The latest Operational Honours and Awards list, Op List 51, has been published recognising conspicuous bravery and selfless service in the many operational theatres across the globe.
Lance Corporal Lewis Staton, 30, currently serving with 3 Armoured Close Support Battalion, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers is being recognised for his innovative work in improving the vehicle availability within the Ethiopian National Defence Force (ENDF)
“I am immensely proud of the work that LCpl Staton and the other team members did. They made a huge difference and Staton showed innovation and determination. Truly outstanding.” Lieutenant Colonel Tobias Lambert, Commanding Officer, 3 Bn REME
Lewis deployed to Somalia as part of a 46-man team to offer and deliver training to the Ethiopian National Defence Force and other soldiers from the African United Mission in Somalia. This involved overcoming languages obstacles and maintenance and supply issues relating to the ENDF’s three main battle tanks.
“The ENDF does not have many resources and poor resupplies,” said Lewis, adding that when their vehicles get damaged by Improvised Explosive Devices they are placed into a vehicle graveyard.
Lewis devised an impressive training package consisting of lessons and practical courses, resulting in the tanks being brought back into service to provide the ENDF with enhanced force protection. “Following the training and maximisation of skills and resources, the ENDF is more efficient in the repair and maintenance of military hardware,” said Lewis.
Lewis enlisted into the Army in 2011, joining the REME and is a qualified vehicle mechanic and physical training instructor. He has served in Germany and Canada, and undertaken operational tours in Cyprus and Somalia.
“Looking back, perhaps I should have joined earlier at 16 instead of 22,” says Lewis who has passed the tough Army Commando course. “I have no regrets about joining up and would encourage others to do so but you need to give it 100%. I am now looking forward to my next posting to the UK and spending quality time with my family.”
Father of two Lewis was stunned when he was told that he was awarded an MBE. “I really didn’t know what to say and it still hasn’t sunk in. I will probably need a while.”
The Commanding Officer of 3 Battalion REME, Lieutenant Colonel Toby Lambert said: “I am immensely proud of the work that LCpl Staton and the other team members did. They made a huge difference and Staton showed innovation and determination in designing training packages that allowed vehicles to become operational. Truly outstanding.”
Outside the UK, the largest number of UK Armed Forces personnel are currently training or on operations in Africa. The UK deploys several short-term military training teams to help build the capacity of national military forces, ensuring several states across Africa can respond appropriately and proportionally to the security threats they face, including terrorism, the illegal wildlife trade, violations of human rights and emerging humanitarian crises.
Operational Honours and Awards list
Member of the Order of the British Empire - MBE
Lance Corporal Lewis STATON, Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineers
Queen’s Commendation for Valuable Service - QCVS
Acting Lance Corporal Jacob Francis Campbell FISHER, Royal Army Medical Corps
Lieutenant Colonel Robert Sholto James HEDDERWICK, The Royal Regiment of Scotland,
Lieutenant Colonel Samuel David HUGHES, Corps of Royal Engineers
Staff Sergeant Patrick Robert Jean LIA, Corps of Royal Engineers
Lieutenant Colonel Owain David LUKE MBE, The Royal Welsh
Colonel Sion Duncan WALKER, Army Reserve
Queen’s Gallantry Medal – QGM
Sergeant Stuart Michael GRIFFITHS, Royal Tank Regiment
Corporal Saimone Matasarasara QASENIVALU, Royal Tank Regiment
Queen’s Commendation for Bravery – QCB
Lieutenant Colonel Craig PALMER, Royal Regiment of Artillery
The full list of award recipients is published in the London Gazette.