Not all military deployments merit a medal, some are too short, have too few personnel attached or do not involve sufficient operations to warrant such recognition. It is however common for those units that take part to have some way of commemorating servicemen and women’s participation and this can take the form of a small plaque, an embroidered commemorative patch, or in the case of today’s object, a small enamelled medallion.
The NATO Training Mission to Iraq was set up in 2004 at the request of the Interim Iraqi Government to help rebuild the country’s military and law enforcement units in the aftermath of the fall of Saddam Hussein. The mission focussed on training and mentoring and was under political rather than military control. The majority of the personnel (60) were from the US, but the UK contributed 11 soldiers to the task and it is presumably to one of these that this medallion was presented:
The front of the medallion has the NATO compass rose with the name of the mission in both English and Parsi. The reverse of the medallion has the Iraqi eagle and flag, the Nato flag and a badge of a phoenix rising from the flames, indicative of the rebirth of the nation:
With such a small number of troops from the UK contributing to the mission at any one time, this medal is presumably quite unusual and is certainly a visually very attractive little souvenir of the rebuilding of a country after a turbulent period in its history.