Saturday, October 28, 2006
Those who have never served in a combat action may not understand what motivates some people to perform acts of outstanding valour. Generally, it is something done to save the lives of others: friends; comrades sharing the same situation. Distinguishing valour under fire has everything to do with leadership. It is about taking risks to get your own people out of a bad spot and it is invariably remembered by those who live it as an extremely bad event.
These are the first ever presentation of these decorations from the Canadian honours and awards system:
Star of Military Valour
Sergeant Patrick Tower, S.M.V., C.D.Edmonton, Alberta, and Victoria, British Columbia
Sergeant Tower is recognized for valiant actions taken on August 3, 2006, in the Pashmul region of Afghanistan. Following an enemy strike against an outlying friendly position that resulted in numerous casualties, Sergeant Tower assembled the platoon medic and a third soldier and led them across 150 metres of open terrain, under heavy enemy fire, to render assistance. On learning that the acting platoon commander had perished, Sergeant Tower assumed command and led the successful extraction of the force under continuous small arms and rocket-propelled grenade fire. Sergeant Tower’s courage and selfless devotion to duty contributed directly to the survival of the remaining platoon members.
Medal of Military Valour
Sergeant Michael Thomas Victor Denine, M.M.V., C.D.Edmonton, Alberta
Sergeant Denine deployed with 8 Platoon, C Company, 1 PPCLI during Operation ARCHER in Afghanistan. On May 17, 2006, while sustaining concentrated rocket-propelled grenade, machine gun and small arms fire, the main cannon and the machine gun on his light armoured vehicle malfunctioned. Under intense enemy fire, he recognized the immediate need to suppress the enemy fire and exited the air sentry hatch to man the pintle-mounted machine gun. Completely exposed to enemy fire, he laid down a high volume of suppressive fire, forcing the enemy to withdraw. Sergeant Denine’s valiant action ensured mission success and likely saved the lives of his crew.
Master Corporal Collin Ryan Fitzgerald, M.M.V.Shilo, Manitoba, and Morrisburg, Ontario
Master Corporal Fitzgerald deployed with 5 Platoon, B Company, 1 PPCLI Battle Group in Afghanistan. He is recognized for outstanding selfless and valiant actions carried out on May 24, 2006, during an ongoing enemy ambush involving intense, accurate enemy fire. Master Corporal Fitzgerald repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire by entering and re-entering a burning platoon vehicle and successfully driving it off the roadway, permitting the remaining vehicles trapped in the enemy zone to break free. Master Corporal Fitzgerald’s courageous and completely selfless actions were instrumental to his platoon’s successful egress and undoubtedly contributed to saving the lives of his fellow platoon members.
Private Jason Lamont, M.M.V.Edmonton, Alberta, and Greenwood, Nova Scotia
Private Lamont deployed with the Health Support Services Company, 1 PPCLI Battle Group during Operation ARCHER. On July 13, 2006, an element of the reconnaissance platoon came under heavy enemy fire from a compound located in Helmand Province, Afghanistan, and was isolated from the rest of the platoon. During the firefight, another soldier was shot while attempting to withdraw back to the firing line and was unable to continue. Without regard for his personal safety, Private Lamont, under concentrated enemy fire and with no organized suppression by friendly forces, sprinted through open terrain to administer first aid. Private Lamont's actions demonstrated tremendous courage, selflessness and devotion to duty.