American honour for RAF officer

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford was the setting for a medal ceremony of special importance on Monday, when an RAF Air Commodore received a top American honour.

Air Commodore Colin Basnett was presented with the US Legion of Merit to mark his outstanding work in Afghanistan. He received the medal from General Norton A Schwartz, Chief of Staff of the United States Air Force (USAF), with Chief of the Air Staff Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen Dalton also in attendance.

The Legion of Merit is a military decoration awarded for ‘exceptionally meritorious conduct’ in the performance of outstanding service and achievements, and is endorsed by the President of the United States himself.

The citation reads:

For especially meritorious service as Director of the Combined Air and Space Ops Centre from May 2010 to September 2010.

After the presentation, Air Commodore Basnett said:

To be presented with the Legion of Merit by General Schwartz, the Commander-in-Chief of USAF, was an honour in itself. I am extremely proud, especially as 670 American servicemen and women were under my command in Afghanistan.

They moved mountains to deliver air power in support of allied troops on the ground, not just in terms of weapons delivery, but supply and transport too; the whole gamut of our combined capability.

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