Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

September 08, 2010 13:15 ET

New Operational Service Medal Announced

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Sept. 8, 2010) - The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, is pleased to convey that Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II has approved the creation of the Operational Service Medal (OSM). The OSM will provide long-awaited recognition for certain military operations for which there were no medals available.

"Be it in Haiti, Africa or any of the operations our men and women in uniform are active in, Canada contributes to international stability and security by assisting those in need," said Minister MacKay. "As Canadian Forces members are sent abroad in the service of Canada, our new overseas recognition framework ensures that they receive the recognition that they deserve."

The OSM will be awarded to those who, on or after 7 October, 2001, served in a theatre of operations, but not in the presence of an armed enemy. Also eligible are those who worked in direct support of approved operations or served under dangerous circumstances outside Canada, provided the service has not been recognized through another service medal aside from the Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal where appropriate.

The OSM will be issued with different ribbons identifying specific theatres of operations, including South-West Asia, Sierra Leone (Op SCULPTURE), Haiti (Op HALO), and Sudan (Op AUGURAL). In addition, a Humanitas ribbon was created to recognize humanitarian service, which will include Canada's most recent relief efforts in Haiti (Op HESTIA) and an Expedition ribbon was created to cover smaller operations conducted in dangerous circumstances outside of Canada.

An inaugural presentation ceremony, presided over by the Governor General, will take place at a later date.

Notes to editor / news director: For more information on the OSM and on the creation of new honours, please visit the Rideau Hall website: http://www.gg.ca/

A fact sheet with pictures of the OSM is available at the following site: http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/news-nouvelles/news-nouvelles-eng.asp?cat=00

For more information on military honours, please visit the Department of National Defence Web site for CF Honours and Awards: http://www.cmp-cpm.forces.gc.ca/dhr-ddhr/index-eng.asp

The New Operational Service Medal

On 8 September, 2010, the Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada announced that Her Majesty the Queen approved the creation of the Operational Service Medal (OSM). This is the second announcement concerning improvements to the Canadian honours system following a major review of all recognition provided for overseas service.

The first announcement, which occurred on 17 March, 2010, announced theatre-specific ribbons and rotation bars to the South-West Asia Service Medal (SWASM), the General Campaign Star (GCS) and the General Service Medal (GSM) - the general service awards that recognize service performed in the presence of an armed enemy.

The creation of the OSM is a much-welcomed addition to the Canadian honours system as it fills a gap in the overseas recognition framework to provide recognition to operations (other than those conducted in the presence of an armed enemy) for which there were no medals available. The OSM will provide an appropriate form of recognition for service not recognized by other medals and will shorten the delay for recognition in the future. 

Eligibility and Criteria

The OSM will be awarded to CF members, members of allied forces on exchange with the CF, Canadian police officers and Canadian civilians working under the authority of the CF or Canadian Police Forces who, on or after 7 October, 2001, served in a theatre of operations, worked in direct support of approved operations or served under dangerous circumstances outside Canada provided the service has not been recognized through another service medal aside from the Canadian Peacekeeping Service Medal (CPSM) where appropriate.

Description

The Medal, which is silver in colour, consists of a circular medallion with an effigy of Her Majesty The Queen of Canada with the inscriptions "Elizabeth II Dei Gratia Regina" and "CANADA" on the obverse. A representation of the globe and crossed branches of laurel and oak leaves appear on the reverse.

Theatre-specific ribbons

Similar to the recently modified GSM and GCS, the OSM is issued with a ribbon specific to the theatre or type of service being recognized, and each ribbon has its own criteria. At this time, six ribbons have been created each requiring 30 days of accumulated eligible service:

SOUTH-WEST ASIA: intended primarily for non-CF service in this region from 7 October, 2001;

SIERRA LEONE: military service in that country from 31 July, 2002. Primarily intended for CF members who served with the British-led International Military Advisory and Training Team (IMATT) following the Lomé Peace Agreement (Op SCULPTURE);

HAITI: military service in that country from 6 March, 2004. Primarily intended for CF members who served with the US-led Multinational Interim Force (MIF) from 6 March to 16 August 2004 (Op HALO) as well as for direct support provided by the medical evacuation team in the Dominican Republic;

SUDAN: military service in that country from 15 September, 2004. Primarily intended for CF members who served with the African Union-led mission in Darfur from 15 September, 2004 to 31 December, 2007 (Op AUGURAL) as well as for direct support provided to the ops conducted in the Sudan from Ethiopia and Senegal;

HUMANITAS: replaces the HUMANITAS bar to the Special Service Medal (SSM) (which was reserved for CF members only) as of 1 August 2009. This new award will allow recognition of police personnel and Canadian civilians working with the CF or police on approved humanitarian missions from 1 August, 2009. Recipients of the SSM-H for humanitarian service performed before 1 August, 2009 retain their medal and may later earn this new medal if they meet the criteria. At this time, only humanitarian relief service following the earthquake in Haiti from 12 January, 2010 to 2 May, 2010 (Op HESTIA) is approved. Service in Haiti itself as well as support provided from Barahona, Dominican Republic, and Kingston, Jamaica, during that period is eligible; and

EXPEDITION: to cover smaller operations for which there are no medals available or service in dangerous circumstances outside of an existing theatre from 7 October, 2001. One mission has been approved so far for military service in the Middle East with the Office of the United States Security Coordinator (Op PROTEUS) from 3 May, 2005.

Rotation Recognition

Rotation bars are awarded for each period of 180 cumulative days of eligible service after qualification for the OSM or the last rotation bar the person has earned. 

Distribution

The Governor General will preside over an inaugural presentation ceremony at a later date after which general distribution will follow.

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