First Four Canadians Award Valour Awards From Afghan

#1
On 27 October 2006, four Canadian Soldiers were award valour decorations for their actions in combat in Afghanistan. These are the first Canadian soldiers to be awarded Canadian valour decorations for their service in Afghanistan and is also the first time these awards have been presented since their creation in the early 1990s.

Sgt Patrick Tower was awarded the Star Of Military Valour, while Sgt Michael Denine, Master Corporal Colin Fitzgerald and Pte Jason Lamont were each awarded the Medal of Miltary Valour. More can be found out about these men and their awards at http://www.forces.gc.ca/site/Feature_Story/2006/10/27_f_e.asp if folks are interested.

The Star Of Military Valour comes after only the Victoria Cross and Star Of Valour in the listing of Canadian valour awards.

All the above info, including names has been released by DND and is in the public domain, hence no PERSEC issues.

Fantastic work by each of these soldiers.

* Edited as an American keeps stealing the "u" from Valour. That or my fingers are rebelling again as I type.
 
#3
.and a superb speech by Her Exellency the GG

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean
Speech on the Occasion of the Order of Military Merit Investiture
Rideau Hall, Friday, October 27, 2006

CHECK AGAINST DELIVERY

With the approach of Remembrance Day, I have found myself reflecting on the meaning of duty, and courage, and sacrifice.

An illustration of these noble ideas can be found in the work of combat engineers during the D-Day landings in Normandy.

As you know, the duty of a combat engineer in a war zone is absolutely necessary. In Normandy, they had to clear a path through minefields, dragon’s teeth, barbed wire, hedgehogs, and many other obstacles to make way for the heavy equipment so essential to victory.

These brave men laboured on in the face of great peril… isolated, exposed, unable to defend themselves against the enemy.

And they suffered terrible casualties. According to one source, at Juno Beach, “the Royal Winnipeg Rifles 'B' Company, and the Royal Canadian Engineers 6th Field Company assault team working with them, had one of the highest beach casualties of the day.

“The company had lost almost three-quarters of its men. Their courageous company commander, Captain Gower, was left with only twenty-six men.”

Thanks to their exemplary service and their devotion to duty, combat engineers made a critical contribution to the success of the operation.

So did the airmen who flew vital and dangerous reconnaissance missions over the landing; and the sailors who guided the landing craft to the beaches.

And so did the hundreds of thousands of other men and women who served in one capacity or another on that fateful day, and in the days that followed.

Ultimately, success was the result of cooperation among Allies, and cooperation among many different services, all working together toward a common goal.

All of you gathered here today know how important it is to work together as an efficient and effective unit.

You all have specific tasks, and yet you all share a common objective, protecting the interests of your country, and of your fellow citizens.

As the commander-in-chief of the Canadian Forces and Chancellor of the Order of Military Merit, I am proud to say that you have carried out your duties with particular distinction.

This Order was created to recognize instances of meritorious service and singular devotion to duty by the men and women of the Canadian Forces. I am honoured to invest you in the Order of Military Merit as Commanders, Officers and Members.

As you are invested in this Order, I also wish to convey the deep admiration and respect that Canadians have for the men and women serving in our Forces.

Each time, I have travelled to Trenton to take part in repatriation ceremonies and pay my respects to some of our brave soldiers killed in Afghanistan. I am reminded once again of your sense of commitment.

Each time, I can little imagine the sense of loss of the courageous spouses, children and parents who come for their fallen loved ones.

And each time, during these ceremonies I am always struck by the strength of character and the resolve of our troops, who are struggling valiantly to bring the most fundamental human rights to people who are desperately in need.

In recent weeks, we have seen many heartfelt demonstrations of the high regard in which Canadians hold the members of our military.

I believe this heightened esteem flows from the renewed sense of the terrible peril you and your comrades face.

For the first time in many years, Canadians have been forced to come to terms with casualties of war. This situation has led many to consider Canada’s place in the world.

From conversations I have had with many Canadians, I know that this has resulted in a new interest in the world, a new sense of responsibility toward other peoples in other countries.

It is my profound wish that we may all honour the sacrifice being made by our military and their families in the exercise of this duty towards humanity.

On behalf of all our fellow citizens, I thank you. You have our deepest gratitude, and our unflagging support
http://www.gg.ca/media/doc.asp?lang=e&DocID=4906
 
#4
Congratulations to all the Canadian troops receiving decorations, well deserved!
 
#5
The presentations for the awards were made yesterday, 19 Feb 07 at Rideau Hall (the Governor General's official residence). Video of the presentations along with the actual citations for each can be found at www.gg.ca (the Governor General's website).

A newsreport today quotes Sgt Tower, responding to a query about his award, saying "I just did my job". Given that his award, the Star Of Military Valour is second only to the VC, humble words indeed. BZ to all.
 

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