Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal

Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal
Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal.png

Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal (Australia) ribbon.png
Obverse of medal and ribbon
Awarded by Australia
Type Medal
Eligibility members of declared eligible organisations, police and military
Awarded for Humanitarian service overseas
Status Currently awarded
Clasps 13 as at 15 December 2008
Statistics
Established 16 April 1999
Total awarded 1,878 as at 15 December 2008
Precedence
Next (higher) Police Overseas Service Medal
Next (lower) Civilian Service Medal 1939-1945
Related Australian Service Medal

The Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal is an award in the Australian honours system. The award is presented to those who perform humanitarian service in a foreign country, in particular those working in dangerous environments or conditions or during a humanitarian crisis. The award was introduced by letters patent on 16 April 1999, following a review of the Australian honours and awards system beginning in 1995.

Potential recipients have to prove they worked for a minimum of 30 days in the location depicted by the clasp, during a period of time set in the award criteria. In addition, potential recipients have to be working for an aid organisation recognised by the criteria or with a United Nations taskforce during that timeframe. In 2005, special criteria were established for people working during the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake or the 2005 Sumatra earthquake, with a maximum time period of 7 or 14 days depending on the time frame.

The medal was originally intended as a civilian award, in parallel with the Australian Service Medal and the Police Overseas Service Medal, and until 2005 the Australian Defence Force had never been declared an eligible organisation. This is because, in most cases, the Australian Service Medal is already available to military personnel serving alongside humanitarian relief operations. However, defence personnel on leave of absence and serving an eligible organisation could qualify for the medal. The declaration of eligible organisations for the Indian Ocean clasp was the first time the Australian Defence Force was declared an eligible organisation, as Operation Sumatra Assist was purely a disaster relief operation and did not attract any military operational service award. The Australian Defence Force was again declared an eligible organisation for the participation of its personnel in Operation Pakistan Assist, part of the Australian humanitarian response to the 8 October 2005 Pakistan earthquake.

Contents

Description

  • The Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal is a circular medal. The obverse features a stylised eucalyptus tree in the centre, with its branches reaching to the edge of the medal. A pattern of gumnuts rings the eucalyptus.
  • The reverse has the same pattern of gumnuts around the rim, with the name of the recipient engraved.
  • The ribbon is eucalyptus green, divided vertically by a gold stripe. These colours are associative with the green and gold, Australia's national colours, while continuing with the eucalyptus theming; symbolising hope and regeneration after the disaster.

Clasps

Thirteen clasps have been declared for the Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal as of October 2006,[1] to indicate what region(s) the recipient worked in. These are detailed below:

  • Afghanistan
30 days service with civilian organisations in Afghanistan from 8 December 1979 to present
  • Balkans
30 days civilian service in the period;
  • Cambodia
30 days service in Cambodia with civilian organisations from 1 July 1979 to 31 December 1993
  • East Timor
30 days service with civilian organisations in East Timor from 1 June 1999 to 19 May 2002
  • Great Lakes
30 days service with civilian organisations in the African Great Lakes area from 1 May 1994 to Present
  • Indian Ocean
Civilian, Police and Military service providing assistance following the 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake
  • 7 days service in the period 26 December 2004 - 8 January 2005
  • 14 days service in the period 26 December 2004 - 12 February 2005
Civilian and Military service providing assistance following the 2005 Sumatra earthquake
  • 7 days service in the period 28 March 2005 - 18 April 2005
  • Iraq
30 days service with civilian organisations in Iraq from 20 March 2003 to Present
  • Mozambique
30 days service with civilian organisations in Mozambique from 10 October 1985 to 31 January 1995
  • Northern Iraq
30 days service with civilian organisations in Northern Iraq from 1 February 1991 to 31 May 1995
  • Pakistan
Civilia and Military assistance following the 2005 Pakistan earthquake
  • 14 days service in the period 8 October 2005 - 8 November 2005
  • 30 days service in the period 8 October 2005 - 31 May 2006
  • Somalia
30 days service with civilian organisations in Somalia from 1 March 1992 to 1 January 1996
  • South Sudan
30 days service with civilian organisations in Southern Sudan from 23 May 1992
  • South Vietnam
30 days service with civilian organisations South Vietnam from 29 May 1964 to 30 April 1975

Recipients

As of June 2006, 1,293 awards, including medals and additional clasps, had been made.

Notable recipients of this award include:

  • Andrew MacLeod
  • the eleven ADF personnel involved in the 2005 Nias Island WS-61 Sea King crash crash, including the nine that died
  • military personnel involved in OP SUMATRA ASSIST I and II who meet the eligibility criteria

Declared eligible organisations must be part of an Australian humanitarian response, or an Australian contingent to an international response. Accordingly, it is possible for non-Australians participating in such a group to be eligible for the medal.

See also

Australian Honours Order of Precedence

References

  1. ^ Humanitarian Overseas Service Medal - Guide to Eligible Groups. PDF document produced by the Australian Government. Last updated 3 June 2008. Last accessed 14 August 2008.

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