FAMILIES watched on proudly as 60 soldiers were awarded medals for a six month campaign in Afghanistan.
The Operational Service Medal was given in recognition of their recent Helmand province tour of duty, which saw the 100 strong 21 Gibraltar Battery, from 47 Regiment Royal Artillery, operate ‘eyes in the sky’ surveillance aircraft, saving lives on the ground.
The parade took place at their Thorney Island base, near Emsworth, in front of Major General Robert Weighill.
He said: ‘It is a great privilege to present these medals on Thorney Island on a glorious day.’
He added: ‘21 Gibraltar Battery has performed magnificently and your reputation and achievements go far beyond the UAS (Unmanned Aircraft Systems) community.’
Among those on parade was Captain Heather Stanning, who won Great Britain’s first gold medal at the 2012 Olympics for rowing.
She said: ‘I’m extremely proud to have deployed with my colleagues and as serving officer this was my chance to be tested on operations. It is what I joined the army to do.’
Children of the troops were also awarded their own mini medals in recognition of the separation from their parents.