Kamloops soldier will be honoured in Ottawa
A Kamloops soldier and his family will be in Ottawa tomorrow (Dec. 13) to accept a high honour from Governor General David Johnston.
Canadian Army Capt. Kristian Udesen has been named a recipient of the Meritorious Service Medal — an decoration awarded in recognition of “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.”
Udesen, 30, is a member of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry, based in Edmonton.
“We’re excited for him,” said his dad, Peter, who will be at Rideau Hall tomorrow with wife Nancy to see their son receive his decoration.
“We’re excited that he’s being recognized.”
Kristian couldn’t be reached by KTW — his family cites his overwhelming modesty — but his wife, Army Capt. Caroline Pollock, said the Kamloops native is proud to be receiving such a high honour.
“As much as he’ll play it down, I know deep down he’s very honoured to receive this,” she said on the phone from the couple’s home in St. Albert, just north of Edmonton.
“Kristian is a very hard worker and he’s very dedicated to his job and his family and his friends.
“He’s one of those people you can count on — he’s not going to leave you hanging.”
Kristian graduated from Kam High in 1999, before attending Carleton University in Ottawa.
After his graduation in 2004, he went into military training before becoming a soldier in 2007.
The medal he is receiving today stems from an incident in November 2009, during which Kristian organized and led two successful counter-attacks following a pair of improvised-explosive device ambushes on his unit in the Panjwayi district of Afghanistan.
According to the Governor General’s website, Kristian’s “tactical acumen, composure under fire and remarkable abilities as a soldier were critical to the defeat of the enemy and brought great credit to the Canadian Forces and to Canada.”
The medal will be presented by the Governor General.
Pollock said the honour is a big deal, but what might be more important to her husband is who put his name forward in the first place — the soldiers in his unit.
“It just goes to show how they view him,” she said.
“It means a lot, especially for an officer to know that the men who work with you and for you, that they respect you.”
According to Pollock, Kristian hopes the decoration is a sign of things to come in his military career.
“There’s less than 1,000 people in the military in Canada who have received this award,” she said.
“In his chain-of-command, a lot of the senior officers have this decoration.
“He has that potential and he’s definitely been marked as someone who’s going to climb up the ranks.”
The award caps off an exciting couple of months for Kristian and Caroline, who were married on Oct. 12.
“Between this and the wedding, there’s a lot to celebrate,” Caroline said.
Kristian and Caroline plan to visit Kamloops for a few days around Christmas.