Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

October 23, 2013 15:45 ET

Her Royal Highness the Princess Royal Presents the Royal Canadian Medical Service With a Royal Banner in Recognition of Afghanistan Operations

CANADIAN FORCES BASE (CFB) BORDEN, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - Oct. 23, 2013) - The Colonel-in-Chief of the Royal Canadian Medical Service, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal, Princess Anne, today visited medical personnel at the Canadian Forces Health Services Training Centre in Borden. She presented The Princess Royal's Banner as a sign of royal favour in recognition of the sacrifice, valour and clinical excellence of Royal Canadian Medical Service personnel during operations in Afghanistan since 2002.

"On behalf of the Government of Canada, I would like to offer my sincere welcome to Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal and extend my appreciation for the recognition the Royal Canadian Medical Service has received today," said the Honourable Rob Nicholson, Minister of National Defence. "Throughout operations in Afghanistan, the Royal Canadian Medical Service earned extensive national and international praise as a leader in military medicine, medical training, leadership, trauma management, mental health care, rehabilitation and related health research."

From 2006 to 2009, the Royal Canadian Medical Service established and led Role 3 Multinational Medical Unit. The medical unit was the first-ever National Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) multinational hospital in a combat zone, for which Canada received NATO's highest honour for medical support.

The multinational medical unit treated tens of thousands of patients. NATO personnel who made it to the unit with vital signs had a 98 per cent chance of making it out alive. During Afghanistan operations, the Royal Canadian Medical Service suffered the highest number of casualties and killed-in-action aside from combat arms.

"The Canadian Armed Forces takes great pride in the achievements of the Royal Canadian Medical Service," said General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff. "In addition to recognizing their outstanding achievements, this presentation honours their great sacrifice, made while protecting the health and lives of their comrades and of Afghans."

This is the third presentation of a Royal Banner to a Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) element in history. The second presentation of the banner was also presented to the Medical Service by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother in 1985.

"We are deeply honoured by Her Royal Highness' visit. In addition to having a Colonel-in-Chief whose life has been such a noble example of duty and service, receiving a Royal Banner in recognition of our members' tremendous valour and sacrifice in recent operations is a great honour," said Brigadier-General Jean-Robert Bernier, Surgeon General. "We gratefully share this recognition with our civilian medical and community partners. Royal Canadian Medical Service members could not sustain the risks and sacrifices of military service, nor medically support the armed forces to such a high standard, without the extensive support that they so faithfully and enthusiastically provide us wherever we serve."

During the private visit, Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal also met with members of all ranks of the medical service, unveiled the Canadian Forces Health Services Group badge, and toured a 1 Canadian Field Hospital display.

Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal will be in Ontario until October 25 and will also visit the Grey and Simcoe Foresters and the Communications and Electronics Branch of the CAF in Barrie, Borden and Kingston respectively. There will also be joint welcoming events with the cities of Barrie and Kingston during her visit.

Notes to editor / news director:

For more information, please consult the following Backgrounder entitled Colonel-in-Chief Her Royal Highness The Princess Royal visits the Royal Canadian Medical Service.

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