Medals for Duty in Foreign Theatres of Operations
The War Volunteer Medal
Awarded to Belgian or foreign civilians who served voluntarily in units of the Belgian armed forces in campaigns resulting from resolutions of the United Nations Security Council. This bronze medal was instituted on 7 April 1952 and, in case of actual combat, could be worn with a bar "PUGNATOR" on the ribbon (see also Belgian Korean War medals).
The Commemorative Medal for Armed Humanitarian Operations
This medal was instituted on 11 September 1987 for award to all Belgian military personnel who participated in one or more armed humanitarian operations in Congo-Zaire and Ruandi-Urundi since 1 July 1960 and showed impeccable conduct during these missions. The medal's reverse is entirely plain. Bars were created for some actions such as "DRAGON ROUGE", "DRAGON NOIR", "RED BEAM", "GREEN BEAM", "BLUE BEAM", "SILVER BACK" and "GREEN STREAM". Non-official bars for interventions in Congo, e.g. "AFRIKA 1960", "AFRIKA 1961" and "AFRIKA 1962" have also been encountered. From 7 May 2004 participants of the "MAMBA-ARTEMIS" operations on African soil (between 7 June and 20 September 2003) are also eligible to this medal (or a bar if they already hold it).
The Commemorative Medal for Foreign Missions or Operations
Awarded to recognize the meritorious services performed outside the Kingdom of Belgium whilst engaged in peacekeeping actions or humanitarian operations. Primarily destined for the military, accompanying civilians are also eligible for this award. This decoration was instituted on 13 April 1993 and barely a fortnight later a number of missions and operations for which it could be awarded were announced. Among them are mainly operations in Ex-Yugoslavia and Somalia. A large number of bars is already in existence to indicate participation in such operations e.g. BELBAT, MOVING STAR, RESTORE HOPE, UNOSOM, UNPROFOR, ECMM, UNMO, WINTER LODGE, SHARP, BOSNIA ROAD, UNAMIR, UNDP, COLUMBUS, SOUTHERN BREEZE, MINURSO, CMAC. Various manufacturers produce these bars and this is evident in their quality as can be seen in the pictures below.
By decree of 13 August 2004 (published 17 Sept.) it has been decided to replace such bars with a bronze, 9x6mm, numeral denoting the number of operations the recipient participated in. Retired holders of the medal are allowed to wear the now abolished bars.
The Honour Cross for Military Service Abroad.
Instituted on 11 August 1997 in three classes for award to those military that served for a long period of time in either the Federal Republic of Germany, Zaire (now Congo), Ruanda or Burundi. The 1st Class (gilt centre stripe) is awarded for 15 years of service, the 2nd Class (silver centre stripe) for 10 and the 3rd Class (red centre stripe) for 5 years of service.
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Copyright Hendrik Meersschaert 1998,2004 ©