(Did Tom deserve award?) Somebody thought so
Keeping the Peace
By Tom Lessard
About 14 years into my military career – by this point the late 1960s – I was working in the quartermasters stores in Wolseley Barracks as a clerk for the RCR. I’d just come off a court martial, got a $25 fine and was promoted to corporal rank – back-dated six months – all in the same orders parade.
About 11 a.m., a call came through for me to report to the theatre. No one knew why, so I cleaned myself up and marched directly over there. When I arrived, there was a line of about ten other personnel waiting in the hallway, so I joined them. A while later the regimental sergeant major marched in and called us to attention before he moved down the line checking to see if we were properly dressed.
When he finally got to me, he seemed perplexed and said, “What are you doing here, Lessard?”
I replied, “I don’t know, sir. I was told to report to the theatre with no explanation. Sir!”
He responded with, “I’ll see about that.”
After a short time, he called us to attention and proceeded to march us onto the stage, where we were halted and turned left to face – of all things – a full house of our comrades.
I was stunned, to say the least. Some were looking at me and chuckling. I found it hard to keep a straight face.
Next on the agenda was the adjutant who inspected each soldier. When he got to me, he asked the RSM, “What is Lessard doing here?”
The RSM replied, “I’m not sure, sir, but I’m checking into it.”
The next thing I know, the commanding officer is presenting me with the Canadian Decoration (C.D.). My buddies were still chuckling at this turn of events.
After the presentations were over, we were marched out of the theatre and dismissed. The RSM stopped me and told me that he would get back to me about how I got the medal. He never did.
[I had qualified for the medal a couple years before this (you need 12 years of service, which I had already served), but by the time they got enough people to do a parade, it had been so long that people were confused about why I was getting it.]
After being dismissed, I paraded myself over to the canteen and knocked back a few while we all had a good laugh.