadian Forces who deploy into a defined theatre of operations to take part in operations in the presence of an armed enemy." One might think that neither peace keeping nor peace making are being carried out. As the CPSM is awarded for Chapter VI missions, and Afghanistan is a Chapter VII mission, it probably does not qualify. Ref: http://www.forces.gc.ca/hr/dhh/engraph/faqs_e.asp?category=cpsm&FaqID=3#answer

2. No, they are to be awarded the General Service Medal, along with those civilians employed in Afganistan. Ref: http://www.forces.gc.ca/hr/dhh/engraph/faqs_e.asp?category=gcsgsm&FaqID=97#answer

3. There's plenty of info if you look hard enough for it.   ;)
 

Gunner

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Someone asked the question awhile back if you were entitled to a GCS and a CPSM if you deployed on Op ATHENA.  It seemed that most of the answers were positive however I had heard that you would not.  I finally found the CANFORGEN that states that you are NOT eligible.

CANFORGEN 094/04 ADMHRMIL 052 071711Z JUL 04
ISAF+FIAS BAR TO THE GENERAL CAMPAIGN STAR AND GENERAL SERVICE MEDAL
UNCLASSIFIED


REFS: A. CANFORGEN 106/00 ADMHRMIL 064 081930Z SEP 00
B. CANFORGEN 092/04 ADMHRMIL 050 071956Z JUL 04
C. CANFORGEN 153/03 ADMHRMIL 073 221755Z DEC 03



HER EXCELLENCY THE GOVERNOR GENERAL HAS ANNOUNCED THE APPROVAL OF THE ISAF+FIAS BAR TO THE GENERAL CAMPAIGN STAR (GCS) AND GENERAL SERVICE MEDAL (GSM)


THE ISAF+FIAS BAR TO THE GCS IS AWARDED TO CF MBRS AND MBRS OF ALLIED ARMED FORCES WORKING WITH THE CF WHO SERVED WITH ISAF FOR AT LEAST 30 CUMULATIVE DAYS BETWEEN 24 APR 03 AND A TERMINATION DATE TO BE DETERMINED, IN THE THEATRE OF OPS WHICH CONSISTS OF THE POLITICAL BOUNDARIES AND AIRSPACE OF AFGHANISTAN


AIRCREW FLYING INTO THE AREA OF OPS WILL ACCUMULATE ONE DAY S SVC FOR THE FIRST SORTIE FLOWN ON ANY GIVEN DAY, ADDITIONAL SORTIES FLOWN ON THE SAME DAY RECEIVE NO FURTHER CREDIT. HOWEVER, EACH DAY OR PARTS THEREOF SPENT IN OR OVER THE AREA OF OPS WILL BE COUNTED AS ONE FULL DAY


THE ISAF+FIAS BAR TO THE GSM IS AWARDED TO THE FOL PERS:


CDN CITIZENS OTHER THAN CF MBRS WHO WORKED WITH THE CF AND SERVED WITH ISAF FOR AT LEAST 30 CUMULATIVE DAYS BETWEEN 24 APR 03 AND A DATE TO BE DETERMINED, IN THE THEATRE OF OPS WHICH CONSISTED OF THE POLITICAL BOUNDARIES AND AIRSPACE OF AFGHANISTAN


CF MBRS, OTHER CDN CITIZENS AND MBRS OF ALLIED ARMED FORCES WORKING WITH THE CF WHO SERVED IN THE FOL LOCATIONS FOR AT LEAST 90 DAYS IN DIRECT SP, ON A FULL-TIME BASIS, OF ISAF:

(1) LOGISTICAL SUPPORT IN TARANTO, ITALY FROM 1 MAY 03

(2) INTERIM STAGING BASE (ISB) IN ISTANBUL, TURKEY FROM 2 JUN 03

(3) NATIONAL SUPPORT ELEMENT (NSE) IN CAMP MIRAGE FROM 17 AUG 03


THE BAR WILL BEAR THE INSCRIPTIONS QUOTE ISAF UNQUOTE AND QUOTE FIAS UNQUOTE SEPARATED BY A NATO STAR


APPLICATIONS SHALL BE MADE IAW THE REFS A AND B


CF PERS SERVING IN SWA IN OTHER OPS THAN ISAF DO NOT QUAL FOR THIS BAR BUT MAY QUAL FOR THE SWASM, REF C REFERS


[size=10pt]ISAF SVC DOES NOT QUALIFY FOR AWARD OF EITHER THE SSM (NATO) OR THE CPSM [/size]


FURTHER INFO, INCL FAQ S, APPLICATION FORM ETC, IS AVAL ON THE DHH DIN WEBSITE (HR.OTTAWA-HULL.MIL.CA/DHH) UNDER HONOURS AND AWARDS SECTION
 

KevinB

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Oh Well such is life
anyway, I earned my CPSM the hard way - In Cyprus  ;D
 

Infanteer

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Mine was even harder; the Cafe Alhambra in downtown Bihac... :D
 
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c4th

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I thought we were going to campaign medals because everyone who is going to get them already has the other tour medals.

:)
 
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