19 January 2022
Military personnel involved in the biggest evacuation in 70 years to get medal and clasp.
It’s been announced by the Ministry of Defence that all service personnel from the Royal Navy, Army and RAF involved in the airlift that evacuated thousands of Afghans and British nationals from Afghanistan as the Taliban seized the country, are to receive a medal for their efforts. The medal will be the existing Operation Service Medal Afghanistan but it will come with a clasp titled ‘OPERATION PITTING’. Anyone who already has this medal will also have a clasp titled ‘AFGHANISTAN’ and will simply receive the new clasp to add to the medal’s ribbon.
During the operation the military provided food and water, clothing, medical supplies and hygiene products for evacuees and policed the airport alongside multiple forces from across the world. 16 Air Assault Brigade put 600 soldiers on the ground to provide force protection and logistical support to the vast operation at Kabul Airport. The RAF also completed a record-breaking flight with a passenger number of 439 on a Globemaster.
The operation ended on 28 August 2021 and resulted in the safe evacuation of over 15,000 people on 100 flights, from at least 38 different nations. This was a key part of a multi-national effort which secured the evacuation of over 122,000 people.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said, “Last August, the Armed Forces demonstrated true heroism, bravery and dedication by supporting Operation Pitting – a monumental effort to airlift over 15,000 vulnerable Afghans and British nationals from Afghanistan during a rapidly deteriorating humanitarian crisis. As the security situation worsened by the hour, our service men and women stepped up and delivered the largest British evacuation since the Second World War. They will rightly receive medallic recognition for their efforts.”
The OSM Afghanistan medal obverse shows the crowned effigy of Elizabeth II with the inscription ‘ELIZABETH II DEI GRATIA REGINA FID. DEF’. The reverse bears the Union Flag, surrounded by the inscription ‘FOR OPERATIONAL SERVICE’ and the four major points of the compass with, between the points, four Coronets: Royal (top left), Naval (Navy, top right), Mural (Army, bottom left), and Astral (Royal Air Force, bottom right).
The ribbon consists of a broad central red stripe, flanked each side by a stripe of navy blue and one of light blue, to represent the three services, with an outer stripe of light brown, to represent the Afghan landscape.
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