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Campaign Medal Recognition for Personnel Deployed to West Africa

Military Personnel serving with the Joint Helicopter Command Chinook Detachment deployed in Mali, to support the French counter insurgency Op Barkhane have begun receiving a campaign medal. 

The first presentation of the medals was made at RAF Odiham by Air Vice-Marshal Alan Gillespie CBE, the  Air Officer Commanding 2 Group RAF.  He presented medals to five personnel drawn from the Odiham based flying squadrons and the ground support elements. 

Op Barkhane campaign medal

Group Captain Capt Nick Knight OBE, the Station Commander at RAF Odiham and Commander RAF Chinook Force said: “this is a well deserved recognition of all the hard work that Joint Helicopter Command  personnel have carried out over several years now, in arduous and challenging conditions, to support the French Operations in the Sahel region.  It is a testament to their training and professionalism that they continue to successful carry out the tasks assigned to them on this operation.” 

The award of the campaign medal has been recently graciously approved by Her Majesty The Queen and is the General Service Medal (2008) with clasp ‘Western Africa’.  This medal will recognise the service of personnel from all three services, who have served on Operation Newcombe with the CH-47 Chinook detachment that is providing a combat support heavy lift capability to the French operation. 

The medal will be issued to all personnel who have served for 30 days continuously or who have aggregated 45 days service in the Sahel region of Western and Northern Africa, between 20 Feb 18 and a date to be decided with the Chinook detachment.  The award of the medal is to recognise the hardships and dangers which have accompanied service on the operation.  

Chinhook lifting freight from an airfield

The Chinook detachment is formed of 1310 Flight plus other supporting Joint Helicopter Command elements including the Tactical Supply Wing and Joint Helicopter Support Squadron amongst others  

The personnel of 1310 Flight RAF are mainly drawn in rotation from 18 (B) Sqn or 27 Sqn both of which are normally based at RAF Odiham, the home of the RAF Chinook Force.  The RAF flight is fully integrated into the French, Groupement Tactique Désert-Aérocombat which in turn provides the aviation support for the French ground mission in the region. 

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