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Operational Service Medal for Afghanistan


Silver and circular in shape. The obverse of the medal shows the crowned effigy of Queen Elizabeth. The reverse (shown here) bears the Union Flag, surrounded by the inscription 'For Operational Service' and the four major points of the compass, with four Coronets: Royal (top left), Naval (top right), Mural-Army (bottom left), and Astral-Royal Air Force (bottom right).


'Afghanistan'. Awarded with the Medal for service specifically in Afghanistan. When the ribbon alone is worn, a silver rosette denotes award of the Clasp.


A broad central red stripe, flanked each side by a stripe of royal blue and one of light blue, to represent the three services, with an outer stripe of light brown to reflect the landscape of Afghanistan.

Qualifying criteria

Complex criteria govern the award of this medal, with varying lengths of service required depending on the operation and location.

About the OSM

The new Operational Service Medal (OSM) was introduced on 1 January 2000 and at the same time the General Service Medal (GSM) was discontinued, with the exception of the award of the GSM for Northern Ireland.

Since its introduction, three OSMs have been issued: for service in Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Although each OSM will look the same, separate ribbons will denote each separate award.

A Clasp may be awarded with the OSM to signify service in a more dangerous area or period of conflict.