Governor General to present 48 Military Decorations at Rideau Hall
February 9, 2009
OTTAWA—Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, will present Military Valour Decorations and Meritorious Service Decorations (Military Division) to members of the Canadian and Allied Forces, at Rideau Hall, on Friday, February 13, 2009, at 10:30 a.m.
The Governor General will present three Stars of Military Valour and eight Medals of Military Valour to members of the Canadian Forces who have displayed gallantry and devotion to duty in combat, as well as eight Meritorious Service Crosses (Military Division) and 29 Meritorious Service Medals (Military Division) to members of the Canadian and allied Forces whose specific achievements have brought honour to the Canadian Forces and to Canada.
A media schedule for the presentation ceremony (Annex A), the list of recipients (Annex B) and a backgrounder (Annex C) are attached. Media interested in covering this event are asked to contact the Rideau Hall Press Office before the day of the ceremony.
Annex B- RECIPIENTS
MILITARY VALOUR DECORATIONS
Medal of Military Valour
MERITORIOUS SERVICE DECORATIONS
Meritorious Service Medal (Military Division)
MILITARY VALOUR DECORATIONS
Star of Military Valour (S.M.V.)
Master-Corporal J. Donovan Ball, S.M.V., Edmonton, Alberta and Winnipeg, Manitoba
Corporal Cary Baker, M.M.V., Edmonton, Alberta and Rossland, British Columbia
Master Corporal Ball, then corporal, as well as corporals Baker and Bancarz, and captains Peel and Snyder, were deployed to Afghanistan to serve as mentors to an Afghan company, when they were ambushed by Taliban insurgents on June 4, 2008. With little chance of survival, they exposed themselves to great peril and retaliated against the enemy while encouraging the Afghan soldiers to do the same. Captain Snyder seized control of the situation and ensured that the Afghan soldiers retrieved their wounded comrades. Master Corporal Ball led a two-man team across broken terrain to secure an extraction route that allowed for the execution of a fighting withdrawal by Captain Peel and corporals Bancarz and Baker. Because of their dedication, leadership and valour, many Afghan and Canadian lives were saved.
Warrant Officer William Kenneth MacDonald, S.M.V., C.D.
On August 3, 2006, amidst chaos and under sustained and intense enemy fire in Afghanistan, Warrant Officer MacDonald, then sergeant, selflessly and repeatedly exposed himself to great peril in order to assist his wounded comrades. Despite the risk, he ensured that his men held on until reinforcements arrived and that the platoon’s focus remained on holding the ground that they had fought so hard to secure.
Medal of Military Valour (M.M.V.)
Major Joseph Antoine Dave Abboud, M.S.C., M.M.V., C.D.
A selfless and devoted commander of B Company, 3rd Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment, Major Abboud led his combat team during an arduous battle in Afghanistan that lasted two days, in August 2007. His courage and leadership inspired his troops and contributed to the success of the mission.
Master Corporal Alexandre Benjamin Jonathan Dion, M.M.V.
On September 27, 2007, in the Panjwayi district of Afghanistan, enemy forces ambushed Master Corporal Dion’s platoon and grievously wounded a fellow soldier. Under direct and sustained enemy fire, Master Corporal Dion, then corporal, carried the injured soldier over 150 meters of difficult terrain to safety. His valiant actions helped to save the life of his comrade and enabled his platoon to safely withdraw from the scene.
Sergeant Christopher Lorne Harding, M.M.V., C.D.
Sergeant Harding, then master corporal, was deployed with 6 Platoon, B Company, 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry, in Afghanistan. When his section was attacked on July 8, 2006, he selflessly advanced across open terrain and commanded the battle, while providing first aid to a critically wounded soldier. His courageous actions under intense fire enabled his section to hold its position and to save the life of a comrade.
Warrant Officer Tod Hopkin, M.M.V., C.D.
On August 22 and 23, 2007, Warrant Officer Hopkin commanded the lead vehicle of a combat team through sustained enemy attacks, in Afghanistan, exposing himself to great risk in order to recapture a vital position. His composure and leadership were inspirational, and lead to the success of the mission.
Corporal Bryce Keller, M.M.V. (posthumous)
On August 3, 2006, while exposed to intense enemy fire in Afghanistan, Corporal Keller demonstrated courage and leadership in order to allow his comrades to attend to a critically wounded soldier. Sadly, Corporal Keller made the ultimate sacrifice that day, but his selfless actions contributed to saving lives and enabled his platoon to hold vital terrain until reinforcements arrived.
Major Joseph Antoine Dave Abboud, M.S.C., M.M.V., C.D.
Major Abboud was deployed as the commanding officer of B Company, 3rd Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment, in Afghanistan, from July 2007 to March 2008. He displayed leadership and tactical skills during security and humanitarian assistance operations, which greatly contributed to bringing stability and hope to the Afghan people of the Zharey district.
Lieutenant-Colonel Robert Keith Chamberlain, M.S.C., C.D.
Lieutenant-Colonel Chamberlain was deployed as the commanding officer of the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team, from January 2007 to February 2008. With courage and determination, he created momentum to improve the governance and development aspects of the mission. His leadership and diplomatic skills directly contributed to the enhancement of the Canadian mission in Kandahar Province.
Colonel Nicolas Eldaoud, M.S.C., C.D.
Colonel Eldaoud, then lieutenant-colonel, was deployed as the commanding officer of the National Support Element, in Afghanistan, from July 2007 to February 2008. An inspirational leader, he trained a cohesive combat-ready team. Despite persistent enemy attacks throughout the Afghan landscape, his personal example and dedication ensured the continuous and timely logistics support of the Task Force and was key to the success of the mission.
Major-General Timothy James Grant, O.M.M., M.S.C., C.D. (retired)
Major-General Grant, then brigadier-general, commanded Joint Task Force Afghanistan from November 1, 2006, to August 1, 2007. His steadfast leadership, professionalism, resourcefulness and strong communication skills led to improved Afghan Army units, the safe return of tens of thousands of displaced Afghans to their homes, and increased security of the Afghan population. Through his efforts, he brought great credit to the Canadian Forces and to Canada.
Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Rosaire Aimé Stéphane Lafaut, M.S.C., C.D.
Lieutenant-Colonel Lafaut was deployed as the commanding officer of the Operational Mentoring and Liaison Team, in Afghanistan, from July 2007 to February 2008. Through his effort and leadership, he managed his unit’s three-fold increase in size to include the Afghan National Police. Lieutenant-Colonel Lafaut’s determination also ensured the rapid building of capacity in the Afghan National Security Forces, despite numerous engagements with the enemy.
Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Langlais, M.S.C., C.D.
From November 2006 to March 2007, while he was deployed in the Democratic Republic of Congo as part of the United Nations Organization Mission, Lieutenant-Colonel Langlais served with diplomacy and professionalism. He successfully defused numerous armed conflicts that would have destabilized the country during the presidential elections. Earning the trust of the government and UN officials, he led the evacuation of the Zimbabwean ambassador and his staff during a perilous situation, and managed the safe handover of 130 rebel soldiers to UN care. His extraordinary efforts greatly contributed to the UN’s success during this crisis.
Colonel Michael John Pearson, M.S.C., C.D.
As part of the United States Security Coordinator Mission, Colonel Pearson demonstrated exceptional leadership and diplomacy while posted in Israel, from September 2006 to April 2008. As both an officer and diplomat, he developed policy and implemented programs within the Palestinian security reform process, thereby bringing considerable prestige to the Canadian Forces and to Canada.
Major-General Walter Semianiw, C.M.M., M.S.C., C.D.
As commander of Task Force Kabul from February to August 2005, Major-General Semianiw, then colonel, led Canada’s military efforts on land throughout South-West Asia. Identifying that supporting and developing Afghan self-government was critical to the rebuilding process, he established a framework to set the conditions for the successful deployment of the Strategic Advisory Team to Kabul and Canada’s first Provincial Reconstruction Team to Kandahar province. A dynamic leader, he demonstrated exceptional operational initiative during the seamless transfer of operations from Kabul to Kandahar.
Meritorious Service Medal (Military Division) (M.S.M.)
Lieutenant-Colonel Bergeron is commended for his continued support of the Canadian Forces during the Israel-Hezbollah conflict in 2006. While carrying out daily liaison and co-ordination activities with the Lebanese military, he ensured the unimpeded air, ground and sea movement of personnel in the conflict zone, and the safe evacuation of 15 000 Canadian citizens from war-torn Lebanon.
Corporal Patrick James Berrea, M.S.M., C.D.
As a member of the Directorate of Honours and Recognition, Corporal Berrea made a significant contribution towards the timely recognition of personnel deployed on operations, from 2002 to 2008. By enabling the initial mass distribution of Canadian medals directly to recipients deployed in theatre, he made a substantial impact on the morale of the troops.
Captain James Brennan, M.S.M., C.D.
Deployed as Strategic Airfield Planner from July 2007 to January 2008, Captain Brennan provided exceptional insight and vision that led to the establishment of NATO’s only strategic airport for debarkation in Afghanistan. Adopted at the international level, his work paved the way for the successful deployment of operational aircrafts from NATO and non-NATO nations.
Master Corporal Christian Bureau, M.S.M.
From July 2007 to February 2008, Master Corporal Bureau, then corporal, displayed the highest standards of medical expertise while directing the treatment and evacuation of countless casualties in Afghanistan. Despite extremely difficult conditions, he performed complex medical procedures that saved the lives of many Canadian and Afghan soldiers.
Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Raymond Côté, M.S.M., C.D. (retired)
Chief Petty Officer 1st Class Côté demonstrated leadership and professionalism as regimental sergeant major for the ceremonial contingent commemorating the 90th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, in France, on April 9, 2007. His role in the planning and execution of international events at the Vimy Memorial, where Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II honoured the service of our veterans, brought great credit to the Canadian Forces and to Canada.
Corporal Dominic Couture, M.S.M.
Corporal Couture was deployed as the weapons technician with Joint Task Force Afghanistan, from July 2007 to March 2008. Despite limited resources at the Forward Operating Base, his resourcefulness and expertise ensured the effective repair of artillery systems and the manufacturing of parts. In addition to providing ongoing technical support on the battlefield, his dedicated efforts, under adverse and dangerous conditions, enhanced the operational effectiveness of the battle group.
Colonel Steven M. Czepiga, M.S.M. (retired) (United States Army)
From June 2005 to September 2008, Colonel Czepiga has consistently exhibited a high standard of professionalism in the performance of his duties as the U.S. army attaché in Canada. Working tirelessly to ensure the closest cooperation between Canadian and American armed forces in Afghanistan, he has greatly contributed to the positioning of the Canadian Forces for current operational challenges. His expertise and initiative have brought great honour to the United States Army and to Canada.
Master Warrant Officer Joseph Lucien André Demers, M.S.M., C.D.
Master Warrant Officer Demers was deployed to Afghanistan as the sergeant major of C Company, from July 2007 to March 2008. Despite the casualties suffered by his unit, he selflessly led recovery efforts under heavy insurgent fire. Master Warrant Officer Demers motivated his soldiers to execute over 250 presence patrols. His leadership and unwavering support to the command team contributed directly to strong unit morale and combat effectiveness.
Sergeant Steve John Brian Descarie, M.S.M., C.D.
Sergeant Descarie, then master corporal, is commended for his operational support of Joint Task Force Afghanistan, during his tour with the National Security Agency, based out of Fort George Meade, Maryland, commencing in July 2005. His exceptional analytical skills, professionalism and initiative in developing and delivering actionable intelligence lead to several high-profile successes in actions against anti-coalition forces.
Master Corporal Danielle Dumas, M.S.M.
Master Corporal Dumas, a counter-intelligence investigator with the All Source Intelligence Centre, demonstrated initiative and thoroughness during the conduct of complex counter-intelligence investigations in Afghanistan, in October 2007. Her diligence led to the arrest of a group of individuals responsible for numerous attacks against coalition forces, and prevented planned and impending insurgent attacks and infiltrations.
Colonel Robert George (Geordie) Elms, M.S.M., C.D.
Colonel Elms, then lieutenant-colonel, was deployed as the Canadian Defence advisor to Afghanistan and Pakistan, from August 2003 to November 2007. His close involvement in both military and diplomatic circles, along with his extensive knowledge base, made him a trusted and valued advisor to senior Canadian officials. His dedication, professionalism and communication skills significantly enhanced Canada’s relationship with both Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Honorary Colonel Blake Charles Goldring, M.S.M.
Since his appointment as Honorary Colonel of the Royal Regiment of Canada in November 2005, Colonel Goldring has shown outstanding leadership and vision. His creation of ‘Canada Company’, an organization that brings community and business leaders together to support the Canadian Forces, has resulted in the contribution of millions of dollars for programs that benefit both members of the Canadian Forces and their families.
Major Pierre Huet, M.S.M., C.D.
Major Huet displayed leadership while commanding Reconnaissance Squadron, B Company, 3rd Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment Battle Group, in Afghanistan, from July 2007 to March 2008. His guidance was instrumental in the creation of the first Joint District Coordination Centre, and significantly advanced the establishment of legitimate border security.
Colonel J. C. G. Juneau, M.S.M., C.D.
Colonel Juneau was deployed as the deputy commander of Joint Task Force Afghanistan, from July 2007 to May 2008. A highly skilled leader and planner, Colonel Juneau ensured the strategies for Joint Task Force Afghanistan met the highest standards and that the headquarters were efficiently and effectively run. As acting commander, Colonel Juneau displayed flair and tact, which brought respect and credit to the Canadian Forces and to Canada.
Major Russell Joseph King, M.S.M., C.D.
Major King demonstrated exemplary leadership and professionalism as the deputy commanding officer in Afghanistan, from February to August 2007. His expertise in the planning and management of the battle group as well as his direction of combat operations greatly contributed to the mission’s success.
Lieutenant-Colonel Douglas Marvin LaBrie, M.S.M., C.D.
Lieutenant-Colonel LaBrie was deployed as the commanding officer of the National Support Element of Joint Task Force Afghanistan, from August 2006 to February 2007. His leadership, tactical expertise and expert knowledge of support operations were instrumental to the success of Operation MEDUSA. Lieutenant-Colonel LaBrie’s professionalism greatly contributed to the battle group’s accomplishments and to Canada’s efforts in Afghanistan.
Chief Warrant Officer Joseph Jean Michel Landry, M.S.M., C.D.
Chief Warrant Officer Landry was deployed to Afghanistan as the regimental sergeant major of the National Support Element, from July 2007 to March 2008. A dedicated leader, he took part in numerous logistical convoys alongside his soldiers. His effective mentorship inspired his troops to carry out their mission with courage and confidence.
Lieutenant-Colonel Andrew John Lutes, M.S.M., C.D.
Lieutenant-Colonel Lutes, then major, was deployed as the officer commanding Patrol Company, Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team, Operation ARCHER, in Afghanistan, from July 2005 to February 2006. With only a conceptual operations framework, he skilfully trained and led his company through Canada’s first exposure to a sustained suicide explosive device campaign. His tact and diplomatic skills in a complex cultural environment were critical to successfully engaging and building lasting relationships with key Afghan and multinational partners.
Honorary Colonel Douglas Gordon Marr, M.S.M., C.D. (retired)
Known and respected by every member of the 15 Wing community, Honorary Colonel Marr has demonstrated outstanding examples of professionalism. A gentleman of impeccable integrity and boundless energy, he has dedicated himself for 11 years to countless events and initiatives in support of the Canadian Forces, bringing great credit to 15 Wing, the home of military pilot training.
Lieutenant-Colonel Michael Charles Maurer, M.S.M., C.D.
Lieutenant-Colonel Maurer served as assistant military advisor to the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq, from July 2006 to July 2007. By organizing and executing various contact missions to hazardous areas of the country dominated by insurgent factions, he successfully opened avenues for UN influence despite a complex and unstable environment.
Major James Duncan McKillip, M.S.M.*, C.D.
Major McKillip displayed the highest standards of professionalism, dedication and leadership as the ceremonial contingent commander for events commemorating the 90th Anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, in France, on April 9, 2007. His leadership and work with the Canadian delegation, in concert with a multitude of partners, greatly contributed to the success of the dedication ceremony of the restored Vimy Memorial by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.
* Indicates the award of a second Meritorious Service Medal.
Lieutenant-Colonel Christian Mercier, M.S.M., C.D.
Commanding officer since June 2005, Lieutenant-Colonel Mercier is recognized for his dedication, initiative and professionalism in transforming the Canadian Forces Leadership and Recruit School into an organization that is now recognized as a world leader in its field.
Major Joseph René Richard Moffet, M.S.M., C.D.
Major Moffet was deployed to Afghanistan as the deputy commanding officer of the 3rd Battalion, Royal 22e Régiment Battle Group, from July 2007 to March 2008. His exceptional leadership on the battlefield helped save numerous lives, particularly when leading the battle group during two major combat operations in his commanding officer’s absence. An expert in counter-insurgency operations, he developed comprehensive operational plans that ensured the effectiveness of the battle group, and brought great credit to the Canadian Forces and to Canada.
Master Warrant Officer Joseph Julien André Moreau, M.S.M., C.D.
Master Warrant Officer Moreau was deployed as the camp sergeant major of Joint Task Force Afghanistan, from July 2007 to March 2008. His tenacity enabled him to overcome the challenges associated with operating in a vast multi-national camp. His rapid response to changing priorities ensured efficient camp operations for both Canadian and Coalition soldiers in Afghanistan.
Master Warrant Officer Joseph Gérard Sylvain Parent, M.S.M., C.D.
Master Warrant Officer Parent was deployed as a company sergeant major with Joint Task Force Afghanistan, from August 2007 to March 2008. Under extremely adverse conditions, he led his troops through many difficult events. His leadership, devotion to duty, and fortitude were critical to the effective evacuation of hundreds of wounded and to saving the lives of Canadian, Coalition and Afghan soldiers.
Captain Marc-Antoine Michel Richard Sigouin, M.S.M.
Captain Sigouin’s leadership and tactical acumen were an inspiration to his soldiers, during two combat operations in Afghanistan, between August and October 2007. With soldiers withdrawing from combat due to exhaustion and heatstroke, Captain Sigouin, then lieutenant, kept the remainder of his troops focused on the mission, and effectively led additional troops through intense enemy engagements. His determination greatly contributed to the platoon’s operational efficiency and success.
Major Peter Richard Sullivan, M.S.M., C.D. (retired)
Major Sullivan was deployed to Afghanistan as the deputy commanding officer of the Operational Mentor and Liaison Team, and as mentor to the 1st Brigade operations officer of the Afghan National Army, from February to August 2007. His planning and teaching skills were pivotal to expanding Canada’s contribution to the team and in enhancing credibility with both the Afghan National Army and Coalition partners. His leadership enabled a strategic shift in focus from combat operations to capacity development, and have established the conditions for the long-term success of the Afghan National Army.
Colonel Luther (Trey) S. Turner III, M.S.M. (United States Air Force)
Colonel Turner of the United States Air Force was deployed as the commander of 451st Air Expeditionary Group, in Afghanistan, from January 2008 to April 2008. His dynamic leadership and innovation greatly assisted ground forces. This timely assistance resulted in a reduction of the enemy’s capability, which ultimately saved Canadian lives and improved the operational effectiveness of Joint Task Force Afghanistan.
Captain(N) Stephen Alexander Virgin, M.S.M., C.D.
Captain(N) Virgin, then commander, commanding officer of Her Majesty’s Canadian Ship TORONTO, was deployed as the commander of Operation SEXTANT, from July 25 to December 15, 2007. His exceptional skills and initiative were useful during sometimes tense and potentially hostile international negotiations, and in search and rescue operations. His diplomatic tact enhanced Canada’s reputation in the eyes of Allied partners and the international community.
Annex C – BACKGROUNDER
MILITARY VALOUR DECORATIONS
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.
If a member of our Canadian Forces meets the criteria, a submission will be made through the member’s chain of command for consideration by the Military Valour Decorations Advisory Committee, and by 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.
MERITORIOUS SERVICE DECORATIONS (Military Division)
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 to the Governor General 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 Meritorious Service Decorations were first created, are not accepted.