Lieutenant-Colonel Paganini, of the United States Army, performed exceptionally well as commanding officer of the 1-71 Cavalry Squadron, in Afghanistan from April 2010 to March 2011. Under his front line leadership, the squadron earned a reputation for its effectiveness and professionalism, and established itself as a critical component of Task Force Kandahar. Lieutenant-Colonel Paganini's tactical acumen and drive to succeed set an example for soldiers of all nations and were critical to the Canadian Forces' operational success in Afghanistan.
Colonel Michael Matthew Lawrence Rafter, M.S.M., C.D. Ottawa, Ontario
From September to November 2011, Colonel Rafter displayed leadership while deployed to Italy as part of Canada's contribution to the NATO-led mission to protect the people of Libya. As chief of staff and subsequently commander of Task Force Libeccio, he arrived at a challenging time for the mission and was essential in rectifying long-standing issues and maintaining the uninterrupted conduct of flying operations. Colonel Rafter's leadership, professionalism and diplomacy were critical to operational success, and brought great credit to Canada.
Major Jeffrey Alan Rodger, M.S.M., C.D. Victoria, British Columbia
From May to November 2011, Major Rodger was deployed as part of Canada's contribution to the NATO mission to protect the people of Libya. As flight commander of the Aurora Detachment, he developed new aircraft capabilities that brought unique benefits to the operation. He took a Cold War-era submarine hunter and redefined it as a first-rate surveillance platform able to operate effectively over land. Major Rodger's efforts contributed directly to operational success.
Major Harjit Sajjan, M.S.M., C.D. Vancouver, British Columbia
Major Sajjan deployed to Afghanistan as a special advisor from February to November 2009, and from November 2010 to March 2011. His approach, based on his knowledge of local culture and tribal dynamics, helped senior management to engage with influential Afghan tribal leaders, and led to the identification of insurgent command and control connection points. Taking every opportunity to deploy forward to refine his leads, Major Sajjan provided critical situational awareness and reduced the Taliban's influence in Kandahar province through his sound analysis.
Colonel James Baxter Simms, O.M.M., M.S.M., C.D. Kingston, Ontario
As chief of staff within Regional Command (South) Headquarters from September 2008 to June 2009, Colonel Simms performed remarkably well in leading planning efforts for a massive expansion of coalition and Afghan soldiers in southern Afghanistan. He revamped command and control processes to effectively manage an additional 24 000 troops while simultaneously overseeing the planning and synchronization of ongoing combat operations. Colonel Simms' visionary leadership was critical to effectively integrating the troop surge, and contributed directly to improved security in the region.
Colonel Steven Joseph Russell Whelan, M.S.M., C.D. Ottawa, Ontario
From July 2010 to September 2011, Colonel Whelan served as commander of Task Force Jerusalem, in support of Palestinian security reform. He set conditions for major changes within the Palestinian Security Forces' institutional and operational components, and forged a superb military-civilian team that built needed infrastructure and provided advanced training. Colonel Whelan's performance facilitated the ongoing professionalization of Palestinian Security Forces, highlighting Canada's role as an important contributor to the Middle East peace process.
FACT SHEET ON MERITORIOUS SERVICE DECORATIONS
The Meritorious Service Decorations include a military division and a civil division, with two levels each: a medal and a cross. The military division recognizes individuals for their outstanding professionalism and for bringing honour to the Canadian Forces and to Canada. The civil division recognizes individuals who have performed an exceptional deed or an activity that brought honour to the community or to Canada.
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 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 Forces.
These decorations are an important part of the Canadian Honours System, which recognizes excellence. Meritorious Service Decorations honour either a single achievement or an activity over a specified period. The Meritorious Service Decorations are open to both Canadians and non-Canadians.
Anyone may nominate an individual for the civil division of the Meritorious Service Decorations, while military candidates are recommended by the chief of the Defence Staff. Nominations and awards may be made posthumously, but nominations for activities that occurred prior to June 1984, the year in which the honour was first created, are not accepted.
For information on the ceremony:
Rideau Hall Press Office
For information on the recipients:
Department of National Defence
Media Liaison Office