IT WAS a moment of pride that saw ordinary workers get the recognition they deserve for serving their country.
Members of the territorial army were given medals by Lord Mayor Frank Jonas at the TA’s centre in Peronne Road, Hilsea.
Seven of them gave up their day jobs and left their families to spend six months serving in Afghanistan.
The soldiers, all members of D Company Princess of Wales’ Royal Regiment (PWRR), based in nearby Peronne Close, were given Afghanistan service medals.
And 19 soldiers from 128 Company REME received Queen’s Diamond Jubilee medals for five years of service in the TA, as well as three soldiers from PWRR receiving this honour.
Warrant Officer Class 2 Shane Marriott, 42, a builder from Horndean, spent six months helping to train the Afghan army.
He said: ‘It’s essential in my life to deploy – just to get a taste of what’s going on.
‘You can take so much from the papers, but actually to serve and be part of it, is massive.
‘A lot of it comes down to common sense and using initiative.
‘It’s the best way of seeing both worlds. Looking back it’s worked out really well. I have been blessed with two lives.’
His girlfriend Penny Martin, 38, said: ‘I am so proud of him.’
Major Ian Stott, a 47-year-old electronic engineer from Waterlooville, was deployed to Kabul and ran multinational teams to train the country’s army.
He said: ‘It closes the whole operation. It’s great to get a medal – it’s something that makes you remember and I’m very proud to get it.’
Shortly after arriving home, Major Stott was deployed to help with security at the Olympic Games.
He added: ‘It’s very valuable to keep the reserve forces.’
Others getting the Afghan medals were Colour Sergeant Nigel Munday, 46, from Southsea, Lance Corporal John Harvey, 41, from Waterlooville, Lance Corporal Matthew Sampson, 26, from Bordon, Lance Corporal Kevin Morrison, 45, from Portsmouth, and Lance Corporal Darren Hawkins, 42, from Portsmouth.