Courage Under Fire: Three Canadian soldiers to be honored for bravery


 

 

 

By MONTE SONNENBERG – QMI Agency

Reposted from Sunmedia
 

 

 A Delhi man is among three soldiers who was honoured for bravery in Ottawa today.

Master Bombardier Adam Holmes, a member of the Yankee Battery of the 2nd Regiment, Royal Canadian Horse Artillery, received the Canadian Medal of Military Valour at a ceremony in Ottawa. Governor-General David Johnston made the presentation.

Holmes is the son of David and Kay Holmes. Holmes is a member of the 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group, which is stationed at CFB Petawawa in eastern Ontario. He has been cited for actions during a four-day battle in Afghanistan two summers ago.

Holmes arrived for his second tour in Afghanistan in April of 2010. While there, he was stationed in the Arghandab District north of Kandahar City. While helping train members of the Afghan military, Holmes also served as a forward combat soldier fighting alongside the 101st Airborne Division of the United States. Contact with the enemy was a near daily occurrence.

Holmes and his unit were involved in a particularly fierce battle from July 30 through Aug. 2 of 2010. Before suffering serious leg and arm injuries in a mortar attack, Holmes on several occasions engaged in combat in close quarters with Taliban insurgents.

One of Holmes’ responsibilities was moving to the front line during a firefight, determining where enemy fire was concentrated, then firing flares in the direction of the attackers so fighter jets and helicopter gunships would know where to bomb and lay down ground fire.

Holmes and his colleagues were fighting in an area known to be saturated with improvised explosive devices (IEDs). At times he ambled about the battlefield carrying more than 100 pounds of gear. On several occasions, at great risk to himself, Holmes removed injured allied and Afghan soldiers to safety in the middle of firefights.

Enemy bombs stunned Holmes on several occasions. In one incident, the backdraft from a grenade launcher fired by a soldier in his unit left him briefly unconscious.

“Everyone in 2 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group is extremely proud of Master Bombardier Holmes,” Colonel Simon Hetherington, commander of the group, said in an email Wednesday. “To be honest, we are in awe of the courage and selflessness he showed that resulted in the award of this medal. His actions were truly inspiring and serve as an excellent example for all of us in uniform.

“I do need to emphasize that, while there were many situations in Afghanistan where Canadian soldiers performed heroically in combat, only a very few number have been recognized with the award of the Medal of Military Valour. Master Bombardier Holmes really did something extraordinary and I’m personally delighted to see he’s got the recognition he deserves. An outstanding soldier, to be sure.”

Hetherington also has high praise for two other soldiers who will receive the same award today. Sgt. Graham Verrier of the 1st Battalion, The Royal Canadian Regiment, is being cited for “courageous and decisive actions” during an ambush in 2010. Master Cpl. Paul Mitchell of the same regiment is being cited for decisive leadership and courageous actions during two sustained insurgent attacks, also in Afghanistan.

Monte Sonnenberg
Phone: 1-519-426-3528 ext. 150
Email: monte.sonnenberg@sunmedia.ca

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About Bonnie Toews and John Christiansen

Bonnie's Blog Posts invite our readers and free spirits everywhere to share life's adventures with us. I talk about writing my novels, reading books, chatting with other writers and John's and my journeys around the world. We welcome your anecdotes to our experiences and discussions.
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