Governor General honours military personnel

News Article / April 10, 2017

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From Rideau Hall

Governor General and Commander-in-Chief of Canada David Johnston presented Meritorious Service Decorations (Military Division) and a Bravery Decoration to members of the Canadian Armed Forces and allied forces at a ceremony at Rideau Hall, on Tuesday, April 4, 2017.

The Governor General presented five Meritorious Service Crosses (Military Division) and eighteen Meritorious Service Medals (Military Division) to individuals whose specific achievements have brought honour to the Canadian Armed Forces and to Canada. He also presented a Medal of Bravery to a Canadian Armed Forces member who has performed an act of bravery in hazardous circumstances.

“We are truly grateful. Your actions have brought great honour to the Canadian Armed Forces at home and abroad. But more than that, your actions have changed lives and saved lives.” He later went on to add, “Your actions make a difference and change the world.”

The Meritorious Service Decorations are separated into two divisions, a military division and a civil division, each with two levels, either a medal or a cross. Individuals who demonstrate outstanding professionalism and bring honour to the Canadian Armed Forces and to Canada are recognized by the military division.

The Meritorious Service Cross (Military Division) recognizes a military deed or activity that has been performed in an outstandingly professional manner, according to a rare high standard that brings considerable benefit or great honour to the Canadian Armed Forces.

The Meritorious Service Medal (Military Division) recognizes a military deed or activity performed in a highly professional manner, according to a very high standard that brings benefit or honour to the Canadian Armed Forces.

Bravery Decorations, created in 1972, are used to recognize people who try to save a loved one or stranger from immediate mortal danger in spite of the risk to their own lives. There are three levels of Bravery Decorations which are separated based on the amount of risk that the recipient acted under.

The Cross of Valour (C.V.) recognizes acts of the most conspicuous courage in circumstances of extreme peril.

The Star of Courage (S.C.) recognizes acts of conspicuous courage in circumstances of great peril.

The Medal of Bravery (M.B.) recognizes acts of bravery in hazardous circumstances.

Among the recipients were several members of the Royal Canadian Air Force.

Please note that the information below reflects the rank of the recipient at the time of the event for which they are being recognized.


Meritorious Service Cross (Military Division)

Brigadier-General Marie Hélène Lise Bourgon, M.S.C., C.D.

Ottawa, Ontario

As commander of Joint Task Force-Iraq from May to November 2015, and through her outstanding leadership, Brigadier General Bourgon ensured the success of a combat mission against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. She successfully managed numerous issues, with particular attention given to the morale and well-being of over 500 soldiers under her command. Brigadier General Bourgon provided an exceptional level of service, which contributed to strengthening Canada’s reputation within the international coalition.

Colonel Shayne Elder, M.S.C., A.M.

Ottawa, Ontario

Colonel Elder was deployed to Kuwait from October 2015 to April 2016 as commander of Air Task Force-Iraq. An exceptional leader and innovator, he expertly drove combat flying operations against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and maximized the capabilities of the Canadian Armed Forces aviation fleet, while also increasing the effectiveness of operational and maintenance personnel. Colonel Elder’s professionalism and selfless dedication brought great credit to Canada.

Brigadier-General Eric Jean Kenny, M.S.C., M.S.M., C.D.

Cold Lake, Alberta

As commander of Air Task Force–Iraq in Kuwait from October 2014 to April 2015, Brigadier General Kenny exhibited outstanding leadership, and ensured an effective and credible combat capability in support of the coalition. His selfless dedication to his staff and tireless efforts to improve and sustain operations enabled the successful launch and recovery of more than 500 combat missions over Iraq. Brigadier General Kenny’s remarkable performance during a challenging deployed combat operation brought great credit to the Canadian Armed Forces and to Canada.

Meritorious Service Medal (Military Division) 

Colonel John Joseph Alexander, M.S.M., C.D.

Ottawa, Ontario

Colonel Alexander was deployed to the Sinai from June 2015 to July 2016 as part of Canada’s contribution to the Multinational Force and Observers. He provided exceptional leadership as chief of liaison and Canadian contingent commander in a period of ever-increasing threat and deteriorating security. Moreover, the diplomatic tact he displayed while collaborating with the Egyptian Security Forces and the Israeli Defence Forces was both remarkable and essential to the success of the mission.

Lieutenant-Colonel Brendan Stirling Cook, M.S.M., C.D.

Ottawa, Ontario

While deployed to Kuwait from October 2014 to April 2015 as the Long Range Patrol Detachment commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Cook led the training, deployment, activation and execution of overland Aurora combat missions that provided intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities over Iraq. Moreover, despite a gruelling tempo, he oversaw the successful implementation of an extensive array of new capabilities that provided critical support to the coalition. Lieutenant-Colonel Cook’s performance was integral to mission success and enhanced the reputation of the Canadian Armed Forces.

Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Joseph Doyle, M.S.M., C.D.

Cold Lake, Alberta

While deployed to Qatar from August 2014 to March 2015, Lieutenant-Colonel Doyle was heavily involved with the command and control of air operations in Iraq. His expertise and leadership resulted in the effective application of airpower during a particularly demanding period in one of the busiest theatres of operation worldwide. Lieutenant-Colonel Doyle’s dedication and excellent interpersonal skills were pivotal to the establishment of the multinational air coalition, which blunted the advance of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Lieutenant-Colonel Francis William Radiff, M.S.M., C.D.

Cold Lake, Alberta

From October 2014 to May 2015, Lieutenant-Colonel Radiff deployed to Qatar as Canadian target engagement authority and Air Task Force–Iraq coordination element director. His professional acumen as an experienced combat aviator resulted in countless successful combat air strikes against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Lieutenant-Colonel Radiff’s outstanding leadership, dedication and his ability to establish working relationships with his coalition colleagues quickly came to the fore in his appointment as senior coalition lead to the Combined Air and Space Operations Centre.

Chief Warrant Officer John Garry Short, M.M.M., M.S.M., C.D.

Sturgeon Falls, Ontario

Chief Warrant Officer Short deployed as Joint Task Force–Iraq chief warrant officer from May to November 2015 where his exceptional leadership proved essential in achieving unity and synchronization of effort. In particular, he nurtured a collaborative culture that enabled Canadian Army, Royal Canadian Air Force and Royal Canadian Navy personnel to unite under a common purpose, establishing a truly joint environment and fostering collaboration. Chief Warrant Short’s mission focus and steadfast personal example were an inspiration to all and directly contributed to mission success.

Meritorious Service Medal (Military Division)

In addition, a member of the United States Air Force was presented with the Meritorious Service Medal (Military Division).

Brigadier-General (retired) Charles Kevin Hyde, M.S.M.

Powder Springs, Georgia, U.S.A.

Brigadier-General Hyde served as Deputy Combined/Joint Forces Air Component commander at 1 Canadian Air Division/Canadian NORAD Region Headquarters in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Between July 2013 and August 2015, he played a key role in NORAD and in the Canadian Armed Forces’ domestic operations and international missions. Brigadier-General Hyde’s vast experience and exemplary performance have further enhanced Canada’s role in NORAD and in the ongoing pursuit of our North American security goals.

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