ARCHIVED - The Valour Building honours recipients of the Star of Military Valour

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Article / May 25, 2015 / Project number: 15-0093

Ottawa, Ontario – Canada’s Minister of National Defence, The Honourable Jason Kenney, today unveiled a commemorative plaque to honour 20 recipients of the Star of Military Valour – the highest decoration awarded during Canada’s 12-year mission in Afghanistan – for their courage, self-sacrifice and devotion to duty. Colonel William Fletcher is one such recipient whose selfless courage, tactical acumen and effective command will now be forever recognized in the Valour Building in Ottawa.

When the soldiers at his side were struck by enemy fire, then-Major Fletcher immediately rendered first aid and continued to head subsequent assaults on heavily defended enemy positions. From January to August 2006, Maj Fletcher, Officer Commanding C Company, 1st Battalion, Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, on Task Force Afghanistan, repeatedly exposed himself to intense fire while on foot, demonstrating extraordinary bravery that proved pivotal to his company’s combat actions.

Currently serving as a special advisor to General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff, Colonel Fletcher says the Star of Military Valour is a reflection of his company’s exceptional work in the presence of a determined enemy. Col Fletcher received the award in February 2007 as part of the first-ever handout of Military Valour Decorations, created in 1993 by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.

 “I’m very appreciative of all the officers and soldiers in C Company because without them, nothing we trained for would have been accomplished,”  said Col Fletcher, who was present at the unveiling ceremony May 25.   “It’s very humbling to wear the Star of Military Valour and to see it on display, but I wear it on behalf of my company.” 

Formerly known as La Promenade Building at 151 Sparks Street, the building was renamed the Valour Building as part of the National Day of Honour on May 9, 2014, to honour all Canadian Armed Forces members who served in Afghanistan.

 “The fact that we are being recognized for our sacrifices will help to tell some of the incredible stories that have come out of Afghanistan. Take Captain Jonathan Snyder, who was awarded the Star of Military Valour posthumously in 2009,”  said Col Fletcher, noting his close connection to the former platoon captain.  “It’s important for Canadians to understand what their soldiers, sailors and aviators do and I think the plaque adds an important legacy.” 

Capt Snyder was awarded the Star of Military Valour for his extraordinary courage under fire that saved the lives of dozens of Afghan and Canadian soldiers in June 2008. His fiancé and common law partner, Megan Leigh Stewart, accepted the award on his behalf in February 2009.

Col Fletcher says the new, cast bronze plaque also serves as a reminder of the most challenging aspects of his service, but also some of the most rewarding.  “In spite of what was an emotional low at the loss of our soldiers, members were continuously ready to hit the next mission,”  said Col Fletcher.

 “The level of professionalism and the esprit de corps was by far the highest point in my service. I’m not sure – from a professional standpoint – what could ever come close to that.” 

The commemorative plaque reminds Canadians of the heroism of the 20 Star of Military Valour recipients, as well as the contributions of the more than 40,000 men and women who served during Canada’s 12-year military mission.

To view a list of Star of Military Valour recipients with links to their citations on the Governor General’s website, go to: http://www.gg.ca/honours.aspx?ln=&fn=&t=10&p=&c=&pg=1&types=10&advmvdLevel=Star

By Meagan Sylvester, Army Public Affairs

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