US to award troops who helped fight IS in Libya’s Sirte with medals

US troops awarded Silver Stars

The Pentagon has expanded the criteria for the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary medal to include the U.S. campaign against ISIS in Libya.

The geographic criteria for the medal highlights the extent of the American operation to remove ISIS from the Libyan city of Sirte.

The U.S. military operation to liberate Sirte from ISIS was conducted from Aug. 1, 2016 until Dec. 19, 2016, and authorized under the Obama administration. The operation was dubbed Operation Odyssey Lightning.

Service members who participated in Operation Odyssey Lightning from Aug. 1 to Dec.19, 2016 — the date Libya ended operations in Sirte, are eligible for the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary medal.

Odyssey Lightning was launched with the support of Libyan Government of National Accord (GNA) — the current U.N.- and U.S.-backed government that came into existence after extensive political negotiations in December 2015.

The operation’s primary objective was limited in scope to the removal of ISIS in Sirte, according to officials at U.S. Africa Command. However, the criteria for the GWOT Expeditionary medal for the Libya operation includes Algeria, Chad, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Libya, Niger, Spain, Tunisia and the Mediterranean Sea from the Straits of Gibraltar.

Despite the limited scope of the operation to liberate Sirte, the size and scale of U.S. air support assets needed to assist Libyan ground forces combating ISIS was quite large.

The expansive geographic criteria for the GWOT-E in Odyssey Lightning is a result of regional and offshore U.S. supporting assets to include air, intelligence, strike aircraft and surveillance assets, according to Maj. Audricia Harris, a spokesperson for the Pentagon.

(Source: Military Times)

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