OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Nov. 16, 2012) - Today, the Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence, accompanied by the Honourable Bernard Valcourt, Associate Minister of National Defence, Minister of State (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency) (La Francophonie), and General Tom Lawson, Chief of the Defence Staff, presented 210 Canadian Forces members with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Operation Unified Protector - Libya medal during a ceremony held at Canadian Forces Base Halifax.
An additional 740 medals were awarded to Canadian Forces personnel in several other ceremonies across Canada and the United States of America today in recognition of their participation in Operation Mobile, the Canadian Forces' contribution to the NATO-led operation to protect the people of Libya with the enforcement of an arms embargo and no-fly zone.
"I am honoured to present medals to these deserving men and women. The Canadian Forces' contribution to support the people of Libya was significant, and undoubtedly helped to save many lives as the Gaddafi regime tried to repress the popular uprising," said Minister MacKay. "The deployment of Canadian Forces naval and air assets to the Mediterranean on short notice demonstrated Canada's commitment to aiding in international humanitarian crises."
"When the people of Libya stood up to demand change, Canada lived up to its reputation as a defender of freedom, democracy and the rule of law," said Minister Valcourt. "Thanks to the extraordinary efforts of these brave men and women, Libyans can now work toward a peaceful future for their country."
Canada responded rapidly and strongly after the passage of the United Nations (UN) Security Council Resolution 1973 of March 17, 2011. The Canadian Forces took a leading role in the UN-mandated, NATO-led operation to protect the people of Libya from the former Gaddafi regime while also imposing an arms embargo and no-fly zone.
"Time and again, Canadian Forces members have shown the world that Canada is a dependable and highly capable ally ready and able to assist when called upon," said General Lawson. "We can all be very proud of the accomplishments of our soldiers, sailors, airmen and airwomen, and the work they did to protect the people of Libya."
The deployment of Canadian assets to the region, including two frigates and their Sea King helicopter detachments (Her Majesty's Canadian Ships Charlottetown and Vancouver), CF-188 Hornet fighters, CC-150 Polaris in-flight refuelling tankers, CC-130 Hercules tankers, and CP-140 Aurora long-range patrol aircraft, gave Canada and the Canadian Forces the flexibility and capability to respond to the ongoing crisis in the region by providing critical aviation support to coalition efforts. Canada's massive C-177 Globemaster III aircraft were used to transport people and equipment to and from the theatre of operations.
In recognition, the NATO Operation Unified Protector - Libya medal is awarded for 30 consecutive or 60 cumulative days of honourable service under NATO Operation Unified Protector commencing on March 23, 2011, and ending on October 31, 2011.
In addition to the presentation in Halifax, medal presentations were held today in Gander, Goose Bay, Greenwood, Bagotville, Trenton, Winnipeg, Moose Jaw, Cold Lake, Esquimalt, Comox, and Salina, Kansas, United States of America.
Notes to editor / news director:
For more information on the NATO Operation Unified Protector - Libya medal, please consult the following link: http://www.cmp-cpm.forces.gc.ca/dhr-ddhr/chc-tdh/chart-tableau-eng.asp?ref=Nato_Non_Art5_OUP-LIBYA-LIBYE&submit1=Go.