OTTAWA – The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, today announced changes to the South-West Asia Service Medal (SWASM), the General Campaign Star (GCS) and the General Service Medal (GSM). These changes were introduced following a major review of all recognition provided for overseas service in order to simplify and standardize overseas recognition for Canadian Forces (CF) personnel. The creation of a formal device to recognize those who serve multiple rotations in missions eligible for the SWASM, the GCS and the GSM was key in this review.
“We are grateful to all of our Canadian Forces personnel for their bravery and dedication,” said Minister MacKay. “The changes announced today allow the Government of Canada to acknowledge the individual experience of men and women who deploy on operations with the recognition they so richly deserve.”
Rotation bars have been created to mark multiple rotations in missions eligible for the three medals. Personnel will earn a rotation bar emblazoned with a maple leaf for each period of 180 days of eligible service accumulated after the initial qualifying period of 30 days. With the addition of rotation bars, mission bars will no longer be worn on the GCS and GSM. Instead, the medals will be displayed on ribbons that indicate the theatre or service for which the medal was awarded. This ensures that all service in a defined theatre of operations is accorded the same recognition, regardless of the mission.
Additional changes include an adjustment in the criteria to receive the GSM for a support function, from 90 to 30 days, and the establishment of three distinct ribbons for the GCS and GSM. The South-West Asia ribbon, the Allied Force ribbon to replace the Allied Force bar and the Expedition ribbon to recognize smaller operations conducted in the presence of an armed enemy.
The General Campaign Star is awarded to CF personnel, and members of allied forces working with the CF, who deploy into a defined theatre of operations to take part in operations in the presence of an armed enemy.
The General Service Medal is awarded to CF personnel, members of allied forces and Canadian citizens other than CF personnel serving with the CF who deploy outside of Canada - but not necessarily into a theatre of operations - to provide direct support to operations in the presence of an armed enemy.
The South-West Asia Service Medal recognizes the participation of CF personnel deployed or in direct support of the operations against terrorism in South-West Asia. Eligibility for the SWASM ends as of 31 July 2009 and all service in theatre from 1 August 2009 onwards is eligible for either the General Campaign Star or General Service Medal with South-West Asia ribbon.
Changes to Recognition for Overseas Service