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Debate, split from: Latest Canadian Honours and Awards Sep 2009

Dog

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I think it's funny that you can be awarded a medal for working at NDHQ.
 

Roy Harding

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Dog said:
I think it's funny that you can be awarded a medal for working at NDHQ.

Outstanding service and dedication is outstanding service and dedication - no matter WHERE it takes place.

You may be confusing awards for service with decorations for bravery and valour - the latter of which are extremely rare while employed at NDHQ (but not impossible).
 

tree hugger

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Good job to all!  Is it normal for the awards to be "top heavy"?  No disrespect intended - just wondering...

Would have been nice to know what units they belonged to - a little more context to the less knowledgable.
 

PuckChaser

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tree hugger said:
Good job to all!  Is it normal for the awards to be "top heavy"?  No disrespect intended - just wondering...

Some are earned, some are gimmie medals. Rest assured a Cpl or MCpl who gets a MSM earned it.
 

vonGarvin

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PuckChaser said:
Some are earned, some are gimmie medals. Rest assured a Cpl or MCpl who gets a MSM earned it.
So....which of the medals are "gimmes"?  Just wonderin'....

:pop:
 

Jammer

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PuckChaser said:
Some are earned, some are gimmie medals. Rest assured a Cpl or MCpl who gets a MSM earned it.

Really? Why don't you amplify that comment? 
 

PuckChaser

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When most of the medals are awarded to Col and above, it raises an eyebrow. Granted, there are quite a few officers who definately work hard to earn their medals (I'll use Maj Gosselin in this example), the remainder seem to be a right of passage for senior leadership.

Heck, maybe I'm wrong and those people busted their asses to help their troops out, but its sure as hell more difficult for a Cpl to get recognized for something like the MSM than pers in a staff position at a HQ.
 

Jammer

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So your saying BGen Thompson, who was on the road every day as TFK Comd, Col Cade as his Deputy, are not worthy of recognition for going beyond what they were required to do.
Implementing a wholly new capability such as the C-17 is a pretty heavy (no pun intended), job with a steep learning curve.
It all depends on who's doing the writing and if you meet the criteria. Those NCMs who have received those decorations have justly deserved them. How many more of all ranks out there haven't been recognized formally. I hazard to say a boatload for sure, does that mean they are less deserving?
Members of my team who have been awarded decorations or commendations have all been very magnanimous and gracious in praise of their peers.
Well done to all.

 

Michael OLeary

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PuckChaser said:
When most of the medals are awarded to Col and above, it raises an eyebrow. Granted, there are quite a few officers who definately work hard to earn their medals (I'll use Maj Gosselin in this example), the remainder seem to be a right of passage for senior leadership.

Heck, maybe I'm wrong and those people busted their asses to help their troops out, but its sure as hell more difficult for a Cpl to get recognized for something like the MSM than pers in a staff position at a HQ.

Heck, it's also very difficult for a OC or CO to see every deserving action by the dozens, or hundreds, of Corporals under his command.  If the people who do see these actions aren't being proactive in bringing these events forward with enough details to substantiate an award nomination, what, exactly, would you like the senior chain of command to do?

 

armyvern

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Michael O'Leary said:
Heck, it's also very difficult for a OC or CO to see every deserving action by the dozens, or hundreds, of Corporals under his command.  If the people who do see these actions aren't being proactive in bringing these events forward with enough details to substantiate an award nomination, what, exactly, would you like the senior chain of command to do?

Oh to be back in the Gagnam where I could pull that file of stats we kept ...

Know how many people I've recommended who went well over and above ... only to be told by the CoC (those higher-up) - but "that's not worthy, that's simply doing their job!" Perhaps a Comd's Commendation, but certainly won't send it higher as overseeing "Project XXX and pulling it off ahead of schedule and under-budget" is their job - we don't give people medals for that ...

Only to read in the very next Maple Leaf ...

over 1 dozen officers getting said medal for "Overseeing project X" or "Outstanding performance as IC such and such" (ie - their jobs) and

3 "Other ranks" being awarded:
2 for entering a burning automobile at the scene of a car accident and rescuing the occupants at great risk to their lives ...

and 1 other being awarded for entering a river to rescue a drowning individual at great risk to their own life.
(Of course, I ensured that I clipped this one from the paper ... making the CoC aware of it too ... and added to my file of rejections based upon "that's their job")


Surely, when these lists are published in the Maple Leaf and such obvious differences in "what qualifies as "NOT" doing your job" see the majority of enlisted pers having their write-up include "at great peril to their own life" while "most" (yep most) of the awards (most of which are going to officers - check the lists out!) for Officers are followed by "while overseeing project X" or "Heading Project X" ...

it just doesn't look like the process is impartial - or fair. Especially when the same write up on another rank garners the old "too bad, that's just called doing your job" when the recommendations go in and are stopped dead in their tracks for that "that's the nature of the job" reasons that obviously do not stop award recommendations in the NCR or seeminglhy above certain rank levels.

That's how these eyes (and many others down here see it) who've had recommendations stopped with those very comments see it.
 

vonGarvin

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ArmyVern said:
Know how many people I've recommended who went well over and above ... only to be told by the CoC (those higher-up) - but "that's not worthy, that's simply doing their job!" Perhaps a Comd's Commendation, but certainly won't send it higher as overseeing "Project XXX and pulling it off ahead of schedule and under-budget" is their job - we don't give people medals for that ...
I agree with you 100% that the attitude of "that's their jobs!" probably resides more with units than with the "higher ups".  And it's 100% wrong to have that attitude.
Having said that, I'm not going to take away from persons who have been awarded "x".  But I will relate my own story.

A former Ops O told us all that we shouldn't shy away from recommending anybody for anything.  He used the examples of those in NDHQ who are awarded for things that may seem benign, whereas the old attitudes prevailed in the units.  I'm hoping that some of my peers get formally recognised for their actions, but that remains to be seen.
 

Jammer

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I have my own thoughts on honours and awards.
it seems as though certain "communities" take care of thier own trades rather than the team as a whole.
Without geting into specifics there were two cases of pers being awarded individual decorations for something the whole team was involved in.
Although we were an Army centric organization there was a notable Navy flavour to it.
The Navy pers (you guessed it), recieved the noteriety.
 

Edward Campbell

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Providing recognition for a “job well done” is one of a leader’s responsibilities. The recognition should be adequate and appropriate. Too much diminishes the value of the recognition, itself; too little can create frustration; unbalanced recognition – lots of big, shiny gongs for fellows doing important work behind a safe, warm desk in Ottawa while guys and gals doing equally important “work” in A’stan get few, if any, causes more problems.

During a fairly long career I watched the CF struggle with recognition issues – people of a certain age will remember how we tried to use e.g. Jubilee and Centennial medals to recognize members who had done yeoman service and for whom no other form of recognition was available or appropriate.

Part of our current recognition system was designed to replace the CBE/OBE/MBE series (which, now and again, Canadians still receive for service with the British) which used to reward “exemplary” service of many sorts. When I last served internationally I still saw lots of MBEs on the chests of British (mostly senior) NCOs – usually awarded for non-combat distinguished service of the sort than Army Vern describes, and for better than expected but not quite valiant service in operations. I knew an officer in the Royal Signals who had two MBEs: one for some exemplary, non-combat service, as a senior technical NCO and another awarded in the Falklands campaign for exemplary, combat support, service.

Our system offers commanding officers many choices. Many senior officers in Ottawa, being well aware of the range of choices available – because they see people “earning” recognition on a regular basis, and being good writers, and having a bit of time to write recommendations, provide recognition, in the form of service medals, for their people. Some commanding officers in the field are just too damned busy with the work at hand.

Recognition is important; it can raise morale or it can create problems when people perceive that it is “awarded” on any less than fair and equitable basis. I think we may be "hearing" some of that problem here.


Edit: careless typo fixed
 

dapaterson

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There are sometimes pressures to increase formal recognition, with understandably disastrous results.

I recall an offhand comment by one Army Commander, reminding his subordinates to ensure their subordinates recevie appropriate recognition.  Within days that was translated into a tiger team that assigned targets to each directorate on the Land Staff: a certain number of write-ups for CLS commendations were assigned to each (pro-rated based on size).  A rapid review, and the next time the Army Commander gave one of his periodic addresses to the staff, it was preceded by a medals parade: a handful of CDs/bars to CDs, a few other medals... and about three dozen commendations from the commander of the command, for events including "doing his job with only slghtly greater than normal supervision".
 

X-mo-1979

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I think this should be a split thread.Nothing more than congrats are in order IMHO.
No matter what someone thought these guys met criteria to receive each award.Full stop.
 

Takeniteasy

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Dog said:
I think it's funny that you can be awarded a medal for working at NDHQ.

Hi Dog;
Have to give you a few more years until you mature enough to understand what it is you are actually stating. I know you will come around at some point and begin to understand that things just don't magically appear.

Supporting those who serve

:cdn:
 

MARS

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E.R Campbell wrote:

"Our system offers commanding officers many choices."

/rant follows/

Too true.  I am dissapointed in my own Command for what I think is an apparent lack of capitalizing on those choices.  I am not proposing the Navy start handing out gongs like door prizes, but a quick scan of the 2007 and 2008 honours and Awards books revelas the following:

2007

CLS Commendations: 196
CAS commendations: 16
CMS Commendations: 10

2008

CLS Commendations: 159
CAS Commendations: 17
CMS Commendations: 8

The Command Commendation criteria reads:

"...awarded by a Command to recognize a contribution affecting or reflecting well on the Command".

I am aware that some sailors might be working for other Commands or might be receiving VCDS or CDS Commendations; and that we are the smallest element in people terms, but really...8 whole Commendations?  What, were we all on leave that year?

I am also not suggesting that we should be awarding more simply to close the gap between the other elements - we should simply be awarding more - in absolute terms.

I don't want to see awards for really "doing your job with slighly greater than normal supervision :)" but our people (in all elements) are often doings great things - beyond the scope of their duties -which do "reflect well on the Command" and which don't have to involve rescuing orphan children from burning buildings while keeping your whites clean for parade later that day, kind of thing.

/rant over/

 

dapaterson

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MARS said:
which don't have to involve rescuing orphan children from burning buildings while keeping your whites clean for parade later that day, kind of thing.

/rant over/

Hello?  You left out "in both official languages."
 

Old Sweat

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There are two principles that apply to honours and awards, at least from my point of view. I had developed my thinking on this over the years, but the concept firmed up during a 33 CBG seminar in 2006 when LGen Jim Gervais (ret) asked me about decorations during the Boer War.

First, and perhaps most important, there never are enough awards available to recognize all the acts of gallantry or exceptional service. Many acts go unobserved and thus unrecognized, which is not the same thing. The process can also be skewed by quotas, percentages, statistics and all the rest of the mental nausea.

Second, to award a decoration, a recommendation has to be submitted. If the chain of command is unwilling to recommend people, because the perception is that they are just doing their job, then there will not be any awards.

To illustrate. The number of decorations in Canadian units in NWE varied considerably, and not because some fought better than others. It almost surely was influenced by the number of recommendations. One officer I spoke to who had commanded a battalion in that campaign admitted that he should have submitted more recommendations, while others felt the virtue of doing one's job was its own reward.

As for the second point, in my reply to General Gervais I used the example of Major General HL Smith-Dorrien, who had commanded the brigade that 2 RCR fought in at Paardeberg and then the column that included the RCD at Leliefontein. He was known as "half rations, full congratulations" because he fought and worked his troops hard, but he also was lavish in his praise and in his recommendations for awards. Troops under his command were awarded five or six of the 78 VCs won during the Boer War, and he only served in South Africa for less than half the duration of the war. That figure, by the way, was waaaay out of proportion. This brings up an apparent disconnect - as noted above 2 RCR fought under his command at Paardeberg, but that battalion was the only Canadian unit in the war that did not have at least one NCM receive a gallantry award. The reason is simple - no one was recommended.
 

simysmom99

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Hi
During my second tour to Afghan the only people to receive recognition were two engineers that probed through a minefield to remove three patients from a destroyed vehicle.
They recieved a M in D.

The men who saved my life (Cpl Jake Petton) who placed a tourniquet on my left leg was told it was his job.
The other men who saved Cpl Salikin and Cpl Bailey also received a pat on the back for a job well done.

Billy Bolen  recieved a medal for his work on not only my incident (Glyn Berry's death) but also the friendly fire incident of 2002.

When I see that there are many awards and decorations being handed out to the soldiers of the more recent task forces; I only suggest that for every medal out there are many more deserving members that went beyond the call of duty on a daily basis.

People forget that soldiers have died in places such as Kabul and we need to see that their work is not forgotten.

Heroism is around us on a daily basis from the members of the most professional armed forces in the world.
Lest we never forget.
p
 
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