Mr. Speaker, I rise today to pay tribute to Private Jess Larochelle, a Canadian Forces soldier from my riding who will be decorated with the Star of Military Valour for distinguished and valiant service in the presence of the enemy for his actions during an intense firefight in the Panjwai district of Afghanistan last October.
Private Larochelle was manning an observation post while serving with Charles Company of the First Battalion of the Royal Canadian Regiment, when more than 20 insurgents launched a surprise attack.
His observation post was hit by a rocket propelled grenade and Private Larochelle, who was under substantial enemy fire and in an exposed position, aggressively returned fire, providing cover for his company's flank, which otherwise would have been unprotected. Private Larochelle's courageous actions helped save the lives of many members of his company.
On behalf of all hon. members, I would like to thank Private Jess Larochelle for his heroism and courage, and salute him on being decorated with the Star of Military Valour, Canada's highest military honour next to the Victoria Cross. We are proud of Jess.