Governor General announces the first-ever awarding of Military Valour Decorations
October 27, 2006
OTTAWA—Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, announced today the awarding of the first four Military Valour Decorations to members of the Canadian Forces who have displayed gallantry and devotion to duty in combat.
The recipients will be invited to receive their decoration from the Governor General at a presentation ceremony to be held at a later date.
Military Valour Decorations are national honours awarded to recognize acts of valour, self-sacrifice or devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy. They consist of the Victoria Cross, the Star of Military Valour and the Medal of Military Valour. This marks the first time that these decorations, which were created in 1993, have been awarded.
Note that the rank used in this document reflects the substantive rank held by the member at the time of the incident.
Star of Military Valour
Medal of Military Valour
The citations for the recipients (Annex A), as well as additional information on the Military Valour Decorations (Annex B) are attached.
Sergeant Patrick Tower, S.M.V., C.D.
Sergeant Tower is recognized for valiant actions taken on August 3, 2006, in the Pashmul region of Afghanistan. Following an enemy strike against an outlying friendly position that resulted in numerous casualties, Sergeant Tower assembled the platoon medic and a third soldier and led them across 150 metres of open terrain, under heavy enemy fire, to render assistance. On learning that the acting platoon commander had perished, Sergeant Tower assumed command and led the successful extraction of the force under continuous small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire. Sergeant Tower’s courage and selfless devotion to duty contributed directly to the survival of the remaining platoon members.
Sergeant Michael Thomas Victor Denine, M.M.V., C.D.
Sergeant Denine deployed with 8 Platoon, C Company, 1 PPCLI during Operation ARCHER in Afghanistan. On May 17, 2006, while sustaining concentrated rocket-propelled grenade, machine gun and small arms fire, the main cannon and the machine gun on his light armoured vehicle malfunctioned. Under intense enemy fire, he recognized the immediate need to suppress the enemy fire and exited the air sentry hatch to man the pintle-mounted machine gun. Completely exposed to enemy fire, he laid down a high volume of suppressive fire, forcing the enemy to withdraw. Sergeant Denine’s valiant action ensured mission success and likely saved the lives of his crew.
Master Corporal Collin Ryan Fitzgerald, M.M.V.
Master Corporal Fitzgerald deployed with 5 Platoon, B Company, 1 PPCLI Battle Group in Afghanistan. He is recognized for outstanding selfless and valiant actions carried out on May 24, 2006, during an ongoing enemy ambush involving intense, accurate enemy fire. Master Corporal Fitzgerald repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire by entering and re-entering a burning platoon vehicle and successfully driving it off the roadway, permitting the remaining vehicles trapped in the enemy zone to break free. Master Corporal Fitzgerald’s courageous and completely selfless actions were instrumental to his platoon’s successful egress and undoubtedly contributed to saving the lives of his fellow platoon members.
Private Jason Lamont, M.M.V.
Private Lamont deployed with the Health Support Services Company, 1 PPCLI Battle Group during Operation ARCHER. On July 13, 2006, an element of the reconnaissance platoon came under heavy enemy fire from a compound located in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, and was isolated from the rest of the platoon. During the firefight, another soldier was shot while attempting to withdraw back to the firing line and was unable to continue. Without regard for his personal safety, Private Lamont, under concentrated enemy fire and with no organized suppression by friendly forces, sprinted through open terrain to administer first aid. Private Lamont's actions demonstrated tremendous courage, selflessness and devotion to duty.
The three Military Valour Decorations, namely the Victoria Cross, the Star of Military Valour and the Medal of Military Valour, were created by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada, on January 1, 1993. The Decorations may be awarded posthumously.
The Victoria Cross is awarded for the most conspicuous bravery, a daring or pre‑eminent act of valour or self-sacrifice, or extreme devotion to duty, in the presence of the enemy.
The Star of Military Valour is awarded for distinguished and valiant service in the presence of the enemy.
The Medal of Military Valour is awarded for an act of valour or devotion to duty in the presence of the enemy.
Anyone can propose a nomination for the Military Valour Decorations. If a member of our Canadian Forces meets the criteria, submission will be made through the member’s chain of command for consideration by the Military Valour Decorations Advisory Committee, and the Governor General. For all three Military Valour Decorations, recipients must be a member of the Canadian Forces or a member of an allied armed force that is serving with, or in conjunction with, the Canadian Forces, on or after January 1, 1993.
Shortly after the beginning of Canadian involvement in Afghanistan, it was established that the basic conditions for the awarding of the Decorations were met. The gallant actions of Canadian Forces members in the face of increased hostilities in recent months have provided the occasion to award them.