CAF members promoted in unique Hawaiian fashion during RIMPAC 2018

Two men shake hands and hold a piece of fabric
Warrant Officer Fred Couturier receives his new rank from Major Dan Klco, RIMPAC Air Task Force Commander, onboard a CP-140 Aurora over the Pacific ocean on July 24, 2018 (photo: Cpl Trevor Matheson)

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By Lieutenant (N) Jeff Lura, RIMPAC National Command Element Public Affairs Officer

Every day, Canadian Armed Forces personnel across the country and around the world are recognized for their service and hard work. For many members, the receipt of a promotion, award, or decoration is a career highlight, creating fond memories that last a lifetime. For two deserving personnel deployed on RIMPAC 2018, these memories are especially unforgettable: their contributions were celebrated during the world’s largest maritime exercise, surrounded by stunning and historic Hawaiian scenery.

Eleven stories above the bustling city of Waikiki, Human Resources Administrator Melanie Thibault-Bedard was promoted to the rank of Corporal one year ahead schedule, in recognition of her exceptional performance. Making her promotion all the more memorable, Corporal Thibault-Bedard’s mother—visiting all the way from Magog, Quebec—presented her daughter’s new rank, with palm trees swaying in the breeze nearby.

“I can’t believe this was all for me!” exclaimed Corporal Thibault-Bedard immediately after the ceremony. “The ceremony, my friends, the trees, my mom; it was perfect and I’ll remember it forever.”

Not to be outdone by the Corporal’s 11th-floor promotion, Airborne Electronic Sensor Operator Fred Couturier became the Canadian Armed Forces’ newest Warrant Officer on July 24, at 13 000 feet over the Pacific Ocean onboard a CP-140 Aurora.

“It was great to be promoted in the air, alongside the colleagues I fly with every day,” he said, shortly after landing.

Despite the round-the-clock nature of RIMPAC operations, it was important to the supervisors and leadership of each of these deserving members that they be recognized in a unique way. As Corporal Thibault-Bedard and Warrant Officer Couturier return to their critical roles in Canada’s RIMPAC contribution, they do so with tangible reminders that their work is appreciated, and unique Hawaiian memories that will endure long after they return to Canada.

Image gallery

  • Two men shake hands and hold a piece of fabric
  • Four military members and one civilian stand on a balcony; there is a beach in the background
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