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Thread: RPAS Gongs
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Old 3rd Sep 2017, 13:28
  #40 (permalink)  
Clockwork Mouse
Join Date: Aug 2005
Location: North Yorkshire
Age: 78
Posts: 645
The way we control and conduct operations has changed dramatically in the last couple of decades. Though ground can only be taken and held with boots on the ground, enemies can be observed in real time, engaged and destroyed from thousands of miles away. Direct support of troops on the ground used to be the preserve of artillery and piloted close air support aircraft and helicopters. Now it is routinely provided by RPAS operators from the safety of the home country. The fact that those operators are not personally in harms way at the time does not diminish their vital contribution to the firefight and its tactical outcome and that should be recognised.

The current system of operational medals and awards has not kept up with the progress of delivering violence on our enemies. It is too geographically based, is no longer fit for purpose and needs updating. In principle I am generally in favour of parsimony, as opposed to profligacy, in the handing out of medals. I would not like us to emulate the Americans or North Koreans!

As an example of the illogicality, unfairness and divisiveness of the current system, the teachers in Cyprus received GW1 campaign medals, while servicemen and women who were directly involved in conducting operations were not.

The situation now is even more complicated and the purpose of operational medals urgently needs reviewing. It should be slanted towards including all those personnel making a direct contribution to a particular operation, regardless of their geographical location, while excluding those whose geographical location is currently the only criterion. RPAS operators should certainly be recognised for their involvement in combat operations. At the same time there must be a distinct recognition of those in the first category who were actually in harms way during the operation. Above all it should be credible and perceived as fair.

I do not believe it is difficult to devise a more modern procedure. Someone in MoD put a lot of time and effort into justifying a LSGC for officers, which many service personnel consider idiotic. I'm sure that the time and effort would be better spent bringing the operational medal award system into the 21st century.
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