UK airman awarded for heroism in Libya
An RAF navigator has been awarded a top French medal for the second time in three years, for heroism under fire while protecting civilians from attack by Colonel Gaddaffi's forces in Libya.
It’s the second time the airman, now serving with the RAF’s iconic 617 ‘Dambusters” Squadron, has received the honour from the French government – two years ago he received the same decoration for bravery on operations in Afghanistan when flying on a three-year exchange posting with the Armée de l’Air, the French Air Force, operating the two-seat Mirage 2000D attack fighter aircraft.
Abson said: “I am honoured and humbled to be recognised in this way, although at the time I was just doing my job. In a way it’s a tribute to the close bonds formed between the RAF and the French Air Force in Libya and Afghanistan where we were, literally for me, fighting side-by-side.
“It was a tremendous experience for me to serve with our French allies, I think we all learned a lot from each other which can only benefit both nations if we are called on to conduct future joint operations. “
He was presented with the Croix de la Valeur Militaire with Bronze Star (Cross of Military Valour with bronze star) at a ceremony in London’s exclusive Carlton Gardens, a former residence of France’s legendary wartime leader General Charles de Gaulle.
Source: arabianaerospace.aero News - 20 June 2013
Photo: Flight Lieutenant Ian Abson was attached to the French Air Force when he took part in the dangerous night-time missions near Tripoli that won him the award. (Photo by arabianaerospace.aero)