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Governor General and award recipients

GG2009-0045-072, photo by Sergeant Serge Gouin, Rideau Hall

Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean and the recipients of the Military Valour Decorations and Meritorious Service Decorations presented at Rideau Hall, Friday, 13 February 2009.

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Canada’s 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 1 January 1993. All 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 or 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.

Victoria Cross

Victoria Cross

Star of Military Valour

Star of Military Valour

Medal of Military Valour

Medal of Military Valour

Additionally, the Mention in Dispatches was created to recognize members of the Canadian Forces on active service and other individuals working with or in conjunction with the Canadian Forces for valiant conduct, devotion to duty, or other distinguished service. Recipients are entitled to wear a bronze oak leaf on the appropriate campaign or service medal ribbon. Like the military valour decorations, the Mention in Dispatches may be awarded posthumously.

On 13 February 2009, Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada, awarded 11 Military Valour decorations – three Stars and eight Medals – to members of the Canadian Forces who displayed gallantry and devotion to duty in combat. The citations for all these awards were previously published in the last issue of the Canadian Military Journal, Volume 9, Number 3. Readers should note that the ranks used in the following column reflect the substantive ranks held by the recipients at the time of the respective combat incidents.

Star of Military Valour

  1. Corporal James Ball
  2. Sergeant William Kenneth MacDonald
  3. Captain Jonathan Snyder (Deceased)

Medal of Military Valour

  1. Major Joseph Antoine Dave Abboud
  2. Corporal Steven Bancarz
  3. Corporal Cary Baker
  4. Corporal Alexandre Benjamin Jonathan Dion
  5. Master Corporal Christopher Lorne Harding
  6. Warrant Officer Tod Hopkin
  7. Corporal Bryce Keller (Posthumous – To be presented at a later date)
  8. Captain Robert Peel

What follows is an excerpt from the speech given by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean at Rideau Hall, Friday, 13 February 2009, on the occasion of the presentation of Military Valour and Meritorious Service Decorations to members of the Canadian Forces.

“I am delighted to welcome to Rideau Hall men and women for whom service is synonymous with dedication and courage. We all know that military service rests on discipline and a sense of duty; that the solidarity between you is unbreakable; that you train for years to face combat situations.

But few outside the Forces have any idea of what you really do, and even less the risks you run, removed as we are from the troubled regions of the world where you work, beginning with Afghanistan, where most of you have been posted. As we listen to you describe your life over there, as we catch bits of conversation here and there, as we read your mission reports, we begin to understand just what you are made of. Your extraordinary courage, calm, altruism, savoir faire, ingenuity and determination are unsurpassed, and we want to recognize these qualities publicly.

Yet most of you respond to this show of admiration and gratitude by saying that this is what you are trained for, that you were just in the right place at the right time, that you were just doing your duty. Such humility is to your credit and speaks volumes of your integrity and the depth of your commitment. But make no mistake; what you have accomplished goes well beyond the framework of your duties, obligations or training.

...You have risked your lives to save the lives of others. There is no greater sacrifice than to put your own life in danger for your comrades, let alone for women, men and children you have never even met. I see the magnitude of that sacrifice every time I stand alongside grieving families on the tarmac at CFB Trenton, and I can tell you it is not easy. No one knows better than you just how precious life is and how important it is to protect it. You make every effort to ensure that all peoples of the world can attain their freedom, that they are able to thrive without fear of consequences, that women and children have access to the most basic rights, like health and education.

That is what inspires your commitment, wherever you seek to re-establish security and prosperity and to combat the forces of inaction and destruction.

Know that your efforts are not in vain.

Know that we are extremely grateful.

And know that you have inspired me, your commander-in-chief. On behalf of all Canadians, congratulations.

I would like to make special mention of Corporal Bryce Keller and Captain Jonathan Snyder, whom we are honouring posthumously today.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart!”

Governor General and Megan Leigh Stewart, widow of Capt Snyder

GG2009-0045-005, photo by Sergeant Serge Gouin, Rideau Hall

The Star of Military Valour awarded to the late Captain Snyder is presented to his common law wife, Ms. Megan Leigh Stewart.

Governor General and MCpl J. Donovan Ball

GG2009-0045-003, photo by Sergeant Serge Gouin, Rideau Hall.

The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean presents the Star of Military Valour to Master Corporal J. Donovan Ball.

Governor General and WO William Kenneth MacDonald

GG2009-0045-010, photo by Sergeant Serge Gouin, Rideau Hall

Warrant Officer William Kenneth MacDonald receives his Star of Military Valour at the hands of the Governor General.

Governor General and Major Joseph Antoine Dave Abboud

GG2009-0045-017, photo by Sergeant Serge Gouin, Rideau Hall

Major Joseph Antoine Dave Abboud receives the Medal of Military Valour from the Governor General. At the same ceremony, Major Abboud was honoured with a Meritorious Service Cross for outstanding service.

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