Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Gibraltarian heroes celebrate September 10

Chief Minister Peter Caruana, and visiting MPs paid tribute on National Day to Major Colin Risso and Major John Perez.

Both men have made Royal Gibraltar Regiment history by being the first two officers to receive awards in the Operational Honours List.

Major Colin Risso with American servicemen in Afghanistan (Picture: Army)Major Risso was awarded the Military Cross for the actions he took when his convoy came under attack in Afghanistan.

Major Perez was awarded the American Bronze Star for meritorious service in a high intensity combat zone on Operation Iraqi Freedom.

The awards were described as “unprecedented and an exceptional situation” by Commanding Officer of the Regiment Mark Randall. Congratulating both men he stated that the regiment had now come of age:

“In 1991 we took over the duties of the resident battalion from the 3rd Battalion the Royal Green Jackets, in those days although some soldiers had been on tour not many had.

Over the last 13 to 15 years many are volunteering for duty outside. With the Military Cross and the Bronze Star we have the first two individuals from the regiment being awarded top operational awards and this is very important.”

Back on the Rock and dressed in the national colours on National Day both men were proud of their achievement. Major Risso described the Military Cross as:

“... an overwhelming commendation that her Majesty The Queen and the British Armed Forces have decided to give me. I am very proud of my service in Afghanistan, and for what the regiment has achieved not just in an individual basis but in a generic sense. I honestly did not expect it.”

Major Perez commented that two awards on the List were unique especially for a unit as small as the Royal Gibraltar Regiment. Major Perez added:

“With so many people on operations at any given time it is a great privilege to be singled out. It means a lot to any soldier who appears on the list.

It is a great achievement and in retrospect it’s like a pat on the back for the arduous conditions one was subjected to in Iraq.

It is very rewarding and satisfying that there has been some form of acknowledgment, many are not so fortunate to get acknowledgment so when you receive it one needs to appreciate it.”

Related Article and Link:

09 September 2005 - Iraq medals for Gibraltar Regiment officers

Mod News - Operational Honours List.


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