Medals for British Army Soldiers in South Sudan
British Army Soldiers Deployed on Op TRENTON Recognised for African Peacekeeping Mission
85 British Army soldiers from the Engineering and Medical Taskforce in South Sudan have been awarded UN medals by HM Ambassador Alison Blackburne in recognition of their unstinting service in South Sudan.
Key Role Supporting the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS)
During their tour, the troops have undertaken projects including support of remedial works to a jetty on the River Nile and helicopter landing sites, flood prevention and other infrastructure improvements, as well as the construction of a temporary field hospital in Bentiu. The field hospital will provide medical care for 1,800 UN personnel, and will be staffed by UK military clinicians for the next 12 months. This will enable other military and civilian staff to carry out the work of the UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS), a challenging operating environment.
Speaking to the medal recipients, HM Ambassador Alison Blackburne said:
It is not only about what you have achieved, but also the way you have achieved it. You have conducted yourselves with incredible professionalism in a collaborative and humble manner. It is an honour to present you with such well-deserved medals.
Op TRENTON Change of Command
Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Jason Ainley has now handed over command to Lieutenant Colonel Katie Hislop, 32 Engineer Regiment, who will continue the valuable work of the UK taskforce. Medical staff will continue to provide high class healthcare whilst the Engineering troops now turn to building the permanent hospital, as well as to UN infrastructure tasks including improving supply routes. This work will enable UNMISS to continue to protect civilians in one of the world’s most fragile nations.
Lt Col Katie Hislop is a forty-year-old mother of two from Wiltshire, and has been in the British Army with the Royal Engineers for 18 years. During her career, she has been on deployment to Kosovo, Iraq and Afghanistan. She has spent the last six months training for Op TRENTON in South Sudan.
In an interview for iNews, Lt Col Hislop said:
Our role out there will be to help build more accommodation blocks, better roads and better security in order that the United Nations military can then protect the civilians in South Sudan who are in desperate need of protection and food.
I was expecting to go to South Sudan – that is one of the reasons I asked for this job. It’s a hugely interesting deployment and somewhere I have never been to before. Working with the UN means we will learn so much from the other nations who have been there for years.
Op TRENTON is One of the UK’s Largest Overseas Deployments
Following a commitment made in 2015 by the then Prime Minister to double the UK’s commitment to global peacekeeping initiatives, nearly 400 UK military personnel are supporting UN efforts in South Sudan, making Op TRENTON one of the UK’s largest operational deployments in the world.
Commanding Officer Lieutenant Colonel Jason Ainley said:
It has been an immensely rewarding and humbling deployment. We have achieved far more than anticipated in January. The UK Engineering Taskforce and Medics are now firmly established in UNMISS and we are honoured to be able to receive our hard-earned UN medals from HM Ambassador.
Source: MOD (Crown Copyright, OGL)
Image: The UNMISS medal presented to British Army soldiers in Op TRENTON 2 by HM Ambassador in Juba, South Sudan (Crown Copyright, 2017).