Chief of the Defence Staff, Admiral Tony Radakin
Chief of the Defence Staff, Admiral Tony Radakin (Picture: MOD)

Head of UK Armed Forces honoured with United States' highest distinction for foreigners

Chief of the Defence Staff, Admiral Tony Radakin
Chief of the Defence Staff, Admiral Tony Radakin (Picture: MOD)

Chief of the Defence Staff Admiral Sir Tony Radakin has been awarded the Legion of Merit, one of the highest military awards the United States can offer.

Admiral Sir Tony, speaking as he joined his US counterpart, General Mark Milley, on BBC current affairs programme Sunday With Laura Kuenssberg, said receiving the honour was an "enormous privilege" and "very humbling".

He told the BBC he was delighted to receive the award, adding: "It is really about a professional relationship between our two countries and what that signifies and it keeps both our nations safe and is something that is really very special."

 Legion of Merit Medal awarded to those who gave Exceptionally Meritorious Conduct EXP 041123 CREDIT ALAMY.png
The Legion of Merit is awarded to those who give exceptionally meritorious conduct (Picture: Alamy)

The Legion of Merit is one of the highest awards in the US military system and is the highest award that the US can give to foreigners.

Sir Tony joins a small number of Britons to receive the distinction, among them his predecessor Sir Philip Jones, as well as Royal Marines Major General Rob Magowan and General Sir Peter de la Billière, who commanded British forces in the first Gulf War.

"It signifies ... the relationship between the United States and the UK," General Milley said.  

"Even though we have had a rough start at the beginning we have been shoulder to shoulder in so many conflicts."

The medal is one of the highest non-combat awards that can be bestowed by the US government, awarded for outstanding service and loyalty.

"We have a bond in blood, common values, and the relationship between the British military and American military is as strong as it will ever be," General Milley said.


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