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Governor General presents 63 Canadian honours at the Citadelle of Québec

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Governor General presents 63 Canadian honours at the Citadelle of Québec

News Article / October 15, 2014

Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada David Johnston presided over two presentation ceremonies of Canadian honours on October 3, 2014, at the residence of the Governor General at La Citadelle of Québec.

“The 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War and the 75th anniversary of the beginning of the Second World War are both occasions for solemn reflection and remembrance,” said the Governor General.

“Therefore, in addition to recognizing your achievements today, let us take this opportunity to remember the enormous sacrifices of those who served Canada in the two world wars. And let us commit to working together as a nation and with the world to prevent such terrible conflicts from ever happening again.”

During the morning ceremony, Governor General Johnston presented several honours, including 22 Decorations for Bravery, two Meritorious Service Decorations (Civil Division), a first Bar to the Emergency Medical Services Exemplary Service Medal; a Fire Services Exemplary Service Medal; a Peace Officer Exemplary Service Medal; two Governor General’s Northern Medals; a Governor General’s Academic Medal; and two Governor General’s Caring Canadian Awards.

During the afternoon ceremony, he presented two Decorations for Bravery and 29 Meritorious Service Decorations (Military Division) to members of the Canadian Armed Forces and allied forces whose specific achievements brought honour to the Canadian Armed Forces and to Canada.

The Governor General noted that 2014 marks the 30th anniversary of the Meritorious Service Cross (Military Division).

“The medals and decorations being presented today are among the highest honours that can be awarded to Canadians and to members of the Canadian Armed Forces. You serve with so many dedicated and deserving servicemen and women, but today we honour you for your extraordinary accomplishments,” he continued.

“With these medals and decorations, your responsibility among your comrades and colleagues is now even greater. Never underestimate the power of your example to inspire others,” said the Governor General. “I know that each of you also seeks a better world, where justice and equality prevail.

“These honours are a testament to your courage, ingenuity and quiet determination, and they also extend to your families and loved ones, who in their own way have accepted the demands of service. And so it is with great admiration that I offer my thanks and congratulations to each of you for your service and valour.”

Several members of the Royal Canadian Air Force were honoured during the ceremonies, including the following (the ranks given in the citations are those held by the individuals at the time of the event for which the honour was awarded):

STAR OF COURAGE
•Master Corporal Shawn Gregory Bretschneider, Sudbury, Ontario and Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador
•Sergeant Janick Joseph Benoit Gilbert, Baie-Comeau, Quebec
•Master Corporal Marco A. Journeyman, Montréal, Quebec, and Trenton, Ontario
•Master Corporal Maxime Bernard Lahaye-Lemay, Trois-Rivières, Quebec, and Trenton, Ontario
•Sergeant Daniel Villeneuve, Chicoutimi, Quebec, and Gander, Newfoundland and Labrador

On October 27, 2011, search and rescue (SAR) technicians Shawn Bretschneider, Janick Gilbert, Marco Journeyman, Maxime Lahaye-Lemay and Daniel Villeneuve braved severe weather conditions to rescue two hunters stranded on the Arctic Ocean, near Igloolik, Nunavut. A team of three SAR techs parachuted down into seven-metre-high waves, but was soon separated in the huge swells. Five hours later, the second team of two SAR techs was lowered from a helicopter and, struggling in the same harsh conditions, succeeded in locating everyone and hoisting them into a helicopter. Sadly, Sergeant Gilbert did not survive.

The decoration awarded to the late Sergeant Gilbert was presented to his wife, Ms Mélisa Lesquir.

MEDAL OF BRAVERY
•Master Corporal Robert James Featherstone, Greenwood, Nova Scotia, and Kingston, Ontario
•Sergeant Norman Ewen Penny, St. Peter’s, Nova Scotia, and Happy Valley-Goose Bay, Newfoundland and Labrador

On March 27, 2012, Sergeant Norman Penny and Master Corporal Robert Featherstone rescued three people stranded at sea during a storm, south of Cape Sable Island, Nova Scotia. In spite of the challenging weather conditions, they managed to execute three successful hoist recoveries from a helicopter and retrieve all the victims from their damaged sailboat.

MERITORIOUS SERVICE MEDAL (MILITARY DIVISION)
•Lieutenant-Colonel Joseph Christian Guy Leblanc, Joliette, Quebec
•Corporal Clinton Jeffrey Lewis, Hamilton, Ontario
•Warrant Officer Michael David Mar, Truro, Nova Scotia
•Captain Trevor Mark Pellerin, Halifax, Nova Scotia

On March 27, 2012, despite gale force winds, 120-metre altitude ceilings, snow squalls, and five- to eight-metre waves, the crew of Rescue 908 was involved in a perilous night mission to recover survivors from the S/V Tabasco II, foundering in the stormy North Atlantic south of Nova Scotia. First officer Lieutenant-Colonel Leblanc took charge of all flight functions, including aircraft navigation and survivor spotting, allowing his aircraft commander to concentrate on managing crew resources while flying in the abysmal conditions. Aircraft commander Captain Pellerin placed the helicopter in a 20-metre hover in order for his crew to investigate the life raft and subsequently moved the aircraft to the sailboat to effect the rescue.

Flight engineer Corporal Lewis, previously injured during hoist operations, identified an unconventional method to keep the helicopter in position over the vessel, which proved instrumental in the safe completion of the mission. As replacement flight engineer following Corporal Lewis’ injury, Warrant Officer Mar immediately stepped in to operate the safe hoist by placing the SAR technicians on board the raft and sailing vessel, and safely recovering five persons, all while battling gale-force winds. The crew of Rescue 908 demonstrated exemplary team work, bringing great honour to themselves and to the Canadian Armed Forces.

Colonel Joseph Albert Paul Pierre St-Cyr, Montréal, Quebec

From July 2012 to July 2013, Colonel St-Cyr was posted to the position of chief of staff of the military contingent of the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti. His leadership allowed the team at the multinational headquarters to become cohesive; the team proved effective on countless occasions during national disasters and in support of election planning. Colonel St-Cyr’s influence also exceeded his military role and contributed greatly to the progress of several important initiatives.

This is the second Meritorious Service Medal awarded to Colonel St-Cyr.

Brigadier-General Todd Nelson Balfe, Chatham, New Brunswick

Brigadier-General Balfe was deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan, as the deputy to the chief of staff of communications for the International Security Assistance Force from May 2013 to March 2014. Utilizing detailed media analysis, and optimizing personnel and resources, he greatly improved the information flow to his commanders, which provided them with a more in-depth understanding of Afghan culture. He also initiated the gender cross-functional assessment team, which promoted a gender advocacy strategy for the country. With his cultural sensitivity and professional acumen, Brigadier-General Balfe brought great credit to the Canadian Armed Forces and to Canada.

Colonel Paul Timothy Goddard, Winnipeg, Manitoba

From July 2010 to April 2013, Colonel Goddard was the main architect of the NATO Flying Training Centre program delivery recovery. This program had been on the brink of collapse, with no hope of delivering the anticipated results. Colonel Goddard guided his staff with exemplary corporate and leadership skills, as well as a firm commitment to the renewal of the program. Their efforts resulted in a 35 per cent increase in productivity through more efficient training and through the synchronization of ground, simulation and flying elements.

Major Mohamed-Ali Laaouan, Montréal, Quebec

From July 2011 to April 2012, Major Laaouan did a remarkable job as the officer in charge of the Joint Rescue Coordination Centre in Halifax during a period of significant changes when the operational rhythm was very fast-paced. He ensured the transfer of tasks from the Maritime Rescue Sub-Centre in Newfoundland and Labrador to his organization while maintaining exceptional search and rescue coverage. Major Laaouan’s leadership and work ethic were essential to the success of this complex undertaking.

Lieutenant-Colonel Sean Patrick Lewis, Trenton, Ontario

As a senior advisor to the Afghan Border Police from June 2012 to July 2013, Lieutenant-Colonel Lewis played an essential role in Canada’s Contribution to the NATO Training Mission. He mentored the police force’s senior commanders and helped them move the nascent organization toward assuming its full security responsibilities. Lieutenant-Colonel Lewis’ leadership and knowledge contributed to enhancing the capabilities of the Afghan Border Police.

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