Three Services as one force, being the best in everything we do  

Foreign Campaign Medals Awarded to New Zealanders - The NATO Medal for the Non-Article 5 ISAF Operation in Afghanistan

Obverse View

The NATO Medal for the Non-Article 5 ISAF Operation in Afghanistan obverse view

Reverse View

The NATO Medal for the Non-Article 5 ISAF Operation in Afghanistan reverse view

About the NATO Medal for the Non-Article 5 ISAF Operation in Afghanistan

The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Medal for the Non-Article 5 ISAF Operation in Afghanistan was awarded to New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel, New Zealand Police and civilian employees of the New Zealand Government for 30 days or more continuous service with the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) between 11 August 2003 and 31 December 2014.

Service towards the NATO Medal ISAF could also be accumulated, but NATO's rules on how much accumulated service and over what period of time have changed during the ISAF mission in Afghanistan. For those who first deployed to Afghanistan between 1 January 2011 and 31 December 2014, 60 days accumulated service within a two year period was required.

For those who first deployed to Afghanistan between 11 August 2003 and 31 December 2010, 30 days accumulated service within a 180 day period was required.

In 2005, Her Majesty The Queen gave Her approval for the unrestricted acceptance and wear of the NATO Medal ISAF by eligible New Zealand personnel.


The NZDF provided personnel to serve with ISAF from 2002 to 2014. The leadership of ISAF initially rotated, on an approximately six-monthly basis, between Britain, Turkey, Germany and the Netherlands. On 11 August 2003, NATO took over the strategic command and operational control of ISAF.

Only those NZDF personnel who served with ISAF while it was under NATO leadership are eligible for the NATO Medal ISAF.


The ISAF mission ended on 31 December 2014. It was replaced by the NATO Operation Resolute Support.

New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team - TG CRIB

The NATO Medal ISAF was awarded to those who served on the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team (TG CRIB) in Bamian province from 25 October 2006, when TG CRIB (rotation 9) came under NATO ISAF command. Personnel on TG CRIB rotations 1 to 8 are therefore not eligible to be awarded this medal, given that they were under American, rather than NATO ISAF, command.

Further Information

Further information on the NATO ISAF Operation in Afghanistan can be viewed on the NATO Headquarters website and the NATO ISAF website.

Clasps

a) Full-size and miniature medals. The clasp 'ISAF' is worn on the full-size and miniature medal ribbon by all recipients. NZDF personnel are to wear the clasp in the vertical centre of the medal ribbon.

Exception: The combination of medals in an individual's medal group may result in the situation where the normal position of a clasp on one medal is identical to a clasp on an adjacent medal. In such cases it is permissible to adjust the position of one or more of the clasps to avoid a clasp overlapping / riding above the adjacent medal clasp.

b) Ribbon bars. Personnel who have been awarded the NATO Medal ISAF for their service with ISAF since 1 January 2011 are eligible to wear the clasp 'ISAF' on the NATO Medal (ISAF) ribbon when ribbon bars are worn.

Personnel eligible to wear the for the whose first tour of duty with ISAF started on or after 1 January 2011.

Special case: Advice from NATO SHAPE HQ in Belgium is that personnel (including CRIB rotation 17) whose first tour of duty with ISAF included the transition date (1 January 2011) are also eligible to wear the clasp 'ISAF' on their ribbon bars, as long as they completed at least 30 days service after 1 January 2011 during that first tour of duty with ISAF.

Not eligible: Personnel who received the NATO Medal ISAF for their service in Afghanistan before 1 January 2011 are not permitted to wear the clasp 'ISAF' on their ribbon bars. Except for the special case discussed above, which affects those whose first tour of duty with ISAF included the transition date (1 January 2011).

How the clasp is worn on ribbon bars. Eligible NZDF personnel are to wear the clasp 'ISAF' in the vertical and horizontal centre of the NATO Medal (ISAF) ribbon when ribbon bars are worn.

Numerals / Multiple-Tour Indicators (MTIs)

Numerals for the NATO Medal ISAF were instituted by HQ NATO on 6 December 2010. This change in NATO medallic policy took effect 1 January 2011.

An Arabic numeral multiple-tour indicator is awarded by NATO for return deployments with ISAF of 30 days or more continuous service since 1 January 2011, or for 60 days accumulated service within a two year period (commencing on 1 January 2011).

Return deployments completed before 31 December 2010 will not qualify for a multiple-tour indicator (see Example 2 below).

The NATO eligibility rules also require a break of at least 180 days since the previous qualifying tour of duty (see Examples 2 and 3 below).

A person's second qualifying tour of duty will entitle the person to an Arabic '2'. A third qualifying tour of duty will be depicted by an Arabic '3' and so on.

Example 1:

1st Tour of Duty - 1 January 2008 to 1 July 2008 - NATO Medal ISAF awarded

2nd Tour of Duty - 1 January 2011 to 1 July 2011 - Arabic numeral 2 awarded

Example 2:

1st Tour of Duty - 1 January 2008 to 1 July 2008 - NATO Medal ISAF awarded

2nd Tour of Duty - 1 January 2009 to 1 November 2009 - Nothing awarded

3rd Tour of Duty - 1 January 2011 to 1 July 2011 - Arabic numeral 2 awarded

4th Tour of Duty - 1 January 2012 to 1 July 2012 - Arabic numeral 3 awarded

Example 3:

1st Tour of Duty - 1 July 2010 to 31 December 2010 - NATO Medal ISAF awarded

2nd Tour of Duty - 1 June 2011 to 31 August 2011 - Numeral not awarded as less than 180 days between tours of duty

3rd Tour of Duty - 1 January 2012 to 1 March 2012 - Arabic numeral 2 awarded - as more than 180 days since the end of the tour of duty for which the NATO Medal ISAF was awarded

---

The appropriate Arabic numeral multiple-tour indicator is worn on the full-size and miniature medal ribbon, and on the ribbon bar when ribbon bars are worn.

Update - 26 February 2015: NZDF personnel are to wear the Arabic numeral multiple-tour indicator as follows:

a) Full-size and miniature medals. Positioned immediately above the centre of the clasp. A gap of about one millimetre is suggested.

b) Ribbon bars without the clasp 'ISAF'. Positioned in the vertical and horizontal centre of the medal ribbon.

c) Ribbon bars with the clasp 'ISAF'. The clasp 'ISAF' is worn in the vertical and horizontal centre of the ribbon bar and the Arabic numeral multiple-tour indicator is worn on the right side of the ribbon bar.

---

The Arabic numeral multiple-tour indicator is not to be worn on NZDF uniform unless the multiple-tour indicator to the individual has been approved by NATO. This approval will be recorded in an individual's Honours and Awards data in SAP HCM / ESS.

If you have any questions about your entitlement for a multiple-tour indicator, please contact NZDF Personnel Archives and Medals (Note: Select the first option from the 'Regarding' drop down menu).

Update - 14 November 2012: The names of eligible personnel from CRIB rotations 19 and 20 have been submitted to NATO ISAF HQ in Afghanistan for formal approval by NATO. Once the formal approval is given, the individuals' Honours and Awards data in ATLAS / KEA will be updated. The lists of eligible personnel from CRIB rotations 17 and 18 and various smaller missions / task groups are currently being compiled by the Medals Office, Trentham Military Camp and will be submitted to NATO ISAF HQ as soon as possible.

Numeral and the clasp 'ISAF' on ribbon bars

Given the above rules (see the Clasps and Bars and Numerals sections), it will be very rare for a NZDF service person to be wearing both a numeral and the clasp 'ISAF' on the NATO Medal ISAF ribbon when ribbon bars are worn.

Such individuals must have been serving on their first tour of duty with ISAF on or after 1 January 2011, and then subsequently redeployed to ISAF for a second time (with a minimum of 180 days between the two tours of duty).

For example:

1st Tour of Duty - 1 April 2011 to 1 October 2011 - NATO Medal ISAF awarded - with authority to wear the clasp 'ISAF' on the NATO Medal ISAF ribbon when ribbon bars are worn

2nd Tour of Duty - 1 October 2012 to 1 April 2013 - Arabic numeral 2 awarded

Order of Wear

The NATO Medal (ISAF) is worn as a campaign medal in accordance with the New Zealand Order of Wear, rather than as a foreign medal. The position of the NATO Medal (ISAF) in the Wearing of Medals in New Zealand Table can be viewed here.

Other Campaign Medals awarded to New Zealanders for service in Afghanistan since 2003

The New Zealand General Service Medal 2002 (Afghanistan)

United Nations Special Service Medal for service on the United Nations Assistance Mission in Afghanistan (UNAMA)

Information for lateral recruits from the United Kingdom

Information for lateral recruits from the United Kingdom is provided in Notes 1 and 2, Notes for Lateral Recruits section, of the Wearing of Medals in New Zealand page. In particular, see Example 1 of Note 2.

Medallic Recognition for NATO Operation Resolute Support - from 1 January 2015

The NATO Medal with clasp 'AFGHANISTAN' is awarded to New Zealand Defence Force personnel who have 30 days or more continuous service with NATO's Operation Resolute Support since 1 January 2015, or for 60 days accumulated service within a two year period.

The ribbon for this medal is identical to the ribbon of the NATO Medal ISAF, as shown on this page. The difference is that the clasp 'AFGHANISTAN' is worn.

Personnel who been awarded both the NATO Medal with clasp 'AFGHANISTAN' and the NATO Medal ISAF (for earlier service) are to wear both medals on NZDF uniform.

Ribbon bars. Personnel who have been awarded the NATO Medal with clasp 'AFGHANISTAN' wear the clasp 'AFGHANISTAN' on the ribbon when ribbon bars are worn.