Posted on February 15, 2019
Those to be awarded include RAF Reaper crews, based at RAF Waddington in Lincolnshire, and Creech Air Force Base in Nevada. This is the first time that Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems crews have received formal recognition with a medal. Ground crew serving at RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, from 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 are able to conduct air strikes over Iraq and Syria, through their maintenance, engineering and weapons technician skills. Last year Her Majesty The Queen approved the extension of the eligibility criteria for the medal to new groups of personnel.
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. Despite recent success over the last year, the operation continues and fast jets continue to fly out of RAF Akrotiri and remotely-piloted Reaper aircraft continue to provide support to the Syrian Democratic Forces on the ground who are clearing the last remaining pockets of Daesh terrorists in Eastern Syria.