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National Honours

General Campaign Star – SOUTH-WEST ASIA (GCS-SWA)


This general service award has been created as a means to recognize - in a timelier manner - those who serve in operations in the presence of an armed enemy. Rather than creating a new honour for each new Canadian Forces operation as it arises, the General Campaign Star and General Service Medal - with their theatre or service specific ribbons - can be awarded in future to honour participation in any operation that meets the criteria.

Eligibility and criteria

The General Campaign Star (GCS) is awarded to members of the Canadian Forces and members of allied forces working with the Canadian Forces who deploy into a defined theatre of operations to take part in operations in the presence of an armed enemy.

The GCS is always issued with a ribbon specific to the theatre or type of service being recognized, and each ribbon has its own criteria.

The GCS with South-West Asia ribbon is awarded to Canadian Forces members and members of allied forces working with the Canadian Forces who served either:

  • with the Canadian contribution to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan for at least 30 days cumulative between 24 April 2003 and 31 July 2009, in the theatre of operations which consisted of the political boundaries and airspace of Afghanistan; and/or
  • in the theatre of operations consisting of the political boundaries of Afghanistan, the Persian Gulf, the Gulf of Oman, the Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea, the Suez Canal and those parts of the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Sea that are west of sixty-eight degrees East longitude and north of five degrees South latitude, as well as the airspace above those areas for at least 30 cumulative days commencing on August 1, 2009, provided that the service has not been recognized by another service medal.

Canadian civilians under contract with the CF and Canadian Police Officers serving under the authority of the CF in Afghanistan with units described at the link above and between the dates indicated qualify for the GSM with South-West Asia ribbon after 30 days of service.

The only members of allied forces eligible are those who serve in missions on behalf of Canada. They are usually exchange personnel who deploy with our units or personnel seconded to the CF specifically to serve in our missions. In all cases, they must be on the CFTPO filling a Canadian position and they are usually assigned a CF service number. Foreign personnel working in concert with the CF or reporting to a Canadian superior in an international context are not eligible for Canadian service medals.

Service in South-West Asia between 11 September 2001 and 31 July 2009 which was not under the NATO-led ISAF is not eligible for this award but may be eligible for the South-West Asia Service Medal, see the page for this medal for further details.

Aircrew flying into the theatre accumulate one day of service for the first sortie flown on any day, additional sorties flown on the same day receive no further credit.

The first and last days in theatre count as full days.

Visits and inspections do not constitute qualifying service. Specifically, visits for the purpose of leadership, familiarization, ceremonial, or morale by civilian or military VIPs as well as Staff Assistance Visits (SAVs), Staff Inspection Visits (SIVs), and specialist visits for the conduct of summary/criminal/administrative investigations, courts martial, Boards of Inquiry, trial evaluations, academic studies, surveys or other similar administrative activities are excluded from qualification.

Any person who dies or is evacuated because of injuries or medical reasons directly attributable to service is deemed to have satisfied the time criteria set out above. Any recipient of the Star who dies or is evacuated because of injuries or medical reasons directly attributable to service shall be credited the entire period the person would have served should the person have completed their tour of duty for the purpose of calculating eligibility towards Rotation Bars.

When a person meets the criteria for the GCS-SWA or a Bar to it and the GSM-SWA or a Bar to it within a period of 180 days, the person shall only be awarded the GCS or a Bar to it. In other words, one cannot earn both the GCS and the GSM for SWA (or bars to them) during a six months period.

The Star and Rotation Bars shall be awarded for honourable service.

For more details, consult the Eligible service list.



The GCS is a gold-coloured four-pointed star, 44 mm across, representing the cardinal points of a compass bearing on the obverse, built-up in order from the back: a wreath of maple leaves terminating at the top with the Royal Crown, two crossed swords, the blades and hilts forming four additional points to the star, an anchor and a flying eagle. The wreath represents honour, the maple leaves represent Canada, the anchor, crossed swords and eagle represent the three services of the Canadian Forces and the Crown represents the Queen of Canada and her role as the fount of all honours. On the reverse appear within a raised circle, from top to bottom: the Royal Cypher ensigned by the Royal Crown, a plain space for engraving, and three maple leaves on one stem.

The ribbon passes through a ring attached to a small ball at the top point of the star.

The ribbon is 32 mm wide with a central stripe of green (12 mm), on either side of which are stripes of white (2 mm) and red (8 mm). Red and white are the official colours of Canada as appointed by King George V in 1921 and green represents service.

The rotations bars for the Star are gold in colour with a raised edge and bear either one or five maples leaves.



Rotation Bar

Rotation Bars are awarded to recognize a further 180 days of eligible service following qualification for the Star or the last Rotation Bar the person has earned. One bar bearing five maple leaves is worn in lieu of five bars bearing one maple leaf.


The GCS-SWA shall be worn in the sequence prescribed in the Canadian Orders, Decorations and Medals Directive, and in the following manner:

On the left breast, suspended from the ribbon described above, between the General Campaign Star with ALLIED FORCE ribbon and the General Campaign Star with EXPEDITION ribbon;

  • One bar is worn centred on the ribbon;
  • If multiple bars have been awarded, they shall be evenly spaced on the ribbon in the order earned, with the first bar earned worn the closest to the Star; and
  • When the undress ribbon is worn, a silver maple leaf shall be worn centred on the ribbon of the Medal to indicate the award of a Rotation Bar, a gold maple leaf shall be worn to indicate the award of a second Rotation Bar and a red maple leaf shall be worn to indicate the award of a third Rotation Bar. If more than three Rotation Bars have been awarded, those devices shall be worn in combination so as to indicate the total number of Bars awarded.


The use of a post-nominal is not authorized for this medal.

Historical notes

The following is a list of Canadian Forces members who have died while performing service eligible for this award:

Allard J.P.G.M. Cpl

Anderson J. Cpl

Arnal J.H. Cpl

Arndt R.F. MCpl

Arnold G.H. Cpl

Audet P.Y. MCpl

Baker J.C. Cpl

Bartsch C.D. Cpl

Bason C.S.F. MCpl

Beauchamp N.R. Cpl

Beerenfenger R.C. Cpl

Blais K.M.N. Cpl

Blake C. PO2

Bobbitt C. Cpl

Bouthillier J. Pte

Bouzane S.F. Cpl

Boyes J.G. Lt

Boyes J.J. Sgt

Braun D.R. Cpl

Brown D.R. WO

Bulger N.A. Cpl

Byers D.R.J. Pte

Caswell D.J. Pte

Chidley G.W. Pte

Collier B.J. Pte

Costall R.H. Pte

Courcy S.J.G. Pte

Couturier J.J.S. Cpl

Crooks T.K.G. Pte

Curwin J.M.R. Pte

Cushley W.J.J. Pte

Dallaire K.Y.R. Pte

Dawe M.J. Capt

Diab M.H. Pte

Dion J.J. Pte

Diplaros D. Pte

Doyle E.M. MCpl

Drouin J.F. Cpl

Dubé J.R.M. Cpl

Duchesne C.J.T.A MCpl

Eades S.A. Sgt

Eykelenboom A.J. Cpl

Faught J. Sgt

Fitzpatrick D.J. Cpl

Fortin J.D.O. Cpl

Francis J.C. Capt

Freeman M.B. Pte

Giesebrecht K. MCpl

Gillam C.P. Sgt

Girouard R.M.J. CWO

Gonthier J.F.E. Pte

Good B.R. Pte

Goudreault M. Sgt

Graham M.A. Pte

Greenfield S.D. Pte

Greenslade D.R. Pte

Greff B.G. MCpl

Grenon A.P. Cpl

Hamilton T.J. Cpl

Hayakaze M.Y. Pte

Hayes C.J. Pte

Horn C.J. Pte

Hornburg N. Cpl

Ingram V. Sgt

Joannette M.M. Cpl

Jones J.P. Pte

Karigiannis C. Sgt

Keating S.P. Cpl

Keller B.J. Cpl

Kennedy K.V. Pte

Klukie J.J. Pte

Kruse G.J. Sgt

Labbé E.B. Pte

Leary R.S. Capt

Levesque M. Pte

Longtin J.M.S.S. Pte

Lormand P.J. Pte

Lucas D.J. Sgt

MacNeil J. Sgt

Marshall S.J. Pte

Martin J.L.S. Cpl

Massouh H. WO

McCormack Z. Cpl

McCully M.J.C. Cpl

McKay K.T. Pte

McLaren M.R. Cpl

Megeney R.K. Cpl

Mellish F.R. WO

Mendes M.L. Maj

Mercier J.C.M.M. MWO

Michaud C.P. MCpl

Miller A. Pte

Miok G. Sgt

Mitchell R.T.J. Cpl

Morley K.I. Cpl

Murphy J.B. Cpl

Nolan R.F. WO

Nuttall A.R. Lt

O'Quinn K.C. Cpl

Ouellet J. Cpl

Parker G. Col

Paul F.C. Capt

Péloquin A.J. Pte

Pentland P.J. Pte

Pépin J.Y.F.S. Maj

Pinksen B.N.C.R. Cpl

Poland B.D. Cpl

Priede D.J. MCpl

Reid C.J. Cpl

Renaud J.M.G.R Pte

Roberge J.M.F.G. WO

Roberts J.B. MCpl

Ruckpaul R.M. Maj

Rudd L. Pte

Scherrer M.A.Y. Cpl

Seggie M.J.A. Cpl

Shipway P. Sgt

Short R.A. Sgt

Snyder J.S. Capt

Stachnik S.H. Sgt

Stannix C.P. Cpl

Starker M.G. Cpl

Stewart A.M.J. MCpl

Stock S.J. Pte

Storm A.H. Cpl

Street T.J. Pte

Taylor K. Sgt

Tedford D.S. Sgt

Todd T.W. Pte

Vernelli S.F. MCpl

Walsh J.S. MCpl

Wasden D.R.R.J. Cpl

Watkins L.W.T. Pte

Wiebe J.V. Pte

Williams A.E. Cpl

Williamson B.N. Pte

Wilmot C.W. Pte

Wilson M.A. Pte

Wilson R.J. WO

The GCS and GSM were created by Her Majesty The Queen in March 2004. Initially both medals were issued each with only one ribbon (those currently used for South-West Asia) with bars specifying the operation being recognized. Two bars were created, namely ALLIED FORCE and ISAF+FIAS.

The inaugural ceremony took place on 29 November 2004 in the ballroom of Rideau Hall in Ottawa. On this occasion, Her Excellency, the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, CC, CMM, COM, CD, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, presented the Star to 28 representative recipients (8 with ALLIED FORCE bar and 20 with ISAF+FIAS bar), including the families of three of the casualties listed above. The first presentations of the General Service Medal were also made during that event.

In 2009, the GCS and GSM were modified so that the existing bars were abolished, being replaced with theatre or service-specific ribbons thus allowing the use of bars to recognize multiple rotations where appropriate. As a result, recipients of the original GCS with ISAF+FIAS bar must have their medal remounted without the bar but using the same ribbon. The ISAF+FIAS bars shall be returned to DH&R. Moreover, because the provision that no one could earn both the GCS and the GSM for ISAF service has been modified, some recipients who had to relinquish their GSM in order to receive the GCS will be able to claim it back provided they did not meet the criteria for both awards within the same period of six months.

Captain Carl Gauthier of the Directorate of History and Heritage, DND, designed the award. The Canadian Heraldic Authority at the Chancellery of Honours, Rideau Hall, completed the final artwork.

The Star is engraved on the reverse with the service number, abbreviated substantive rank, initials and name of the recipient.

As of 1 June 2012, 30 114 awards had been made.

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