The Governor General has just announced that seven Canadian soldiers will be receiving the Medal of Military Valour for their actions under fire in Afghanistan. The MMV is third highest in the hierarchy of Canadian military bravery medals, coming behind the Star of Military Valour and the Victoria Cross.
I doubt I am alone in this, but I always find the citations on these awards to be great reading. While there are never quite enough details to get a complete picture, the details that are included do just enough to spur the imagination.
So here, read away:
Captain William Todd Fielding, Niagara Falls, Ontario.
On August 5, 2010, Captain Fielding’s Chinook helicopter was struck by enemy fire, in Panjwaii, Afghanistan, causing the fuel tank to explode and rendering the aircraft nearly inoperable. With the helicopter in flames and the cockpit rapidly filling with smoke, Captain Fielding made the time-critical decision to land in enemy territory rather than fly to a friendly landing zone. His outstanding courage and devotion to duty allowed him to execute an emergency landing and then lead the evacuation of the burning aircraft. His actions no doubt saved the lives of all crew and passengers that day.
Master Corporal Adam Holmes, Kapuskasing, Ontario.
From July 30 to August 2, 2010, Master Corporal Holmes displayed tremendous courage and continuous composure while coordinating exceptional fire support during a four-day combat operation. Constantly under fire, he willingly and repeatedly exposed himself to attack while identifying enemy positions and directing fire upon them. In addition, he single-handedly turned back a group of insurgents who had come within 50 metres of a friendly position. Master Corporal Holmes’ valour and determination were critical to the success of the operation.
Master Corporal Gilles-Remi Mikkelson, Bella Coola, British Columbia.
On November 1, 2009, a member of Master Corporal Mikkelson’s joint Canadian-Afghan foot patrol was severely wounded by an improvised explosive device. During the ensuing ambush, Master Corporal Mikkelson selflessly crossed through intense enemy fire to provide life-saving first aid to the critically wounded Afghan soldier. Despite the danger, his outstanding courage saved a comrade’s life and brought great credit to Canada and the Canadian Forces.
Private Philip Millar, Lower Sackville, Nova Scotia.
On November 23, 2009, Private Millar demonstrated great heroism during an insurgent attack on Forward Operating Base Wilson, in Afghanistan. With mortar bombs falling around him, he unhesitatingly ran to the impact area to provide first aid to a seriously wounded American soldier. Despite the danger, he remained with the casualty, fully exposed to the attack. Private Millar’s courageous actions under fire allowed for the best possible treatment to his comrade and brought great credit to the Canadian Forces.
Master Corporal Paul Douglas Mitchell, Weymouth, Nova Scotia.
On June 5 and July 18, 2010, Master Corporal Mitchell’s front line devotion to duty and courageous actions under fire were instrumental in the defeat of two sustained insurgent attacks. While repeatedly exposing himself to enemy fire and fearlessly maintaining his position, he inspired other soldiers and ultimately repelled the enemy attacks. Master Corporal Mitchell’s selfless actions and disregard for his own safety undoubtedly saved the lives of his fellow soldiers.
Private John Nelson, Wiseton, Saskatchewan.
On June 16, 2010, Private Nelson’s foot patrol came under attack by insurgents on three sides, in Afghanistan. Upon hearing of a casualty, Private Nelson, under his own initiative, rushed headlong into the raging battle to reach his wounded comrade. Bullets rained around them as he administered first aid. While risking his own life, Private Nelson displayed courage, composure and selflessness as he rendered the necessary assistance to save the life of a fellow Canadian soldier.
Sergeant Graham Marc Verrier, Winnipeg, Manitoba.
On July 31, 2010, Sergeant Verrier’s patrol was caught in open terrain by an insurgent ambush, during an operation in Afghanistan. Despite being fully exposed to enemy fire, he immediately initiated a frontal assault on the enemy position. He also inspired his fellow soldiers to follow and relentlessly engaged the insurgents until they broke contact. Sergeant Verrier’s selfless, courageous and decisive actions under fire were critical to protecting the remainder of his platoon and defeating the enemy ambush.