Presentation of the Commander-in-Chief’s Unit Commendation
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Edmonton, Alberta, Monday, November 29, 2010
I am very proud to stand here today as your commander-in-chief. And I am especially delighted to be able to present the Commander-in-Chief’s Unit Commendation to the 1st Battalion of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry Battle Group.
When I was called upon to serve Canada, I did so with the humbleness of knowing that I would become commander-in-chief of the Canadian Forces, that I would have the privilege of visiting you, listening to you and honouring you.
The Commander-in-Chief’s Unit Commendation is a fairly modern award. Created in 2000, it has been awarded sparingly over the past 10 years. The commendation is presented to a unit of the Canadian Forces that has performed an extraordinary deed or activity of a rare high standard in extremely hazardous circumstances.
When I read the citation for this commendation, your accomplishments amazed me. From January to August 2006, you were involved in 29 different operations in Afghanistan, fighting almost constantly. I want to repeat that because your tenacity absolutely astounds me—29 major operations in just eight months.
The insurgent forces you were up against were organized and well-equipped, but I dare say that no force can ever be properly prepared when facing the men and women of the Canadian Forces, specifically those in the 1st Battalion of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry.
Let me end by quoting your Colonel-in-Chief, Madame Adrienne Clarkson, also my predecessor, to whom I presented the Vimy Award last Friday. She said: “We must respect the people who have chosen this as a way of life. We ask them to meet challenges, danger and death for us. We must support them, not by facile sentimentality but by informed understanding of what it is they do because we as a nation have asked them to do it.”
This commendation recognizes a significant campaign, but it is my hope that it will also serve as a reminder to Canadians of all that you do for our nation.
On behalf of all Canadians, I thank you for your devotion to duty, for your enduring service and for your professionalism in the field. I am now honoured to present the Commander-in-Chief’s Unit Commendation to the 1st Battalion of Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry Battle Group. Congratulations.