Doug Beattie MC, MLA, was awarded the ‘Queens Commendation for Bravery’ for his actions during the invasion of Iraq.
Mr Beattie, now an Ulster Unionist MLA, said the troops who died between 2003 and 2009 were sent to war "so poorly equipped for the task"
Capt Beattie, who served in Iraq with 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment, said few military campaigns have "left such a bitter taste and generated so much emotion" as invasion of Iraq.
But he added that when soldiers entered the war, they thought it was "for a just and noble cause".
"We did think that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction and we were going in to do a good thing,"
"We can vilify Tony Blair, and his legacy is toxic on this issue, but he was not the only person who was responsible for this catastrophe,"
"Those responsible for the dossier that gave us the evidence of weapons of mass destruction - MI6 and MI5 - also have to explain themselves.
He added that he was "proud" of the soldiers he served with "under difficult conditions", and said they should not be forgotten in the fallout from the report.
"Their compassion and gentleness has been largely forgotten because of the ills of a few who have destroyed the reputation of the many," Capt Beattie said.