HIS illustrious career has taken him to more than 56 countries as a Royal Marine musician, performing for presidents, royals, and the public.
Now, Colour Sergeant Steve Bacon has been rewarded for his distinguished service with the coveted Meritorious Service Medal.
The 48-year-old, nicknamed Rasher, was described as an exceptional musician in his citation for the medal, which is the highest distinction for senior servicemen and women.
But it was his contribution to military operations that set him apart from the rest, as he volunteered for two tours of duty in Afghanistan.
CSgt Bacon was presented with the medal by the Royal Navy’s Second Sea Lord Vice-Admiral David Steel at a ceremony on board HMS Victory.
He said: ‘It is a great honour. I’ve been doing this for more than 30 years now and will leave the service next May, so to receive this now is the icing on the cake of my career.
‘Those years have been wonderful, and I was fortunate to be in the band service when we had the opportunity to go around the world.’
CSgt Bacon, who plays the trumpet and violin, has served in several Royal Marines bands, and gave nine years’ service in the Royal Yacht Britannia as the principal post horn soloist. This saw him performing for the royal family and visiting world leaders.
In Afghanistan, CSgt Bacon carried out the role of motor transport officer for the Joint Force Medical Group.
But even further beyond his remit, he volunteered as a battlefield ambulance driver on numerous combat patrols.
CSgt Bacon’s citation said: ‘This not only cemented the respect he had already earned from his colleagues, but also enthused them to carry out their roles to the highest standards.’
His second tour of duty saw him carrying out morale-boosting performances with his colleagues to coalition troops throughout Afghanistan.
On the day CSgt Bacon received his MSM, his colleagues from the Royal Marines School of Music in Portsmouth Naval Base went on their usual parade band rehearsal – but took a different route past the ceremony so they could perform Cliff Richard’s Congratulations for him.
‘It was a nice touch,’ he said.