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RPAS Gongs

Old 3rd Sep 2017, 14:29
  #41 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by The B Word View Post
From Mr Ripley's link:


I agree, give the RPAS pilots, sensor ops and MICs campaign medals for goodness sake. Either that or stop dishing them out to those engineers loafing about in a nice austere base miles away from any action - touche techie?
Touché indeed - the report makes for interesting reading and it would be more interesting to read an updated version now we're 5 years down the line. It even mentions RPAS operators and the like and also the campaign support medal for those not directly involved.

Question for those who support the idea of the same campaign medal as those in country - what would the qualifying criteria be for a drone pilot?
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Old 3rd Sep 2017, 18:36
  #42 (permalink)  
 
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Hi Techie

I would suggest for RPAS crews it would be a set number of operational missions. Plucking a figure out of my rear I would go for 30 op sorties for Afghanistan in recognition of the 30 days qualification for the OSM?

The B Word
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Old 3rd Sep 2017, 19:38
  #43 (permalink)  
 
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Sounds reasonable. I'll be intrigued to see what they come up with in the end.

Just to add to the touché, one medal I'm glad I never qualified for was the Libya one - had a few techies on the squadron who qualified by flying 5 tanking sorties down to the coast off Libya and back again whilst eating, sleeping and watching movies for 8 hours a time. Not convinced about the risk and rigour there...
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Old 3rd Sep 2017, 20:10
  #44 (permalink)  
 
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Handbags at dawn!
I suggest that the whole UK gong award system has been unbalanced since the times of Blackadder series 1. . Pity that some seem to need to slag other's awards though?

OAP
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Old 3rd Sep 2017, 22:21
  #45 (permalink)  
 
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Truly, it has always been a muddle for aircrew not based in the territory in conflict. I do have a (undeserved) Gulf 90/91 medal from Akrotiri, but I don't have a clasp to my Iraq medal, despite having spent many months on the ground with incoming fires day and night. Go figure.
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Old 3rd Sep 2017, 23:56
  #46 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by Onceapilot View Post
Handbags at dawn!
I suggest that the whole UK gong award system has been unbalanced since the times of Blackadder series 1. . Pity that some seem to need to slag other's awards though?

OAP
No slagging of the award or the personnel receiving it - as with my own awards, I met the criteria and have been awarded them by the Queen so I shall wear them as required regardless of my own opinions, and should everyone else. My issue, as with this current situation, stands with those who invent the criteria to begin with. As Camelspyder says below, aircrew are a particular thorn in the side. As the 2012 report states, and as I said, earlier, you will never get it right as everyone has their own opinions and it's all entirely subjective. I enjoy the discussion and hearing other's viewpoints and rationale behind them - i try and avoid name-calling and personal attacks such as theuglyfendoff's which caused his first post in 6 years...


Originally Posted by camelspyyder View Post
Truly, it has always been a muddle for aircrew not based in the territory in conflict. I do have a (undeserved) Gulf 90/91 medal from Akrotiri, but I don't have a clasp to my Iraq medal, despite having spent many months on the ground with incoming fires day and night. Go figure.
19th March - 28th April 2003 for the clasp - no wonder they're surprisingly rare. Used to be a fair few people on the kipper fleet with the Afghan OSM but no clasp - several on my presentation parade at Brize receiving just the clasp to add to it after going back with other fleets.
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Old 4th Sep 2017, 11:02
  #47 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by H Peacock View Post
Should have worked harder at school!!!
Ever worked with Yanks? Probably not my guess...
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Old 4th Sep 2017, 11:07
  #48 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by RAF_Techie101 View Post
Sounds reasonable. I'll be intrigued to see what they come up with in the end.

Just to add to the touché, one medal I'm glad I never qualified for was the Libya one - had a few techies on the squadron who qualified by flying 5 tanking sorties down to the coast off Libya and back again whilst eating, sleeping and watching movies for 8 hours a time. Not convinced about the risk and rigour there...
That's not an activity without risk...
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Old 4th Sep 2017, 12:21
  #49 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by gijoe View Post
That's not an activity without risk...
...I don't ask for a medal every time I get on an aircraft.


Chinooks included...
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Old 4th Sep 2017, 20:15
  #50 (permalink)  
 
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Originally Posted by RAF_Techie101 View Post
...I don't ask for a medal every time I get on an aircraft.


Chinooks included...
Again, you slag others. I suggest you troll off.

OAP
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Old 4th Sep 2017, 22:12
  #51 (permalink)  
 
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Clockwork Mouse,

A cogent argument, and one that I am broadly in agreement with.

The way we control and conduct operations has changed dramatically in the last couple of decades. ... 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!

... 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 ... 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.
What I would say however, is that your system of tying awards to operational effort vice geographical location does unintentionally run the risk of the profligacy you seek to avoid. If we go down that route, where does it stop? RPAS crews get awards - fine. But then what about the Sqn support staff? Or even Stn staff? Before you know it you end up with all sorts of folk who are doing their jobs but with only tangential impact to live ops getting operations medals. To do otherwise would be divisive, so I can see entire units being annotated as supporting ops when in reality their job would be no different if the sqns were or weren't deployed.

As I've suggested before, I think the answer is straight forward for deployed personnel. Either go down the route of an OSM with clasp / no clasp for service inside or outside the specific area of hostilities. Or a separate award to differentiate between those fighting and those supporting, but all still within the JOA. This could be as simple as a split OSM / GSM, or you could introduce a separate Ops Support medal - I believe the Canadians have done something similar. That way there's a definite distinction whilst recognising those deployed in places like Al Udeid, the Falklands, afloat on Kipion etc.

How you resolve the issue of personnel in the UK or outside the JOA, well that's the harder more divisive issue. But if we say it's awarded for supporting named operations then that's everyone at PJHQ looking for an award along with other similar places like AWC, opening up the issue of profligacy.

Last edited by Melchett01; 5th Sep 2017 at 00:19.
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Old 5th Sep 2017, 07:34
  #52 (permalink)  
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Why not campaign stars?
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Old 5th Sep 2017, 13:25
  #53 (permalink)  
 
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I took part in a recent conflict as a staff officer, posted in from my unit for the duration. Although I visited the Theatre briefly, my post was in the JHQ from which the operation was commanded. My 6 months detachment there was very intense, high pressure and at considerable personal inconvenience. I worked very long hours deep underground and never saw daylight, but I slept for much of the time in a comfortable hotel and was never in harms way. My efforts were considered to have made a significant contribution to the success of the operation to the extent that I subsequently shook hands with the Queen when she pinned a gong on me. However, despite my contribution, I and my fellow workers did not receive the campaign medal for the operation we had taken part in. MoD civilians, who were stationed within theoretical missile range of the enemy but had no involvement in the operation, did receive it. That does not make sense to me.
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Old 20th Sep 2017, 03:52
  #54 (permalink)  
 
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Whatever the qualifying criteria for rpas Aircrew it would be met quickly and exceeded by a country mile given how much they fly (missions/hours/years).

I see why the simplistic approach to awards has been carried on but, as many have said, it doesn't work anymore (and for some time). It seems a tough pill to swallow historically for those in posts directly supporting ops (pjhq/op hq). However, i believe the rpas issue becomes much more divisive as you now have aircrew flying an aircraft in theatre providing now the majority (or close to it) of all air effects (a figure that will only increase). So no comeback/counter-arguments on them being in a support role from somewhere else and therefore not 'actively' taking part. They are the directly supported asset! The fact you can have aircrew in a FJ doing a CAS role one moment and then the next year (assuming posted and retrained!) they are doing the same role but flying an rpas. The second getting no official recognition is where this is now too divisive and wrong.

I understand those who think medallic recognition probably gets too much attention/thought. It has a wider morale component, however, to those treated as second-class citizens for doing exactly the same job as their legacy manned bretherin.

It has to be more complicated to give greater credibility to the result. Something like a tiered system. Tier one for directly involved in ops (that would include rpas btw!). Tier 2 for all those supporting those directly involved. A clasp for those tier one guys/girls in country to recognise extra physical risk? I'm not going to dip into the discussion on where hq elements would sit within that tiered system!

I didn't realise there was a currency. Sorry, been a bit busy.

Thought Tristar ground-crew guys has thicker skins! Don't read between the lines 101 I wasn't calling you a moron. Just describing that particular comparison IMO..
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Old 20th Sep 2017, 15:25
  #55 (permalink)  
 
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Genstabler,


I can appreciate your point of view, but, have to defend my award (less the clasp) as a civilian working with the Services in a nearby territory. It involved long shifts, quite often all evening and into the night, and proved beneficial to our authorities in the overall result. No cushy hotel stay, either!
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Old 20th Sep 2017, 17:49
  #56 (permalink)  
 
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ValMorna
Sorry if you inferred from my post that I thought you and others like you did not deserve your award. I do not think that. However, I believe that others further away from danger but more involved in operations should also have received recognition. By the way the hotel may have been cushy but all I saw of it was my bed!
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Old 20th Sep 2017, 19:04
  #57 (permalink)  
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Remember that during WW 2 some serving never left UK and were never in danger but still got a medal.

An aunt, as a PBX operator in the MHQ in Birkenhead got nothing as a civilian. My mother, a nurse in India came home in 1941 with ships in convoy sunk en route. She was a civilian nurse - no medal. Her sister, as a SSgt in Cairo got 3 as well as trips to Luxor and Aswan and the leave centre in Cyprus.

There will always be some that should and don't and vica versa.
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Old 20th Sep 2017, 22:32
  #58 (permalink)  
 
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I'm sure we all agree that RPAS staff are due recognition, of some sort, for their part in the prosecution of the war effort.

However, we should try to guard against ending up like the USAF, where even the civvy cleaners have stripes and medals.
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Old 20th Sep 2017, 23:37
  #59 (permalink)  
 
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I am speaking with experience, I have operated both manned and unmanned platforms over the same theatres.
Do kinetic capable RPAS crews deserve recognition? Yes.
Do they deserve a medal? I personally do not think so, nor do I think any serviceman outside the theatre of operations warrants a medal.
A solution may be some form of RPAS medal, a single issue on completion of a full tour, otherwise in the current climate the medal count to RPAS crews would simply get ludicrous!
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Old 21st Sep 2017, 03:12
  #60 (permalink)  
 
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A solution may be some form of RPAS medal, a single issue on completion of a full tour, otherwise in the current climate the medal count to RPAS crews would simply get ludicrous![/QUOTE]

I really don't understand this, why would there be too many medals? I respect your opinion but the system needs to modernise and simply being in a geographic area of operations is completely unacceptable.

There are a vast number of misconceptions and ill informed opinions floating around on social media by people who really have no idea what life is like for an RPAS crew on operations permanently for years. The fact that we are still having these discussions and that the issue has not been resolved must be having a severe impact on the morale of a force that is already overworked, massively stressed and underrecognised for their contributions. The fact that they have not been included in this recent medal is deeply disappointing for all involved.
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