ARCHIVED - Calgary Highlanders honoured for service in Afghanistan

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Article / January 11, 2015 / Project number: 14-0275

Ottawa, Ontario — Q: How could The Calgary Highlanders, a Canadian Army (CA) Reserve Force unit, deploy 107 percent of its members – more than double that of any other unit – during the 10 years of combat in Afghanistan? A: Many Calgary Highlanders volunteered more than once.

On January 9th, 2015, General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff (CDS), awarded The Calgary Highlanders the Canadian Forces’ (CF) Unit Commendation for their outstanding efforts as a force generator for the Canadian mission to Afghanistan from 2001 to 2011.

“I’m so proud of the contributions that the Canadian Armed Forces made in Afghanistan. The Calgary Highlanders represent the best of this contribution: pulling more than their own weight to support the combat mission, they fought with courage and selflessness. The Calgary Highlanders bring pride to the entire military and I congratulate them on this tremendous honour,” said General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff.

The CF Unit Commendation is a group award created to recognize distinguished service by a military unit. It is awarded to any formation, unit or sub-unit of the CAF, or to any similar organization of a foreign armed force working with or in conjunction with the CAF, that has performed a deed or activity considered beyond the demand of normal duty.

This commendation was awarded to The Calgary Highlanders in addition to the theatre honour AFGHANISTAN, which was announced by Prime Minister Stephen Harper on May 9th 2014, and bestowed on a number of other Reserve and Regular Force units.

In order to receive the theatre honour AFGHANISTAN, Reserve units must have deployed at least 20 percent of their 2011 unit strength between 2001 and 2011. The deserving Reserve units generated an average 30 percent of their 2011 strength.

Amazingly, The Calgary Highlanders generated a prolific 107 percent, which was more than twice that of any other Reserve unit in the Canadian Army. During the mission, The Calgary Highlanders deployed 126 soldiers out of a unit strength of 111 personnel.

Lieutenant-General Marquis Hainse, Commander Canadian Army, said, “The Calgary Highlanders are a Canadian Army Reserve unit with a rich history of service and I congratulate them on their unit commendation. The men and women of this unit can be proud of their contributions in Afghanistan and the strong legacy they have left for the next generation of soldiers who serve with their unit.”

The award is composed of a scroll signed by the CDS and a medallion. A pennant is also awarded, which the unit can fly for one year from the date of award. The scroll, medallion, and pennant will be permanent artefacts which can be displayed by the unit to showcase their significant contribution to the security and stability of Afghanistan.

Since the beginning of the mission, more than 40,000 CAF members deployed to Afghanistan, many more than once, making the military engagement the largest deployment of CAF personnel since the Second World War.

The men and women of the Calgary Highlanders, and the CAF, served with distinction, compassion and bravery while working alongside their Afghan and coalition partners to establish and improve security and governance in Afghanistan.

The Calgary Highlanders is a Reserve light infantry battalion stationed in Calgary, Alberta, with a history of service to Canada that spans more than a century. The regiment has sent soldiers overseas during both World Wars, on numerous UN peacekeeping and NATO missions, and into the combat theatre in Afghanistan.

For more about The Calgary Highlanders, see http://www.army-armee.forces.gc.ca/en/calgary-highlanders/index.page .

 

By Lynn Capuano, Army Public Affairs

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