53 soldiers who deployed to Afghanistan on Op Toral and Iraq on Op Shader were presented with their medals in a small and unique ceremony. They were joined by other members of the Battalion, families and friends. Supporting them was a four-piece section from The Waterloo Band and Bugles of the Rifles and two Buglers.
The medals presentation took place in the Normandy Barracks Corporals’ Mess at the Battalion’s home in Aldershot. A total of 61 medals were presented with 8 individuals receiving two. These were presented by Major General Rupert Jones, Assistant Colonel Commandant of The RIFLES. Also witnessing the occasion and there to congratulate the soldiers was Brigadier Gus Fair, Commander of The Specialised Infantry Group.
Major General Jones addressed the troops with the following, “Firstly I’d like to thank the Commanding Officer for inviting me back to the Battalion, a Battalion I had the great pleasure of commanding 10 years ago, to present you with your medals. The Battalion is very dear to my heart, it’s very special, it has a genuinely unique character to it and it’s a real joy to return back to you. I commend you for the work you have done on your deployments, you’ve played a fantastic role in the development of the Specialised Infantry Group - well done!”
The Op Toral medals were presented to the soldiers who performed as mentors and advisors to the Afghan Forces in Mazar-E-Sharif, Afghanistan and the Op Shader medals to the Riflemen who performed as mentors and advisors to the Iraqi Security Forces in Taji, Iraq.
In addition, four Long Service and Good Conduct medals were presented. The medal recognises the exemplary service of the soldier over a 15-year period and dates back to 1830, so is the oldest medal still being awarded.