Operational Service Medal for Afghanistan (2002)

Era: 2002 - Afghanistan

The Operational Service Medal for Afghanistan is a campaign medal currently awarded by the United Kingdom’s Ministry of Defence for recognition of service on operations within Afghanistan from 11th September 2001.

To qualify for award of the Medal with clasp, personnel must have served in Afghanistan for either 5, 21 or 30 days continuous service between various dates depending on the operation, from 11th September, 2001 to 1st August, 2002 for Ops Jacana and Bandog, or to a date to be decided for Ops Veritas, Fingal and Landman.

Service of varying lengths depending on the operation on Ops Landman, Veritas, Oracle, Ramson or Damien in other Middle East countries during certain specific dates will qualify for the OSM for Afghanistan without clasp.

The new Operational Service Medal was introduced on 1st January, 2000 and at the same time the General Service Medal was discontinued.

Since its introduction, 3 Operational Service Medals have been issued: for service in Sierra Leone, Afghanistan and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Although each Operational Service Medal will look the same, separate ribbons will denote each separate award.


Materials:   The majority of the British medals and clasps are made of solid silver, though some were issue in bronze versions, mainly to Indian non-combatants.  The majority of the British campaign awards are circular, usually 36mm in diameter.

Ribbons:    Medals are worn suspended from their own specific ribbons. These were first made of silk but cotton was increasingly used as the nineteenth century developed.  Their own colours often have a symbolic significance: the equal stripes of the ‘1939 to 1945 Star,’ for example, are dark blue to represent the service of the Royal and Merchant Navies, red, to represent that of the Armies and light blue to represent that of Air Forces.

Ribbon width can vary slightly though it is generally 32mm wide.

Ribbon – A broad central red stripe flanked each side by a stripe of royal blue and one of light blue, to represent the 3 services, with an outer stripe of light brown to reflect the landscape of Afghanistan.

Operational Service Medal for Afghanistan ribbon
Operational Service Medal for Afghanistan ribbon

Type – Military Campaign Medal

Eligibility – Members of the United Kingdom armed forces

Awarded for – Campaign service

Campaign – Afghanistan 2001-to date

Established – 2003

Naming – Recipients name and details indented on the edge of the medal

Suspender - Ornate

Clasps – Afghanistan

Description – Silver disk, 36mm Diameter. The medal is silver and circular in shape and the obverse shows the crowned effigy of Elizabeth II.

The reverse bears the Union Flag, surrounded by the inscription ‘FOR OPERATIONAL SERVICE’ and the four major points of the compass, with four Coronets: Royal (top left), Naval (Navy, top right), Mural (Army, bottom left), and Astral (Royal Air Force, bottom right).

Clasps are usually referred to as ‘bars’.  They are single-faced metal bars carried on a ribbon attached to the medal, indicating the recipient’s service in a particular campaign or battle.  The clasps carry side flanges to enable them to be attached to the medal and riveted to each other, so that new ones can be attached as earned.  Usually the first earned Clasp is closest to the medal, so that the latest earned should be at the top, although they can be found in the wrong order. 

One Claps was awarded to the Operational Service Medal for Afghanistan

Afghanistan                (11th September, 2001 to 1st August, 2002) awarded for service specifically in Afghanistan.


This guide will help you through all the parts and descriptions of military medals


< gov.uk/medals-campaigns-descriptions-and-eligibility>

Some of the material on this page was also partially derived from

<en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Operational_Service_Medal_for_Afghanistan>

Which are released under the terms of



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