Flag of Canada Retirement Ceremony from BALTDEFCOL and the “Depart with Dignity” Retirement Ceremony of Colonel Jean Trudel

In his opening remarks, Colonel Jean Trudel highlighted the role of the Canadian Armed Forces in the early years of BALTDFECOL. In his words, the curriculum and educational activities of the Canadian Army Command and Staff College was used as an example of developing the curricula for the Joint Command and General Staff Course. Since the establishment, 21 Canadian officers have participated in our core courses. Additionally, we have had close cooperation with the Canadian Armed Forces in different manners.

In 2017, Colonel Jean Trudel was deployed to the BALTDEFCOL for the Deputy Commandant/ Chief of Staff position. Within four years, he devoted himself completely to the development of the College. However, not only Colonel Trudel but also his spouse Ms Claire St Maurice supported the mission of BALTDEFCOL, who took the lead of the BALTSPOUSES.

On behalf of the Government of Canada and the Canadian Armed Forces, the Defence Attaché of Canada Colonel Earl Vandahl presented a Certificate of Service and Golden Pin to Colonel Trudel in recognition of 41 years of service to Canada. In addition, Colonel Eric Laforest, the Commander of Canadian Task Force Latvia handed over the congratulations letter from the Canadian Army.

Brigadier General Ilmar Tamm, the Commandant of the College, firstly thanked Canada for significant contribution to the development of the College. He expressed his appreciation to the Ambassador of Canada to Estonia Mr Kevin Rex and conveyed the hope that Canada will return to College in the future.

The Commandant also highlighted the commitment of Colonel Trudel. He highlighted his outstanding contribution to the enhancement of the reputation of the BALTDEFCOL throughout the Baltic States and beyond and exceptional involvement in the development of the education and research process of the Baltic Defence College. Such dedication was highly appreciated. In addition to professionalism, his charisma makes him a good Chief of Staff. He is a sociable person but does not make concessions on work related issues.

Colonel Jean Trudel was awarded the BALTDEFCOL Medal of Merit Gold for his exceptional service and selfless dedication to the BALTDEFCOL.

However, as mentioned above, Ms Claire St Maurice has also played an important role at the BALTDEFCOL. In 2017, she took the lead of the BALTSPOUSES. She has been a selfless leader and her devotion has been inestimable. For four years, BALTDEFCOL has been supporting the local community of Tartu through remarkable charity projects led by Ms Claire St Maurice. To appreciate her contribution, the Commandant of the BALTDEFCOL awarded her with the Medal of Merit Silver.

Both the Deputy Prime Minister/ Minister of Defence of Latvia, Dr Artis Pabriks and the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Lithuanian Defence Staff, Rear Admiral Arūnas Mockus noted the merits of Colonel Trudel and presented national medals. Behalf of Chief of Defence of Estonia, Brigadier General Enno Mõts presented the valuable gift. On 16th June, in the separate Ceremony, Colonel Jean Trudel was awarded the Cross of Merit, II Class by the Estonian Minister of Defence.

The celebration was very emotional for all the participants and although it was expected, the mood was sad. The Canadian Ambassador to Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, H.E. Mr Kevin Rex stressed that the event was a little bit bittersweet. “No pride and no joy that Canada flag retires from the College”, he said. Nevertheless, he still expressed hope that in future, it will change and Canada will be back. If he talked about Colonel Trudel, he explained their friendship coming from the past deployments and knowing him, he expected his selfless dedication to the position in the BALTDEFCOL. Therefore, in his speech, the Ambassador emphasized Colonel Trudel’s personality and contribution though out all four years.

The Official Ceremony was followed by the Reception hosted by the Embassy of Canada.

BALTDEFCOL wishes all the best to Colonel Jean Trudel and Ms Claire St Maurice in their future endeavours and happy retirement! You are the family members of the BALTDEFCOL – keep in touch and come to visit!

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