The Iraq Medal recognises service with the Australian Defence Force in specified operations in the Iraq region from 18 March 2003.
The Prime Minister, the Hon John Howard MP, announced the establishment of the Iraq Medal and the Afghanistan Medal on Anzac Day 2004.
This campaign medal honours those Australian Defence Force members who served, and continue to serve, in and around Iraq.
Australian Defence Force deployments to Iraq are also recognised through the award, the Australian Active Service Medal, clasp 'Iraq'.
The Iraq Medal was formally established by Letters Patent on 30 September 2004.
How it is awarded
The Governor-General awards the medal on the recommendation of the Chief of the Defence Force.
Australian Defence Force members may qualify through service in particular operations including:
- Operation Falconer, 18 March to 22 July 2003;
- Operation Catalyst, from 16 July 2003;
- Operation Riverbank, from 21 July 2008;
- Operation Kruger, from 1 January 2009.
Eligibility includes a specified period of (aggregated) service or, in the case of Air Force members, a qualifying number of sorties.
The Iraq medal features the Commonwealth Coat of Arms on the front and images of symbolic relevance to the area of operation on the back.
The reverse of the Iraq Medal is based on a processional lion, which is copied from a relief on the Gateway of the Temple of Ishtar in Babylon. In the Assyrian Empire, the lion was a dominant symbol of power. The lion stands on a narrow plinth, symbolising balance, with the word 'Iraq' inscribed underneath.
The medal ribbon has a central vertical stripe of red, signifying the conflict in Iraq. This is flanked by stripes of purple representing the three arms of the Australian Defence Force. The wide, outer stripes of yellow symbolise Iraq's desert sands.