The Iraq Commitment Medal

by Leonard H. Le Blanc III

All current and former military members and civilians who served during Gulf War II (GWII) are eligible for the Iraq Commitment Medal. This campaign medal was created on 11 June 2011 by the Government of Iraq. It honours the commitment, dedication, and service of all those who were either in GWII or supported Coalition Forces (CF) or coalition partner efforts. The eligibility period of service is 19 March 2003 to 31 December 2011. The qualification period for the medal is either one day in Iraq, one day in the theatre or one day in the general area of operations. Pilots and aircrew members who flew missions within Iraqi airspace, within the theatre or within the area of operations airspace will be credited one day to qualify for the medal.

The coalition partners include the U.K., U.S., Australia, Italy, New Zealand, and Thailand along with at least 40 other nations who were involved in GWII. Non-coalition partners who sent civilian workers to Iraq, but not military forces, includes Nepal, Belgium, France, Germany, Austria, and Turkey. There is an accompanying award certificate for both medal versions. These award certificates can be engraved for free with the recipient’s name, rank, title, location and time of service if the recipient requests it.

There are two version of the medal – one type is for military members and the other type is for civilian workers. The medallions on the medals are identical, just the ribbons are in reversed order for each version. Iraq created the award to recognise “the long years during which we have been mutually committed to the effort to achieve peace and prosperity for the people of Iraq.”

An official letter signed by then Iraqi Minister of Defense Dr. Saadoun al-Dulaimi on 11 June 2011 who offered the medal to U.S. and other coalition partner military authorities. But no action was taken at the time to manufacture the medals for distribution by the Government of Iraqi. In 2019 the Government of Iraq officially authorised a firm named SEATE Services to manufacture the medal for distribution. A single Iraq Commitment Medal was produced by Iraq and presented to Vice-President Joe Biden on 1 December 2011 at an awards ceremony in Baghdad, Iraq that marked the end of GWII and the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq.

It has been estimated by Iraq and the U.S. there are between 1.0-1.2 million U.S. military members eligible for the award and an equal number of U.S. civilian workers also worked in Iraq or in the area of operations during GWII. An estimated 300,000-500,000 military troops from Coalition partners also served during GWII and an equal number of civilian workers also served at the same time. This includes 423 military troops from Thailand.

The Iraq Commitment Medal is a gold-coloured medal. It is 40mm diameter. On the front the relief of Iraq represents the area of operation. The lines symbolise the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, recalling Iraq’s title as “the Land of Two Rivers.” The two hands superimposed over the relief symbolise the friendship between Iraq and her coalition allies. The star at the centre top represents a vision of unity for the seven peoples of Iraq (Sunni, Shia, Kurd, Turkoman, Assyrian, Yazidi, Armenian) leading to a more secure, prosperous and free future for Iraqis. The inscription in both Arabic and English merge into a continuous circle symbolising the closeness of Iraq and her allies.

On the reverse side the rayed disc symbolises the sun, optimism and Iraq’s future of reconstruction and the establishment of the democratic way of life. The relief of Iraq represents the area of operation. The lines symbolise the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, recalling Iraq’s title as “the Land of Two Rivers.” The crossed scimitars recall the partnership between Coalition Forces and Iraqi Security Forces essential to bringing a democratic way of life to Iraq. Gold is emblematic of honour and high achievement. The medal says JOINT COMMITMENT in both Arabic and English symbolising the unity of effort between Iraq and her Coalition Partners. The palm trees along with the palm fronds on the front represent the sacrifices made by all the Coalition Forces partners.

The medal and service ribbons are 35mm in width. The colours represent the following: Green is the traditional colour of Islam. Red honours the fighting courage in the pursuit of freedom. White denotes generosity. Black exemplifies Islam’s success, and Tan represents the sands of Mesopotamia.

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