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Governor General announces nine Military Valour Decorations, four Meritorious Service Decorations and seven Mentions in Dispatches

April 24, 2007

OTTAWA—Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, announced nine Military Valour Decorations to members of the Canadian Forces who have displayed gallantry and devotion to duty in combat. She also announced four Meritorious Services Decorations (Military Division) and seven Mention in Dispatches to individuals whose specific achievements have brought honour to the Canadian Forces and to Canada.

The recipients will be invited to receive their decoration or insignia at presentation ceremonies at a later date.

RECIPIENTS:
Please note that the rank used in this document reflects the substantive rank held by the recipient at the time of the incident:

MILITARY VALOUR DECORATIONS

STAR OF MILITARY VALOUR

Name

Current posting

Corporal Sean Teal., S.M.V.

Petawawa, Ont.

Private Jess Randall Larochelle, S.M.V.

Petawawa, Ont.

MEDAL OF MILITARY VALOUR

Name

Current posting

Corporal Chad Gerald Chevrefils, M.M.V.

Shilo, Man.

Corporal Jason Funnell, M.M.V.

Petawawa, Ont.

Master-Corporal Sean Hubert Niefer, M.M.V. 

Petawawa, Ont.

Private Michael Patrick O’Rourke, M.M.V. 

Petawawa, Ont.

Corporal Clinton John Orr, M.M.V. 

Petawawa, Ont.

Captain Michael John Reekie, M.M.V. 

Shilo, Man.

Corporal Joseph Jason Lee Ruffolo, M.M.V. 

Petawawa, Ont.

MERITORIOUS SERVICE DECORATIONS (MILITARY DIVISION)

MERITORIOUS SERVICE CROSS

Name

Current posting

Brigadier-General Gary James Patrick O’Brien, M.S.C., C.D.

Toronto, Ont.

MERITORIOUS SERVICE MEDAL

Name

Current posting

Major Cary Arthur Baker, M.S.M., C.D. 

Brunssum, The Netherlands

Master Warrant Officer Darcy Shawn Elder, M.S.M., C.D.

Ottawa, Ont.

Honorary Colonel Bernardus Antonios (Ben) Van Ruiten, M.S.M., C.D.

Winnipeg, Man.

MENTION IN DISPATCHES

Name

Current posting

Sergeant Brian Vincent Adams, C.D.

Shilo, Man.

Corporal William Jonathan Elliott

Shilo, Man.

Corporal Nigel Jason Gregg

Shilo, Man.

Master-Corporal Richard James Alan Harris, C.D.

Petawawa, Ont.

Sergeant Dan James Holley

Shilo, Man.

Master-Corporal Dwayne Robert Alvin Orvis

Petawawa, Ont.

Private Timmy Dean Wilkins

Shilo, Man.

Additional information on the Military Valour Decorations (Annex A), the Meritorious Service Decorations (Annex B) and Mentions in Dispatches (Annex C) are attached.

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Media information
Marie-Paule Thorn
Rideau Hall Press Office
613-993-2569

Media Liaison Office
Department of National Defence
613-996-2353 or 613‑996‑2354

Annex A - MILITARY VALOUR DECORATIONS

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.

Annex B - MERITORIOUS SERVICE DECORATIONS

The Meritorious Service Decorations include a military division and a civil division, with two levels each: a medal and a cross. The military division recognizes individuals for their outstanding professionalism and for bringing honour to the Canadian Forces and to Canada. The civil division recognizes individuals who have performed an exceptional deed or an activity that brought honour to the community or to Canada.

The Meritorious Service Cross (Military Division) recognizes a military deed or activity that has been performed in an outstandingly professional manner, according to a rare high standard that brings considerable benefit or great honour to the Canadian Forces.

The Meritorious Service Medal (Military Division) recognizes a military deed or activity performed in a highly professional manner, according to a very high standard that brings benefit or honour to the Canadian Forces.

These decorations are an important part of the Canadian Honours System, which recognizes excellence. Meritorious Service Decorations honour either a single achievement or an activity over a specified period. The Meritorious Service Decorations are open to both Canadians and non-Canadians.

Anyone may nominate an individual for the civil division of the Meritorious Service Decorations, while military candidates are recommended by the Chief of the Defence Staff. Nominations and awards may be made posthumously, but nominations for activities that occurred prior to June 1984, the year in which the honour was first created, are not accepted.

Annex C - MENTIONS IN DISPATCHES

The Mention in Dispatches was created to recognize members of the Canadian Forces on active service and other individuals working with or in conjunction with the Canadian Forces for valiant conduct, devotion to duty or other distinguished service. Recipients are entitled to wear a bronze oak leaf on the appropriate campaign or service medal ribbon.

Annex D - CITATIONS

MILITARY VALOUR DECORATIONS

Coporal Sean Teal, S.M.V.
Petawawa, Ontario; and Dartmouth and Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia
Star of Military Valour

On September 3, 2006, during Operation MEDUSA, the light utility vehicle driven by Corporal Teal, a member of 7 Platoon Charles Company, was hit and destroyed by enemy rocket-propelled grenade fire. Despite being wounded, Corporal Teal assessed the situation and, under heavy enemy fire, moved to report the situation and bring assistance. He then returned twice to the vehicle to provide treatment to his severely wounded comrades, including the platoon medic, and to evacuate all personnel injured or killed. His brave and professional actions saved lives and allowed the orderly withdrawal of his platoon under heavy fire.

Private Jess Randall Larochelle, S.M.V.
Petawawa, Ontario
Star of Military Valour

On October 14, 2006, Private Larochelle of the 1st Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group was manning an observation post when it was destroyed by an enemy rocket in Pashmul, Afghanistan. Although he was alone, severely injured, and under sustained enemy fire in his exposed position at the ruined observation post, he aggressively provided covering fire over the otherwise undefended flank of his company’s position. While two personnel were killed and three others were wounded in the initial attack, Private Larochelle’s heroic actions permitted the remainder of the company to defend their battle positions and to successfully fend off the sustained attack of more than 20 insurgents. His valiant conduct saved the lives of many members of his company.

Corporal Chad Gerald Chevrefils, M.M.V.
Shilo and Pine Falls, Manitoba
Medal of Military Valour

On August 19, 2006, Corporal Chevrefils, a member of Alpha Company, 1st  Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group, was the driver of a light armoured vehicle during an engagement with numerically superior Taliban forces in Masum Ghar. During the three‑hour firefight, he successfully maneuvered the vehicle through difficult terrain with consummate skill, enabling it to remain unscathed by enemy fire. He subsequently dismounted his vehicle under enemy fire to assist in the recovery of another light armoured vehicle. Corporal Chevrefils’ courageous and skillful actions helped to prevent the Taliban forces from outflanking the remainder of the Company and undoubtedly saved numerous lives.

Corporal Jason Funnell, M.M.V.
Petawawa and Kingston, Ontario
Medal of Military Valour

On September 3, 2006, during Operation MEDUSA in Afghanistan, Corporal Funnell of 7 Platoon Charles Company braved intense enemy fire to come to the assistance of his comrades trapped in a disabled vehicle in an enemy kill zone. Ignoring his personal safety by twice crossing ground covered by effective enemy fire, Corporal Funnell successfully assisted in the treatment and evacuation of his injured and killed comrades while returning effective fire. His brave and professional actions saved lives and allowed the orderly withdrawal of his platoon under heavy fire.

Master Corporal Sean Hubert Niefer, M.M.V.
Petawawa and Prince Edwards-Hastings, Ontario
Medal of Military Valour

Master Corporal Niefer was a member of Charles Company, 1st Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group, in Rotation 2 of Operation ARCHER in Afghanistan. On September 3, 2006, while engaged in combat operations in support of Operation MEDUSA, he selflessly ordered his vehicle into the enemy kill zone to support extraction of wounded comrades trapped by an enemy ambush. He subsequently provided covering fire from a highly exposed position to facilitate their evacuation and, by doing so, saved the lives of numerous fellow soldiers. His outstanding leadership, courage and valiant action brought great credit to Canada and the Canadian Forces.

Private Michael Patrick O'Rourke, M.M.V.
Petawawa and Renfrew, Ontario
Medal of Military Valour

On September 3, 2006, Private O’Rourke, a member of 7 Platoon Charles Company participating in Operation MEDUSA, selflessly ignored his personal safety by braving intense enemy fire to assist in the treatment and evacuation of his comrades trapped in a disabled vehicle. Twice crossing through sustained enemy fire, Private O’Rourke returned effective fire and successfully assisted in the evacuation of the injured or killed personnel. His brave and professional actions saved lives and allowed the orderly withdrawal of his platoon under heavy fire.

Corporal Clinton John Orr, M.M.V.
Belleville, Ontario; and Chilliwack, British Columbia
Medal of Military Valour

Corporal Orr was a member of 23 Field Squadron, 1st  Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group, in Rotation 2 of Operation ARCHER in Afghanistan. On September 3, 2006, he was operating an armoured vehicle attached to 2 Troop during an assault in Pashmul. Amidst intense combat action and under direct enemy fire, he placed himself at great risk by maneuvering to recover one light armoured vehicle and only ceased his relentless attempts to extract a second one when informed that the vehicle’s crew had withdrawn to safety. His focus on the mission and his courage in the face of danger have brought great credit to the Canadian Forces and to Canada.

Captain Michael John Reekie, M.M.V.
Shilo, Manitoba; and Abbotsford, British Columbia
Medal of Military Valour

On August 19, 2006, while deployed with Alpha Company, 1st  Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group, in Masum Ghar in Afghanistan, Captain Reekie carried out valiant actions during an intense firefight with Taliban insurgents. Displaying superb judgement, he assessed the changing tactical situation and repositioned his vehicle to maximum advantage, enabling the successful interception and defeat of a numerically superior enemy force during the ensuing three-hour firefight. His outstanding initiative prevented the enemy from outflanking the position. Captain Reekie’s selfless courage and exceptional leadership undoubtedly saved the lives of numerous Alpha Company soldiers.

Corporal Joseph Jason Lee Ruffolo, M.M.V.
Petawawa, Ontario; and Montreal, Quebec
Medal of Military Valour

Corporal Ruffolo was deployed with Charles Company of the 1st  Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group in Afghanistan. On September 3, 2006, while engaged in combat operations in the opening phase of Operation MEDUSA, a bulldozer vainly attempted to extract his light armoured vehicle and came under heavy enemy fire. Without regard for his own safety, Corporal Ruffolo placed himself in a very vulnerable position to unhook his vehicle. In a subsequent attack, he again exposed himself to enemy fire to render first aid to a casualty. His courage and professionalism under extreme duress brought great credit to the Armed Forces and to Canada.

MERITORIOUS SERVICE DECORATIONS

Brigadier-General Gary James Patrick O'Brien, M.S.C., C.D.
Downsview and London, Ontario
Meritorious Service Cross (Military Division)

Brigadier-General O’Brien is recognized for his outstanding leadership and commitment while deployed as the deputy commanding general for political military integration in the Combined Security Transition Command - Afghanistan, from March to December 2006. Through his frequent interactions with the President of Afghanistan and the Minister of the Interior, he greatly facilitated the establishment of legitimate and capable Afghan policing forces. This was essential to ensuring the rule of law, extending the Government of Afghanistan’s legitimacy and enhancing the transition of the nation to a viable democracy. His exceptionally high level of performance brought great honour to the Canadian Forces and to Canada.

Major Cary Arthur Baker, M.S.M., C.D.
Belleville, Ontario; and Summerside, Prince Edward Island
Meritorious Service Medal (Military Division)

Major Baker’s performance in planning and executing NATO Exercise Steadfast Jaguar from July 2005 to July 2006 was exemplary. His commitment to duty was pivotal to the development and implementation of the demanding operational capability of the NATO Response Force (NRF) Special Operations Component Command for NRF 7 and 8 and the Cape Verde Coast Guard Marines. A high achiever, he committed himself to ‘mission first’ and focused on the delivery of a training exercise of the highest standard. His inspirational and untiring efforts in the NATO multinational environment brought great credit to the Canadian Special Operations Forces, to the Canadian Forces and to Canada.

Master Warrant Officer Darcy Shawn Elder, M.S.M., C.D.
Ottawa and Embrun, Ontario
Meritorious Service Medal (Military Division)

The Meritorious Service Medal is awarded to Master Warrant Officer Elder for his courage, professionalism, and impressive leadership abilities while serving with the Military Security Guard Unit Detachment in Kabul from July 2004 to July 2005. He demonstrated leadership of the highest level as he took on a stressful situation and inspired his personnel to conduct their duties in the most proficient manner under extremely hazardous conditions and in a hostile environment. His leadership skills were paramount in guiding his team in the protection of Canadian Embassy staff, bringing credit and honour to the Canadian Forces and to Canada.

Honorary Colonel Bernardus Antonios (Ben) Van Ruiten, M.S.M., C.D.
Winnipeg, Manitoba
Meritorious Service Medal (Military Division)

During his 13-year term, Honorary Colonel Van Ruiten has provided outstanding service to the Canadian Forces and to the 17 Wing community. A gentleman of impeccable integrity and boundless energy, he has dedicated himself to countless events and initiatives supporting members of the Canadian Forces serving at home and abroad, as well as veterans, cadets, the province of Manitoba, the city of Winnipeg and the thousands of men and women in the 17 Wing area of responsibility. Known and respected by every member of this community, Honorary Colonel Van Ruiten is an outstanding example of professionalism, civic responsibility and leadership. He has brought great credit to himself, to 17 Wing and to the Canadian Forces.

MENTIONS IN DISPATCHES

Sergeant Brian Vincent Adams, C.D.
Joint Task Force Afghanistan
Mention-in-Dispatches

Sergeant Adams, who was deployed with Alpha Company, 1st Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group in Afghanistan, is recognized for his leadership and courage under fire. On August 19, 2006, during an intense 12‑hour firefight with the Taliban insurgents in Masum Ghar, he implemented effective perimeter security and coordinated the extraction and recovery of an overturned light armoured vehicle as well as the subsequent withdrawal of his platoon. His composure and personal efforts under hostile conditions instilled the utmost confidence in his platoon, which contributed to the success of the operation. 

Corporal William Jonathan Elliott
Joint Task Force Afghanistan
Mention-in-Dispatches

On August 19, 2006, Corporal Elliot of Alpha Company, 1st Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group, was a crew member of a light armoured vehicle during an engagement with numerically superior Taliban forces in Masum Ghar. During the three‑hour firefight, he successfully engaged the enemy, skillfully conducted ammunition uploads and prevented a potential “friendly‑fire” incident with an Afghan National Security Force vehicle. Under enemy fire, he subsequently dismounted his vehicle to assist in the recovery of another light armoured vehicle. His courageous and skillful actions helped to prevent Taliban forces from outflanking the remainder of the Company and undoubtedly saved numerous lives.

Corporal Nigel Jason. Gregg
Joint Task Force Afghanistan
Mention-in-Dispatches

On August 19, 2006, Corporal Gregg of Alpha Company, 1st Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group, was a crew member of a light armoured vehicle during an engagement with numerically superior Taliban forces in Masum Ghar. During the three‑hour firefight, he continuously and effectively engaged the enemy with his personal weapon, while at the same time acting as loader for the vehicle’s primary ammunition bin. Under enemy fire, he subsequently dismounted his vehicle to assist in the recovery of another light armoured vehicle. Corporal Gregg’s courageous and skillful actions helped to prevent Taliban forces from outflanking the remainder of the Company and undoubtedly saved numerous lives.

Master Corporal Richard James Alan Harris, C.D.
Joint Task Force Afghanistan
Mention-in-Dispatches

Master Corporal Harris is mentioned in dispatches for service while deployed in support of the 1st  Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group in Afghanistan. On October 3, 2006, while called to reinforce a Canadian observation post under attack, he maneuvered his Bison recovery vehicle to shield the evacuation and treatment of casualties. Continuously exposed to enemy fire, Master Corporal Harris provided suppressive machine gunfire, which forced the enemy to take cover and reduced the accuracy of their fire. The decisive and courageous actions of Master Corporal Harris undoubtedly saved the lives of his fellow soldiers.

Sergeant Dan James Holley
Joint Task Force Afghanistan
Mention-in-Dispatches

Sergeant Holley is mentioned in dispatches for service with Alpha Company, 1st Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group, in Afghanistan. On August 19, 2006, during an engagement with Taliban forces in Masum Ghar, the light armoured vehicle in which he was the gunner came under intense fire from a numerically superior enemy force. During a three‑hour battle, he effectively engaged the enemy with his vehicle’s weapons systems, while providing strong leadership and encouragement to his less experienced crew. His actions enabled them to successfully defend the rear flank of a friendly position, saving the lives of numerous Canadian and Afghan soldiers.

Master Corporal Dwayne Robert Alvin Orvis
Joint Task Force Afghanistan
Mention-in-Dispatches

Master Corporal Orvis was a member of Charles Company, 1st Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group, in Rotation 2 of Operation ARCHER, in Afghanistan. On September 3, 2006, during Operation Medusa, his section came under intense enemy attack, resulting in the death of his section leader and the wounding of numerous others. Without hesitation, Master Corporal Orvis took charge of the section, gave sound tactical direction regarding casualty care and led his team to safety. His courage and strong leadership under extreme stress exemplified the finest traditions of his profession and brought great honour to the Canadian Forces and to Canada.

Private Timmy Dean Wilkins
Joint Task Force Afghanistan
Mention-in-Dispatches

On August 19, 2006, Private Wilkins of Alpha Company, 1st Royal Canadian Regiment Battle Group, was a crew member of a light armoured vehicle during an engagement with numerically superior Taliban forces in Masum Ghar. During the three‑hour firefight, he effectively employed the vehicle’s general purpose machine gun to suppress a group of enemy fighters on one side of the vehicle. He also provided accurate and valuable targetting information to the vehicle’s turret crew. Private Wilkin’s skillful actions helped to prevent the Taliban forces from outflanking the remainder of the Company and undoubtedly saved numerous lives.

Updated: 2007-05-17
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