Princes Charles and Harry present operational medals to Gurkhas
Amid the magnificence and grandeur of Buckingham Palace’s ballroom more than 150 Gurkha soldiers received their Afghanistan Operational Service Medals from Their Royal Highnesses The Prince of Wales and Prince Harry.
The medals were presented to the soldiers of 2nd Battalion Royal Gurkha Rifles (2RGR) in recognition of their 8-month deployment to Kabul on Operation TORAL last year.
Op TORAL is the United Kingdom’s contribution to the multi-national coalition that is helping Afghanistan take control of its own affairs. 2RGR left their base at Shorncliffe, Kent in April of last year to spend eight months in the Afghan capital where they fulfilled non-combat roles; advising Afghan ministers and officials as well as mentoring instructors at the Afghan National Officers’ Academy.
The Gurkhas were also responsible for the security of advisors and other coalition personnel based in the centre of the city.
In addition to the medals, two annual awards were also presented. The Prince of Wales Kukri Award, for best senior non-commissioned officer, went to Colour Sergeant Raj Rai and the Tuker Award, best junior officer of the year was received by Lieutenant M F Barney.
The ceremony had an added poignancy as it also marked the 40th anniversary of HRH The Prince of Wales becoming the Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Gurkha Rifles. To commemorate this milestone Prince Charles unveiled an oil painting depicting the Gurkhas’ parading along The Mall last year that marked 200 years of loyal service by the Nepalese soldiers to the British Crown.