Private Taumy St-Hilaire (L) shakes hands with Canada's Governor General David Johnston after being presented with the Star of Military Valour during a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa November 15, 2012. REUTERS/Chris Wattie
OTTAWA - A soldier from Quebec who saved two Afghan civilians from enemy fire was among soldiers awarded Thursday for military valour and service.
Gov. Gen. David Johnston presented 42 awards to members of the Canadian Forces and three to members of Allied forces at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.
It was the first ceremony attended by the new Chief of Defence Staff Tom Lawson, who was sworn in as Canada's top soldier Oct. 29.
Pte. Taumy St-Hilaire, originally from Montreal, was presented with the Star of Military Valour - Canada's second-highest award for military valour and one which has been presented to fewer than two dozen military members.
In April 2011, St-Hilaire saw an Afghan civilian father and son pinned down by enemy fire from a rooftop position and led the pair to safety.
"On his own initiative and despite enemy aggression from three separate
positions, he requested covering fire before going down to the exposed
victims to lead them to shelter," read Rideau Hall statement.
Two Americans and a member of the French Air Force were also saluted on Thursday, including Spec. David Fletcher Graves of Texas.
Graves was participating in a training exercise in August 2010 as part of a Canadian-led Task Force in Kandahar during an attempted invasion.
Graves and fellow U.S. Soldier, Staff Sgt. Adam Hever, secured weapons and sought cover to fight the attack.
Graves credits his Canadian comrades for ensuring his survival in Afghanistan.
"Their courage, decisiveness and soldiering ability neutralized the attack and enabled friendly forces to find safety," a Rideau Hall statement read.