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British Army soldiers make United States Signal Corps history

In a ground-breaking event, the United States Signal Corps Regimental Association (SCRA) formally recognised three Royal Signals soldiers as they received the Bronze Order of Mercury at Blandford Camp, Dorset.

In a small ceremony Major Michael O’Hara, Warrant Officer Class 2 Christopher McGuire and Staff Sergeant Colin Jowett were congratulated for their integrity, moral character and professionalism whilst contributing significantly to the U.S. Signal Corps and the shared signal community.

“To be recognised with such a prestigious award like the Bronze Order of Mercury was an honour and a complete surprise, I can’t thank the U.S. Signal Corps Regimental Association enough." Staff Sergeant Colin Jowett, 13 Signal Regiment

The soldiers were selected in part for their long history of contribution and excellence in service to the Royal Signals. All recipients were engaged in coalition operations or worked directly with U.S. forces, integrating communications, and enabling the vital link between forces. 

Staff Sergeant Colin Jowett, serving with 13 Signal Regiment based at the home of the Royal Corps of Signals was one of those honoured by the Americans:

“To be recognised with such a prestigious award like the Bronze Order of Mercury was an honour and a complete surprise, I can’t thank the U.S. Signal Corps Regimental Association enough." 

Acknowledged for his work as a Legacy Blue System Engineer on a project to introduce a new Battlefield Management Application to Tri-Service Communications, he said:

“It took about 6 months from planning to execution during lockdown; we got the application to a point that it was used on Coalition Warrior Interoperability eXperiment 21, NATOs largest Interoperability exercise, and tested extensively on Joint Warrior Assessment 21.

“I had never been given any kind of commendation during 23 years of service and all I was doing was trying to help make something new work. I enjoyed the challenges with the new technology and the collaborative remote working with Elbit Israel who had designed the application we were working on.”

Each service person not only worked at the edge of the tactical and strategic spaces, pioneering new technologies and innovation, but each also gave back to the Royal Signals and U.S. Signal Corps both as formal instructors at the Initial Trade Training establishment, 11 (Royal School of Signals) Signal Regiment, and by providing direct training and mentorship to the services they were deployed with. 

Since the award’s inception in 1989 less than one percent of U.S. regimental members have received this honour. The award is typically bestowed by a member of the SCRA, a member of distinction of the Signal Regiment, or a previous recipient of the award.

The Royal Signals are leaders in IT, Cyber and Telecommunications, providing battle winning communications to every part of the Army. Founded in 1920 the Corps has deployed on every operation the Army has been involved in.