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Top award for soldier Charlie

PUBLISHED: 00:04 20 February 2002 | UPDATED: 11:22 03 March 2010

AN Ipswich soldier is ending his 23-year career with the Army on a high-note by receiving a prestigious medal during a tour in Afghanistan.

Warrant Officer Class One Charlie Clarke received the Meritorious Service Medal in recognition of his consistently outstanding contribution throughout his time in the Army.

AN Ipswich soldier is ending his 23-year career with the Army on a high-note by receiving a prestigious medal during a tour in Afghanistan.

Warrant Officer Class One Charlie Clarke received the Meritorious Service Medal in recognition of his consistently outstanding contribution throughout his time in the Army.

Even though he is based in Bulford, WO1 Clarke lives in the Rushmere area of Ipswich with his wife Sarah and children Darren and Kirsten.

The supply specialist with the Royal Logistic Corps has served in 14 different countries during his career, including Cyprus, Canada, Germany, Brunei, Poland, Sierra Leone and the Balkans.

During his tour in Bosnia in 1997, WO1 Clarke managed to find the time in his hectic work schedule to organise a sponsored run for Great Ormond Street Children's Hospital.

When he returned to the Balkans two years later, he provided valuable support for many Albanian refugees who were fleeing the genocide in Kosovo.

His citation for the decoration read: "During a long and very successful career, Warrant Officer Class One Clarke has served with distinction throughout and has been a fine ambassador for both his Corps and the British Army.

"His leadership, dedication and professionalism, which are matched only by his selfless determination to do the best for those he supports, has been formally recognised by the award of the Meritorious Service Medal."

WO1 Clarke was presented with his medal in Kabul by Commander-in-Chief General Sir Mike Jackson. WO1 Clarke said he was "delighted" to have been decorated.

"Being in Afghanistan is a unique way to end my career in the Army," WO1 Clarke said.

"It was a great opportunity to be able to come out here."

The International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan consists of troops from 18 countries, including the UK, Germany and France. Britain is the lead nation in ISAF until mid-April.

ISAF is patrolling the city of Kabul, and is quite separate from continuing American operations against the Taleban in other parts of Afghanistan.

Britain's 2,000-strong contribution is led by 3 (UK) Division, based in Bulford, and also includes Headquarters 16 Air Assault Brigade from Colchester, the 2nd Battalion The Parachute Regiment and other specialists such as Royal Engineers and logisticians.

As well as patrolling, ISAF has been identifying key reconstruction projects in Kabul such as roads, schools and hospitals.

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