Operations by the FL 01 Swedish Gripen force in Libya are historic. For the first time in 50 years, Sweden contributed with combat aircraft as part of an international mission. The last time the Swedish Air Force saw action was in the Congo in 1961. On Tuesday, 6 September, FL 01 concluded its part in the mission with a medal ceremony. The approximately 100 military personnel that received medals were stationed at the air base in Sigonella on Sicily for about three months.
Attending the ceremony, which is the first in a series of many of an international character, were Minister for Defence Sten Tolgfors, Supreme Commander Chief General Sverker Göranson, Director of Operations Lieutenant General Anders Lindström and Chief of the Air Force Tactical Staff Major General Anders Silwer.
During the speech that the Minister of Defence Sten Togfors gave at the ceremony to personnel and their relatives, he emphasised the importance of the mission to Sweden:
"FL 01, you have conducted your mission on behalf of the Swedish Parliament and the Swedish Government. I would like to extend our gratitude and appreciation for the excellent manner in which you have carried out the assignment. Sweden's international missions are fully staffed by personnel who have chosen to accept the risks to their personal safety in order to protect the safety of others. This is worthy of significant respect."
Image: The medal bears the inscription OUP (Operation Unified Protector) Libya 2011.
Photo: Catharina Bergsell, Swedish Armed Forces.
Source: The Swedish Armed Forces and the F17 Blekinge Wing. View The Swedish Armed Forces official website (link to a Swedish website).