The Armed Forces Operational Awards List 47 was published on Friday in the London Gazette with 48 members of the Armed Forces being cited for exceptional service in respect of worldwide operations for the period 1st April to 30th September 2016.
Members of the Brigade of Gurkhas were selected for the following awards:
QUEEN’S COMMENDATION FOR VALUABLE SERVICE – CORPORAL MAHESH GURUNG
ROYAL GURKHA RIFLES
Section Commander, Qargah Force Protection Company
Afghanistan, April – August 16
Corporal Gurung operated as a Platoon Sergeant responsible for the protection of mentors working at the Afghan National Army Officer Academy for half of his deployment. His outstanding efforts have been universally recognised by the mentors he worked alongside and he has produced an operational performance of the highest calibre.
He has single-handedly revamped previous procedures, seen gaps in protection that others had missed and voluntarily re-developed the entire base force protection plan, far exceeding the expectations of his rank. As a leader he was highly effective and at the very heart of everything. Gurung also went out of his way to develop relationships with the wide range of partners, both Afghan and coalition, that he came into contact with. His reputation for excellence, humility and outstanding professionalism preceded him.
Often asked for by name, he was the ‘go-to’ man for all of the mentors; popular, trusted and hugely respected. For the duration of his tour Gurung has excelled and been a shining light. His work has been crucial to the UK’s wider contribution to Afghanistan. He has played a crucial role in setting the conditions for the mentors to perform their duties and has enhanced the reputation of his Battalion and the Army. His stellar contribution, far beyond any reasonable expectation of his rank is worthy of formal recognition.
QUEEN’S COMMENDATION FOR VALUABLE SERVICE – MAJOR EDWIN PETER OLDFIELD
ROYAL GURKHA RIFLES
Officer Commanding, Kabul Protection Company
Afghanistan, April – September 16
Major Oldfield was charged with the delivery of the force protection of NATO advisors across the congested and volatile Kabul battlespace, where there was no room for error. In a uniquely integrated setting and under the gaze of a 4* HQ, he and his troops provided a critical capability to the NATO mission at a particularly sensitive juncture in the campaign.
Through the recognised fighting season, where unseen threats emerged and violent acts across the city were common, Oldfield delivered hundreds of force protection missions without a single incident. His consistent excellence stood him out from the rest; his leadership was first class and, his tireless personal example a force multiplier. He was at the very heart of everything be it on the ground, in the Operations Centre or in front of senior customers. Calm, insightful and persuasive he understood the context, delivered the effect and placed the mission first.
Oldfield thrived when he stepped up as the Chief of Operations and then as the Acting CO. His deft leadership of the US sub-units was exceptional as he commanded them like a seasoned veteran, receiving universal praise for his efforts. Tested in this complex and multi-faceted operation, Oldfield delivered an eye-catching leadership performance of the highest possible quality, excelling at every turn and placing the mission and his men above all else. A mainstay of this Battalion he has left the operation in a better place and enhanced its reputation and that of the Army. His individual contribution to Operational success and the wider NATO mission merits formal national recognition.
Captain Rai – 2 Royal Gurkha Rifles (RGR)
Awarded a Joint Commanders Commendation for his role as Company 2IC of the Kabul Force Protection Company, in Afghanistan from April to August 2016.
Captain Rai was second-in-command of the Kabul Force Protection Company during 2 RGRs deployment as the Kabul Protection Unit on Op TORAL 3. He is deserving of recognition not only for his outstanding performance but also for his exceptional efforts in furthering relationships with coalition partners in this uniquely integrated, multinational organisation. Rai has had a brilliant operational tour. His output has created clear benefits for the entire force and has far exceeded expectation. The challenges he has faced are not to be underestimated.
With no real handover or explanation of his role in theatre he had a standing start. Unflustered, he set out to ensure he put himself at the heart of everything his company did. He expanded his responsibilities and in doing so massively increased productivity and efficiency. Rai has produced a performance of sustained quality during Op TORAL 3. He gave selflessly of himself to improve the output and ultimately the success of his company. Everything that he did was focussed towards mission success. He achieved it all superbly, enhancing the name of the Battalion and the Army. For his quietly outstanding contribution at a particularly sensitive and heavily scrutinised juncture in the campaign, he is worthy of formal recognition.
Corporal Yolmu – 2 Royal Gurkha Rifles (RGR)
Awarded a Joint Commanders Commendation for his role as Regimental Signals Detachment Commander, in Afghanistan from April to August 2016.
Corporal Yolmu was the Regimental Signals Detachment Commander for the Kabul Force Protection Company during 2 RGRs deployment as the Kabul Protection Unit on Op TORAL 3. He is recognised for his superb performance in the delivery and development of vital, battle-winning communication systems across a uniquely integrated multi-national organisation. Yolmu has played a critical role during this tour as the JNCO charged with the delivery of communications across a mixed 550-man strong US and UK unit. Working near single-handedly in a high pressure operational environment, where failure to establish robust communications would represent risk to life and mission, Yolmu has quite simply excelled. He has far exceeded the expectations of his rank, delivering a showing one would normally expect from a much more experienced and senior NCO.
He has done so with humility and grace, working tirelessly to ensure the unit could deliver its mission; unglamorous but crucial work. Yolmu’s output as a JNCO has been a pleasure to observe and is a brilliant example of the selfless dedication of our young soldiers. He has enhanced the name of the Battalion and the Army and has been a key player in the delivery of operational success on Op TORAL 3. Easily overlooked, such an exemplary contribution at this sensitive juncture in the campaign is absolutely worthy of formal recognition.
Sergeant Limbu 250 Gurkha Signal Squadron
Awarded a Joint Commanders Commendation for his role as Company Quartermaster Sergeant for Op NEWCOMBE in Mali from May to September 2016.
Sergeant Limbu has performed an exceptional job as CQMS for the 1 Royal Gurkha Rifles (RGR) company deployed to Koulikoro, Mali as part of the EU training mission tasked with providing infantry training to Malian troops. Despite no previous G4 training or experience, nor All Arms CQMS qualification, he has served far beyond the standard required of the unit’s CQMS. He has consistently operated in the challenging circumstances of co-ordinating resources between UK, Brunei and Mali, across three continents and eight time zones.
Sergeant Limbu’s contribution has been vital to ensuring the effectiveness and professionalism of the 1 RGR deployment and the high regard in which they are held by the EUTM. Of most note, Sergeant Limbu has been the lead for the logistical downsizing of the 3 year mission rotation from 19 to 4 people, including the recovery of personnel and material. Sergeant Limbu put together the initial in-theatre J1/4 estimate for the recovery operation, which PJHQ and allied commands have used as the blue print for planning and support activity to the drawdown of NEWCOMBE contribution. He has competently, and independently, undertaken this work with little reach back support from PJHQ, and with minimal direction required. For his core tasking, Sergeant Limbu provided equipment support to 1 RGR personnel deployed as infantry team trainers.
With minimal planning time available due to fluid programming of training tasks, Sgt Limbu always ensured that 1 RGR personnel were provided with the various equipment required for a diverse variety of training tasks. Sergeant Limbu’s professionalism, patience and relationship-building with all the nations in the EUTM has been key in building the high reputation that the 1 RGR deployment, and the UK overall, has achieved within the mission. He leaves Mali having enhanced Gurkhas and the British Army’s reputation with all who have met him.
The Brigade would like to congratulate all of the above Officers and Soldiers on their awards.
A full list of the awards to British Army personnel is available on this link.