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News

Governor General Announces the Awarding of Military Decorations

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September 29, 2010

Governor General Announces the Awarding of Three Military Valour Decorations and 21 Meritorious Service Decorations (Military Division)

OTTAWA—Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, announced today the awarding of three Medals of Military Valour to members of the Canadian Forces who displayed gallantry and devotion to duty in combat. She also announced the awarding of 21 Meritorious Service Decorations (Military Division), namely one Cross and 20 Medals, to individuals whose specific achievements have brought honour to the Canadian Forces and to Canada.

The recipients will be invited to receive their decorations at a ceremony to be held at a later date.

A list of recipients and their citations, as well as additional information on the Military Valour Decorations and the Meritorious Service Decorations, are attached.

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Media information:

Marie-Pierre Bélanger
Rideau Hall Press Office
613-998-9166
marie-pierre.belanger@gg.ca
www.gg.ca

Department of National Defence
Media Liaison Office
1-866-377-0811
613-996-2353
www.forces.gc.ca



RECIPIENTS

MILITARY VALOUR DECORATIONS

Medal of Military Valour

Warrant Officer Michael William Jackson, M.M.V., C.D.

Vancouver and Abbotsford, B.C.

Master Corporal Jeremy Joseph James Leblanc, M.M.V.

Coalhurst, Alta.

Master Corporal Paul Alexander Munroe, M.M.V., C.D.

Stonewall and Swan River, Man.


MERITORIOUS SERVICE DECORATIONS

Meritorious Service Cross (Military Division)

Sergeant Joseph Martin Brink, M.S.C.

Sylvan Lake, Alta.


Meritorious Service Medal (Military Division)

Major Geoffrey Arthur Abthorpe, M.S.M., C.D.

Thunder Bay, Ont.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Barbara Agnes Benson, M.S.M., C.D.

Isle aux Morts, N.L.

Major Timothy Charles Byers, M.S.M., C.D.

Belleisle Creek, N.B.

Chief Warrant Officer Robert Daly, M.S.M., C.D.

Lincoln, N.B.

Chief Warrant Officer Patrick Joseph Earles, M.S.M., C.D.

Mount Pearl, N.L.

Colonel Martin Girard, M.S.M., C.D.

Gatineau, Que.

Sergeant Marie Renay Groves, M.S.M., C.D.

St. John’s, N.L.

Master Warrant Officer John William Hooyer, M.S.M., C.D.

Brantford, Ont.

Chief Warrant Officer Michael Raymond Lacharite, M.S.M., C.D.

Edmonton, Alta.

Captain Tyler Lavigne, M.S.M.

Bathurst, N.B.

Corporal Derick Lewis, M.S.M.

Kings-Hants, N.S.

Major Martin Andre Lipcsey, M.S.M., C.D.

Ottawa, Ont.

Captain Steven E. Luce, M.S.M. (United States Navy)

Cleveland, Ohio and Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.

Major Gilbert Joseph William McCauley, M.S.M., C.D.

Sherbrooke and Gatineau, Que.

Chief Warrant Officer Mark Henry Miller, M.S.M., C.D.

Minto, N.B.

Master Warrant Officer Robert Joseph Montague, M.S.M., C.D.

Ottawa, Ont.

Major Steven John Vincent Nolan, M.S.M., C.D.

Whitby and Scarborough, Ont.

Corporal Curtis J. Stephens, M.S.M.

Victoria, B.C.

Lieutenant-Colonel Duart Paul Townsend, M.S.M., C.D.

Toronto, Ont.

Sergeant Christopher Stuart Whalen, M.S.M.

St. John’s, N.L.


CITATIONS

MILITARY VALOUR DECORATIONS

Warrant Officer Michael William Jackson, M.M.V., C.D.
Vancouver and Abbotsford, British Columbia
Master Corporal Paul Alexander Munroe, M.M.V., C.D.
Stonewall and Swan River, Manitoba
Medal of Military Valour

In the midst of a three-hour battle in Afghanistan on August 19, 2006, Warrant Officer Jackson and Master Corporal Munroe’s platoon was forced to conduct a withdrawal while under enemy fire. Fully exposed to the violence of the enemy, these soldiers risked their lives to coordinate the safe movement of personnel and damaged vehicles. Their heroic actions under constant fire enabled the platoon to regroup and continue the fight, while denying the enemy an opportunity to capture and make use of stricken Canadian equipment.

Master Corporal Jeremy Joseph James Leblanc, M.M.V.
Coalhurst, Alberta
Medal of Military Valour

On October 14, 2006, Master Corporal Leblanc’s section was occupying a position in Afghanistan when insurgents unleashed a devastating attack that resulted in several casualties, including the death of his section commander. Seamlessly assuming command, he rallied his section to return fire while personally tending to the wounded. Despite being injured himself and under constant fire, he continued to lead and inspire his section to keep fighting and hold its ground against a determined enemy. His selfless actions no doubt saved the lives of some of his fellow soldiers.

MERITORIOUS SERVICE DECORATIONS

Sergeant Joseph Martin Brink, M.S.C.
Sylvan Lake, Alberta
Meritorious Service Cross (Military Division)

On January 15, 2006, Sergeant Brink demonstrated exemplary leadership as the section commander during an attack on his patrol convoy by a suicide vehicle borne improvised explosive device.  He quickly established a security perimeter and sent a detailed report to command headquarters, which allowed for the rapid dispatch of the quick reaction force to provide assistance at the scene.He then entered a burning, overturned and ammunition-laden vehicle to render aid to a trapped and seriously injured soldier until that soldier could be safely extracted. Sergeant Brink’s perseverance and performance under extreme duress were exceptional.

Major Geoffrey Arthur Abthorpe, M.S.M., C.D.
Thunder Bay, Ontario
Meritorious Service Medal (Military Division)

While deployed to Afghanistan from August 2006 to February 2007, Major Abthorpe was instrumental to the success of counter-insurgency operations in Kandahar province.  As a company commander during intense combat, his sound tactical acumen and courage under fire enabled his company to seize and hold key terrain despite being isolated from the larger Canadian battle group and being in constant contact with the enemy. These daring independent advances helped secure the battle group’s flanks and enabled a full-scale attack that defeated the enemy in the region.

Petty Officer 2nd Class Barbara Agnes Benson, M.S.M., C.D.
Isle aux Morts, Newfoundland and Labrador
Meritorious Service Medal (Military Division)

From 2007 through 2009, Petty Officer 2nd Class Benson demonstrated outstanding leadership and operational effectiveness while assigned to the Naval Ocean Processing Facility Whidbey Island, U.S.A. With her expertise and mentoring skills, she was able to transform her team members into top performers. Her leadership and training of multinational sailors significantly contributed to the success of the Facility and will have a lasting and positive impact.

Major Timothy Charles Byers, M.S.M., C.D.
Belleisle Creek, New Brunswick
Meritorious Service Medal (Military Division)

From May 2008 through March 2009, Major Byers exhibited professionalism, foresight and leadership in his capacity as commander 4th Canadian Ranger Patrol Group during the planning and execution of Exercise WESTERN SPIRIT. The exercise included an arduous 37-day snowmobile trek, during which he led the patrol through severe arctic conditions, highlighting the capabilities of Canadian Rangers in over 25 northern communities. The success of this Exercise and its connection with Canadians in the North brought great credit to the Canadian Forces.

Chief Warrant Officer Robert Daly, M.S.M., C.D.
Lincoln, New Brunswick
Meritorious Service Medal (Military Division)

Chief Warrant Officer Daly’s leadership of a diverse group of people, combined with his expert advice to superiors and subordinates alike, ensured the success of the National Support Element in its mission to support troops in Afghanistan. Sharing the risks of combat logistics patrols with those he led, he set the example for them to follow and ensured the provision of logistics requirements to the units they supported. His efforts and perseverance directly contributed to the operational success of Canadian and coalition forces from February to September 2008.

Chief Warrant Officer Patrick Joseph Earles, M.S.M., C.D.
Mount Pearl, Newfoundland and Labrador
Meritorious Service Medal (Military Division)

Chief Warrant Officer Earles deployed to Afghanistan as regimental sergeant-major of the National Support Element, the logistics unit tasked with supporting the Canadian Forces in theatre, from January to August 2006. A courageous man, his inspired leadership and tireless example bolstered morale and confidence throughout the unit and inspired perseverance during a tour replete with difficult times for all concerned.  Whether providing sound advice to his commanding officer or sharing the risk on the ground, Chief Warrant Officer Earles’ leadership and dedication ensured the successful provision of logistical support across Afghanistan.

Colonel Martin Girard, M.S.M., C.D.
Gatineau, Quebec
Meritorious Service Medal (Military Division)

Colonel Girard was deployed to Haiti as the commander of Task Force Port-au-Prince from July 2008 to August 2009. Occupying a senior leadership role as the chief of staff to the United Nations force commander, he established relationships with key stakeholders that facilitated the operations of the international stabilization mission. His outstanding coordination of 7000 multinational soldiers and interaction with international aid agencies enabled an organized relief effort during Haiti’s hurricane crisis, played a prominent role in supporting senatorial elections and led to the implementation of a quick-reaction force that quickly quelled rioting in the country.

Sergeant Marie Renay Groves, M.S.M., C.D.
St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
Meritorious Service Medal (Military Division)

Sergeant Groves has been the creator and motivator behind three projects: Notes from Home Campaign, Tour Diaries and Memory Books. Her efforts have been instrumental in forwarding written notes to the deployed soldiers, in documenting their personal experiences in Afghanistan, and in producing a personalized hand-crafted memory book for the families of every fallen soldier. Sergeant Groves has actively promoted the welfare of Canadian Forces members and their families and has garnered significant support from all Canadians, coast to coast to coast.

Master Warrant Officer John William Hooyer, M.S.M., C.D.
Brantford, Ontario
Meritorious Service Medal (Military Division)

Within the first six weeks of arriving in Afghanistan, Master Warrant Officer Hooyer’s company was under near-daily attack from enemy mortars and had suffered numerous casualties. His outstanding leadership as the company sergeant-major kept his soldiers operationally focused during this challenging period, as well as during a large NATO-led ground offensive. Providing exceptional support to his company commander during intense combat, Master Warrant Officer Hooyer was instrumental to the success of Alpha Company from August 2006 to February 2007.

Chief Warrant Officer Michael Raymond Lacharite, M.S.M., C.D.
Edmonton, Alberta
Meritorious Service Medal (Military Division)

Chief Warrant Officer Lacharite was deployed to Afghanistan as the Kandahar Provincial Reconstruction Team’s regimental sergeant-major from February 2008 to February 2009. His guidance enabled military support to civilian agencies and ensured their enhanced understanding of the military’s mission, capabilities and culture. A stabilizing influence at Camp Nathan Smith, Chief Warrant Officer Lacharite forged an effective civilian-military team that advanced good governance and development in the region.

Captain Tyler Lavigne, M.S.M.
Bathurst, New Brunswick
Meritorious Service Medal (Military Division)

As the information management officer from November 2008 to April 2009, Captain Lavigne contributed to the concurrent establishment of the Joint Task Force Afghanistan Air Wing, the Canadian Helicopter Force Afghanistan and a Canadian unmanned aerial vehicle detachment. His innovative solutions and ability to balance competing priorities enabled him to implement multiple command and control systems in an austere environment. Captain Lavigne’s leadership and professionalism ensured that units received the communications support necessary for the rapid commencement of flying operations.

Corporal Derick Lewis, M.S.M.
Kings-Hants, Nova Scotia
Meritorious Service Medal (Military Division)

On September 3, 2006, Corporal Lewis’ company was advancing across the Arghandab River in Afghanistan, when it came under enemy fire from a defended position; they quickly incurred several casualties. While the fight continued around him, and despite being wounded, he assisted with the assessment, treatment and evacuation of the other casualties until his own injuries forced him to stop. Demonstrating exemplary perseverance and devotion to duty, Corporal Lewis continued in spite of his injuries and helped save the lives of his fellow soldiers.

Major Martin Andre Lipcsey, M.S.M., C.D.
Ottawa, Ontario
Meritorious Service Medal (Military Division)

During a large NATO-led ground offensive, Major Lipcsey was pivotal to the planning and execution of complex brigade and battle group operations in Afghanistan, from August 2006 to February 2007. His tactical acumen, soldiering ability and combat leadership ensured ongoing success throughout high intensity battles. Major Lipscey’s command presence and professionalism directly contributed to the operational success of the battle group and reinforced Canada’s reputation as an effective fighting force.

Captain Steven E. Luce, M.S.M. (United States Navy)
Cleveland, Ohio and Las Vegas, Nevada, United States of America
Meritorious Service Medal (Military Division)

From 2006 through 2009, Captain Luce demonstrated outstanding professionalism and initiative in his duties as the United States naval attaché to Canada. His contributions to a number of Canadian Forces programs and projects—most notably the Canadian Submarine Program, the Joint Support Ship Project and the Arctic/Offshore Patrol Ship Project—were invaluable to Canadian naval operations and significantly enhanced co-operation and relations between Canada and the United States. 

Major Gilbert Joseph William McCauley, M.S.M., C.D.
Sherbrooke and Gatineau, Quebec
Meritorious Service Medal (Military Division)

In response to a series of incidents that severely disrupted Canada’s aerial surveillance capability in Afghanistan, Major McCauley was deployed on short notice to Kandahar Airfield in June 2008. Assuming temporary command of the Tactical Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Detachment, he strengthened the unit and set the conditions for its ongoing viability.  He later assumed full command of the unit and ensured that its members continued to provide exceptional support to the task force until September 2008. Major McCauley’s leadership and technical knowledge ensured the delivery of critical intelligence and surveillance information to Canadian Forces in Afghanistan.

Chief Warrant Officer Mark Henry Miller, M.S.M., C.D.
Minto, New Brunswick
Meritorious Service Medal (Military Division)

From December 2006 to February 2007, Chief Warrant Officer Miller rose to the challenge of replacing the battle group’s regimental sergeant-major, who had been killed in combat. Arriving in Afghanistan on short notice and without the benefit of full deployment training, he immediately found himself involved in intense combat. Throughout this battle and during all subsequent operations, his frontline leadership maintained the battle group’s fighting spirit. Chief Warrant Officer Miller’s ability to quickly and tactfully assume his responsibilities and establish his presence ensured the unit’s continued operational effectiveness.

Master Warrant Officer Robert Joseph Montague, M.S.M., C.D.
Ottawa, Ontario
Meritorious Service Medal (Military Division)

From August 2006 to February 2007, Master Warrant Officer Montague’s efforts as the  artillery battery sergeant-major contributed to the operational success of Joint Task Force Afghanistan. His leadership skills were key to the successful handling of many stressful situations, such as the extraction of a trapped vehicle while engaged with the enemy or the coordination of the delivery of thousands of rounds of artillery and mortar fire by Canadian and coalition gunners. He was instrumental in the success of enemy engagements during major Canadian and NATO-led operations.

Major Steven John Vincent Nolan, M.S.M., C.D.
Whitby and Scarborough, Ontario
Meritorious Service Medal (Military Division)

Major Nolan was deployed to Afghanistan as a mentor to the commanding officer of an Afghan National Army infantry battalion from September 2008 to April 2009. During multiple combat operations, he provided frontline mentorship to his Afghan counterpart, enabling him to succeed in a chaotic environment while under fire. Whether operating independently or with coalition units, his mentorship promoted the development of sound operational plans and successful schemes of manoeuvre. Major Nolan’s outstanding leadership and professionalism were instrumental to the Afghan battalion’s operational success.

Corporal Curtis J. Stephens, M.S.M.
Victoria, British Columbia
Meritorious Service Medal (Military Division)

On May 16, 2008, Corporal Stephens’ patrol was attacked by a suicide bomber in Zhari district, Afghanistan. With his sergeant among the wounded, he assumed command and led his section through a successful engagement and eventual return to its post. While still in charge six days later, his tactical skill and command presence were instrumental in another engagement with insurgents. Working at a level well above that expected of his rank, Corporal Stephens’ exemplary combat leadership inspired his section and enabled their operational success.

Lieutenant-Colonel Duart Paul Townsend, M.S.M., C.D.
Toronto, Ontario
Meritorious Service Medal (Military Division)

As project director, Lieutenant-Colonel Townsend led the team responsible for fielding the interim medium lift capability for operations in Afghanistan, the goal of which was to reduce reliance upon ground movements and their inherent risk from ambush. A proactive leader with unequalled mission focus, he overcame many obstacles and unexpected challenges, enabling the successful and timely delivery of Chinook helicopters to the Canadian Forces. 

Sergeant Christopher Stuart Whalen, M.S.M.
St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador
Meritorious Service Medal (Military Division)

Sergeant Whalen showed leadership and devotion to duty in his capacity as commander of the Care of the Wounded Soldier Cell for the 2nd Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, from July 2006 to January 31, 2010.  As a wounded soldier himself, he was an effective advocate for the rights, entitlements and medical needs of the injured. In addition, he made valued contributions to numerous national-level advisory groups on the subject. Sergeant Whalen’s efforts have brought great credit to the Canadian Forces.


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, a 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.

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.