Afghanistan Veterans deserving the SWASM Medal
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Half of Canada's Afghanistan Veterans are still deserving a medal for their service!
In 2001 Canada entered into the war on terror by sending soldier to Afghanistan. Those soldiers were issued both the GCS (General Campaign Star) and the SWASM (South West Asia Service Medal).
To qualify for the General Campaign Star, individuals had to have served in the presence of an armed enemy.
To qualify for the SWASM, individuals needed to have served 90 days cumulative service in direct support of operations against terrorism in South West Asia from 11 September 2001 to 31 July 2009.
Half way through 2006 the Canadian Forces/Canadian Government stopped issuing the SWASM to soldiers in Afghanistan simply because they changed the title/name of the mission. Soldiers were conducting the same duties in the same place under the same if not worse conditions but were no longer entitled to receive the medal.
Although the mission became even more dangerous in the years to follow these soldiers were only issued the one service medal compared to those who went before them who received both.
I believe that the soldiers deployed to Afghanistan to fight terrorism are entitled to both of these medals equally and the Canadian Government should award these well deserved medals.
When I was deployed to Kandahar Afghanistan in early 2007 we were told that we would be eligible for both medals of service. We only learned that we would only be receiving the General Campaign Star at the end of our tour as we came home.
It would be of little cost for the government to issue the SWASM to all those who deserve it and would be a good gesture for the sacrifices endured.
John Brassard - Conservative Party (Opposition deputy whip) has been made aware of this and is currently looking into the matter.
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