Afghanistan vets denied ICB/ACB

Good afternoon CONTACT team,

Just a quick question hopefully leading to a discussion about the Infantry Combat Badge/Army Combat Badge and the awarding criteria.

FILE PHOTO (2020): Force Protection Element 14 in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Operation Highroad. Photo by Corporal Tristan Kennedy.

To my knowledge, no member has been awarded either badge for any Force Protection Element (FPE) task groups to Afghanistan (since roughly 2012 onwards) – this is despite all qualifying criteria being met.

I was told that the head of corp has recommended that the FPE task groups not receive their ICB.


The eligibility criteria read:

  • have given satisfactory service as an infantryman in accordance with Annex A, paragraph 1.f and g;
  • have served either a continuous or an aggregate of 90 days satisfactory service on warlike operations for a single deployment or operation; and,
  • have not been previously issued the ICB.

Troops based in Kandahar recently received an ADF Gold Level 3 group commendation for their work at the 205th Coalition Advisory Team. The citation for this directly stated “warlike service in a high-stress environment”.

The author can attest to this.

The question has been asked of hierarchy many times and, even though they support the case of the ICB being awarded, nothing has changed.

I know of this happening in Rwanda in 1994, and the ICB was awarded a few years later.

My question is this – if the ICB cannot be awarded when all the criteria is met, then do we need to re think our award criteria?

I believe that if the criteria is met, soldiers should be awarded their badge.

Wishing to remain anonymous


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Posted by Brian Hartigan

Managing Editor Contact Publishing Pty Ltd PO Box 3091 Minnamurra NSW 2533 AUSTRALIA

7 thoughts on “Afghanistan vets denied ICB/ACB

  • 28/02/2022 at 2:11 pm

    If there has been a recommendation not to award the ICB surely the person making that decision would have the necessary intestinal fortitude to publicly explain or at least advise the individuals concerned of his decision.
    Assuming that the award criteria has been met is it a case of not wanting to explain for fear of repercussions from the troops.

  • 10/02/2022 at 11:00 pm

    ACBs have been awarded for some FPE rotations, While ICBs have not. To my knowledge the criteria is the same and has been met in both cases. The difference being the approving authorities for the units involved. In all cases, the ICB approval has been rejected.

  • 08/02/2022 at 3:45 pm

    Op HIGHROAD has not been recognised as a deployment where infantry members were able to conduct the primary role of the Infantry.

    I don’t think the environment being ‘war like’ is the issue. Instead it is the nature of the role that infantry soldiers were deployed to do on FPE.

    I doubt the fact that it is dangerous, or not worthy of military decoration, is the fact in question. That is why the forementioned awards (citations and operational medals etc) were awarded.

    But to quality for an ICB the role that is being conducted, along with the duration it was conducted, is the factor. It is not the Corps of the member deployed. Hence why medics and other Corps have been awarded an ICB while conducting the role in warlike operations. Also why members deployed to Afghanistan for 60 days doing daily dismounted patrols were also not awarded the ICB.

    With the changing nature of conflict, maybe it is time to review a bunch of the military awards. As this has happened recently with the OSM, is already in the works?

  • 08/02/2022 at 11:57 am

    Completely agree mate. On your service record it will state “War-like operation”. I really hope this letter gets more attention. The ICB is more important then the medals to an infantry soldier. It’s the ultimate badge of respect within a battalion.

  • 08/02/2022 at 10:44 am

    if criteria is met no individual should be able to over ride it not even the PM! it should be locked in stone! its time to rein in all these would be Tyrants and stop this rubbish and remind them all who they work for! they are what their job description says they are! and that is public servants not Lords! and military personell are part of that public!

  • 08/02/2022 at 7:09 am

    The same can be said for Op Padang Assist, we met all criteria for receiving the humitarian aid medal, but were denied it.

    Why have criteria if you can just be denied it even when it’s met.

  • 07/02/2022 at 11:39 pm

    I know plenty of FSU soldiers that received the ACB when serving in TK, that did not met the requirements as FSU didn’t provide direct support to deployed units, they provided support to the other deployed units support staff. I guess it’s how the Commander rights the report.


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