Dutch commandos get nation’s highest honor for Afghanistan deployment

Gijs Tuinman receiving the Order of WillemGijs Tuinman receiving the Order of Willem

The Dutch Corps Commandos will be awarded the Military Order of Willem for their extraordinary efforts in Afghanistan, the government information service Rijksvoorlichtingsdienst announced on Monday. King Willem-Alexander will present the award on March 15th on the Binnenhof in The Hague. 

Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert of Defense nominated the Corps for this prestigious award on the advice of the General Chapter of the Military Order of Willem

The Military Order of Willem is the Netherlands highest and oldest knighthood award for bravery. It was instituted by King Willem I on April 30th, 1815 in recognition of outstanding acts of bravery, skill and loyalty in battle.

The Order is most often awarded to military units, both domestic and foreign. The last Dutch military unit to receive this honor was the Submarine Service in 1947 for their efforts during World War II. Late 2014 former commando Gijs Tuinman was awarded the Order for his brave and courageous actions in Afghanistan - in the autumn of 2009 when he led several dozen soldiers from Task Force 55 in Uruzgan. One of the most acclaimed operations was the rescue of the wounded Corporal Kevin van de Rijdt, who ultimately did not survive that mission.