OBE for officer behind first successful Mali mission

The Commanding Officer responsible for leading the first Long Range Reconnaissance Group (LRRG) in Mali, as part of United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilisation Mission (MINUSMA) in the country, is to be made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the latest Operational Awards List.

Looking back on what we managed to achieve in a short period, and the successes of the following two rotations, I think the entire Recce Group has got an enormous amount to be proud of. Lt Col Robinson

Catterick-based Lieutenant Colonel Thomas Robinson, planned the deployment to, and then led the Light Dragoons on the British Army’s first operational tour in Mali, known as Operation NEWCOMBE.

His citation says: “He trained and mentored a force of over 250, including a Task Group HQ of 40 junior staff officers, from no fewer than 18 different cap badges and 13 capabilities. In conjunction with the Field Army, he designed a training pathway to integrate core skills of light cavalry and infantry sub-units to create a force capable of delivering the highest quality operational effect to the UN.”

Lt Col Robinson said of the deployment: “After 18 months of designing the task force and training for the deployment, the first time we deployed the entire group on patrol was a hugely significant moment. But the defining element was the genuine welcome and support we had from the local people and the sense that we were, in a very tangible way, providing them security by deterring attacks by armed groups and bandits.”

Lt Col Robinson, who has been in the Army for 21 years and served on five operational tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, said: “We all knew that we had a real responsibility to set our successors up for success and serve the UN to the best of our ability.

“Looking back on what we managed to achieve in a short period, and the successes of the following two rotations, I think the entire Recce Group has got an enormous amount to be proud of.”

The Armed Forces Operational Awards List Number 57 is published in the London Gazette at 0001hrs 13 May 2022.  It includes awards in respect of worldwide operations for the period from 1 April 2021-30 September 2021.

Read the Army List here