Updated: Aug 3, 2022
On the 5th of July 2022, the Defense Department of the United States of America announced an Atomic Veterans Commemorative Service Medal.
This medal was awarded for the service and sacrifice of Service members (now known as Atomic Veterans) who participated in the initial testing and development of our Nation's atomic and nuclear weapons programs.
The United Kingdom is the last country that tested nuclear weapons to formally recognise its nuclear veterans. It is embarrassing, it is a disgrace.
Veterans Minister Leo Docherty stated: "We have an ambition for the UK to be the best place in the world for veterans".
If you are a US Atomic veteran then this official news from the Defense Department is very welcoming, after years of campaigning from the National Association of Atomic Veterans, we congratulate everyone who has worked extremely hard to ensure they have received the recognition they deserve.
The statement on the official defense website states:
Notably, the dangerous and important work these veterans performed was often done in secret due to national security requirements.
The Atomic Veterans Commemorative Service Medal recognizes that the service and sacrifice of the Atomic Veterans directly contributed to our Nation's continued freedom and prosperity during the period following World War II, and was pivotal to our Nation's defense during the Cold War era.
Veterans eligible for the medal are those who, while performing official military duties during the period of July 1, 1945, to October 1, 1992: (1) directly participated in the detonation of an atomic weapon or device;
(2) directly participated in the cleanup of radioactive material resulting from any such atmospheric detonation;
(3) directly participated in the cleanup of radioactive material resulting from an accident associated with an atomic weapon; or
(4) were exposed to ionizing radiation resulting from the operational use of atomic weapons during World War II. The Director of the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) will manage the Department's Atomic Veterans Commemorative Service Medal program.
DTRA anticipates it will have medals on-hand to award to eligible individuals by the end of the year. In the interim, eligible veterans and the next-of-kin (NOK) of deceased eligible veterans will be able to apply for the medal online in the near-future.
Applications will be processed so that when DTRA receives its initial supply of medals they can be provided to eligible veterans or their NOK in a timely manner.
For decades, the veterans have fought for formal recognition, fighting the UK government in the High Court, the UK government has spent millions of pounds fighting the veterans.
2022 is the 70th year anniversary of the first British test 'Operation Hurricane' the time is now to formally recognise them, it is time to make it the best place for veterans. Reward these brave servicemen for their unique service.
In our meeting on the 8th of June, Prime Minister Bois Johnson assured us that he would ensure that the servicemen received the recognition they deserved. Work is underway with the #lookmeintheeye working group and the Office for Veterans Affairs, MP's and the Cabinet Office.
The events of today do not change the deadline, the Plutonium Jubilee must be acknowledged, the veterans and their families formally recognised.
The Prime Minister will be changing, Boris Johnson will be leaving. We will be pushing extremely hard to ensure that one of his last honourable acts is to award a medal to the British Nuclear Veterans. it is the right thing to do.
Members of the working group will be meeting with the Office for Veterans Affairs in the next two weeks to discuss the recognition package, the campaign does not end here.
Susie Fleetstreetfox Boniface and John Morris will be live on Jeremy Vine's Radio 2 show at 1 pm on 7th July 2022 discussing the nuclear tests, their legacy, and the demands of the Daily Mirror's campaign today.
Listen live here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/live:bbc_radio_two