Forty Years of Celebrating Military Excellence
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It was on 1 July 1972 that Her Majesty the Queen established the Order of Military Merit (ORMM) to provide a worthy means of recognizing conspicuous merit and exceptional service by members of the Canadian Forces. Since then, over 4,000 distinguished members of Her Majesty’s Canadian Forces have been recognized by Crown and Country for their outstanding service to Canada through admission or promotion in this prestigious Order.
Several projects were undertaken to suitably commemorate this important milestone.
Unveiling of commemorative monument
of Her Majesty The Queen on the
occasion of the 40th Anniversary of
the Order of Military Merit
Photo Credit - Corporal Jax Kennedy,
Canadian Forces Combat Camera
© 2012 DND-MDN Canada
General Walt Natynczyk, Chief of the Defence Staff, hosted a reception on 7 June 2012 to honour the newly invested members of the Order of Military Merit and to mark the 40th Anniversary of the Order. Commemorative initiatives were showcased during the event, including the launch of “The Order of Military Merit”, a book which was written by renowned Canadian honours historian, Dr. Christopher McCreery, and commissioned by the Department of National Defence to celebrate this anniversary, as well as by the unveiling of a special commemorative sculpture of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II.
Commemorative monument of Her Majesty
The Queen and Founding Sovereign of the
Order of Military Merit
Photo Credit - Phil White, PWGSC
The commemorative monument was unveiled by General Natynczyk and Mr. James B. Love, Chair of the Royal Canadian Mint Board of Directors. This new monument developed by Dominion Sculptor, Mr. Phil White is a bust depicting Her Majesty wearing her insignia as Sovereign of the Order of Canada and of the Order of Military Merit, as well as the Grand Duchess Vladimir of Russia tiara, and Queen Victoria’s Golden Jubilee necklace. The monument will be permanently displayed in the main concourse of National Defence Headquarters, in Ottawa.
Order of Military Merit Fact Sheet
The Order of Military Merit recognizes distinctive merit and exceptional service displayed by the men and women of the Canadian Forces, both Regular and Reserve. Many have demonstrated dedication and devotion beyond the call of duty, and the Order honours them for their commitment to Canada, according to the following three levels:
- The level of Commander (post-nominal: CMM) recognizes outstanding meritorious service and demonstrated leadership in duties of great responsibility.
- The level of Officer (post-nominal: OMM) recognizes outstanding meritorious service in duties of responsibility.
- The level of Member (post-nominal: MMM) recognizes exceptional service or performance of duty.
Eligibility and Nominations
Nominations are submitted through the chain of command and are considered by the ORMM Advisory Council. The Council recommends to the Chief of the Defence Staff the names of those serving members of the Canadian Forces, both Regular and Reserve, they consider eligible. The Chief of the Defence Staff then submits the names to the Governor General for approval on behalf of the Queen.
The number of appointments per year is limited to one-tenth of one per cent of the average number of persons who were members of the Canadian Forces during the previous year. In 2011, for instance, 114 appointments were made. There are no posthumous appointments.
Recipients may be promoted within the Order. They must exchange their insignia for that which corresponds to the new level, since no member may hold more than one appointment at any time.
The Order’s constitution permits members of the Armed Forces of another country to be appointed as honorary Commanders, Officers and Members. Appointments are made for outstanding meritorious service to Canada or to the Canadian Forces in the performance of military duties.
Officials of the Order since 1972
- Founding Sovereign of the Order of Military Merit
- Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Queen of Canada
- The Right Honourable Daniel Roland Michener, PC, CC, CMM, OOnt, CD, QC, 1972-1974
- The Right Honourable Jules Léger, PC, CC, CMM, CD, 1974-1980
- The Right Honourable Edward Richard Schreyer, PC, CC, CMM, OM, CD, 1980-1985
- The Right Honourable Jeanne Mathilde Sauvé, PC, CC, CMM, CD, 1985-1990
- The Right Honourable Ramon John Hnatyshyn, PC, CC, CMM, CD, QC, 1990-1995
- The Right Honourable Roméo Adrien LeBlanc, PC, CC, CMM, ONB, CD, 1995-1999
- The Right Honourable Adrienne Louise Clarkson, PC, CC, CMM, COM, CD, 1999-2005
- The Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, CC, CMM, COM, CD, 2005-2010
- The Right Honourable David Lloyd Johnston, CC, CMM, COM, CD, 2010-
- Principal Commanders
- General Frederick Ralph Sharp, CMM, DFC, CD, 1972
- General Jacques Alfred Dextraze, CC, CBE, CMM, DSO, CD, 1972-1977
- Admiral Robert Hilborn Falls, CMM, CD, 1977-1980
- General Ramsey Muir Withers, CMM, CD, 1980-1983
- General Gérard Charles Édouard Thériault, CMM, CD, 1983-1986
- General Paul David Manson, OC, CMM, CD, 1986-1989
- General Alfred John Gardyne Drummond de Chastelain, OC, CMM, CD, CH, 1989-1993
- Admiral John Rogers Anderson, CMM, CD, 1993-1994
- General Alfred John Gardyne Drummond de Chastelain, OC, CMM, CD, CH, 1994-1995
- General Joseph Édouard Jean Boyle, CMM, CD, 1995
- Vice-Admiral Lawrence Edward Murray, CMM, CD (acting), 1996-1997
- General Joseph Gérard Maurice Baril, OC, CMM, MSM, CD, 1997-2001
- General Raymond Roland Joseph Henault, CMM, MSC, CD, 2001-2005
- General Rickey John Hillier, OC, CMM, MSC, CD, 2005-2008
- General Walter John Natynczyk, CMM, MSC, CD, 2008-2012
- General Thomas James Lawson, CMM, CD, 2012-
The Order of Military Merit Book
Produced by the Directorate of Honours and Recognition, The Order of Military Merit was commissioned to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the foundation of this Order by Her Majesty the Queen on 1 July 1972. This work by renowned Canadian honours historian Christopher McCreery is the first to examine the origins and development of the Order. This book highlights the history of this honour and pays tribute to the extraordinary men and women of Her Majesty’s Canadian Forces who have earned it and wear it with pride and distinction.
A limited number of books will be distributed throughout the Canadian Forces by the Director Supply Chain Operations (DSCO) and an electronic version will soon be available on-line on the DH&R website.
Copies of the book are available while quantities last by contacting DH&R_DDHR@forces.gc.ca.
The Order of Military Merit 40th Anniversary Promotional Items
To enhance the visibility of the Order and to increase the feeling of brotherhood among its members, both serving and retired, a line of promotional items is being launched. They include a limited edition and numbered commemorative plate, cufflinks, a broach, a tie and scarf and other items. These may be purchased from the official supplier, Guthrie Wood Products Limited, at their new OMM Kit Shop available at www.guthriewoods.com/omm. These will undoubtedly be memorable gifts from family, colleagues and friends on the occasion of admissions or promotions in the Order or upon the retirement of a member of the Order. While anyone may purchase the articles, the wearable items may only be worn by members of the Order. Five percent of the wholesale price of each item sold will be donated to the Military Families Fund.