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News | June 22, 2021

CFSCC Canadian exchange officer receives award for heroic actions

By Lt. Col. Mae-Li Allison Combined Force Space Component Command Public Affairs Office

A Canadian exchange officer assigned to the Combined Force Space Component Command received a Canadian Chief of the Defence Staff Commendation award June 15 for his decisive and helpful actions when responding to a local vehicle accident almost a year ago. 

Royal Canadian Air Force Sgt. Michael Fuller, an operations flight chief with the 18th Space Control Squadron, received the Canadian award before a small audience of U.S. and international coworkers at the Combined Space Operations Center. Royal Canadian Air Force Lt. Gen. Alain Pelletier, the deputy commander of the North American Aerospace Defense Command, officiated the ceremony virtually. 

Represented by a gold bar bearing three gold maple leaves that adorns Fuller’s service dress uniform, this award recognizes deeds or activities performed beyond the demand of normal duty.

“I would like to thank Sergeant Fuller for his steadfast and selfless leadership in response to a motor vehicle accident,” Pelletier said from Colorado Springs, Colorado. “I am proud that when called up, you stepped up and provided the assistance required to ensure they were safe and cared for until emergency crews arrived. Wear this award proudly and let it serve as a reminder of the impact your leadership played on these two individuals’ lives.”

Fuller happened upon an accident involving two vehicles in Orcutt, California, on the evening of July 14, 2020, and “immediately proceeded to assist the driver of one smoking vehicle by prying the door open and escorting the confused victim to safety while another person contacted emergency services,” according to the citation accompanying the award. He and a bystander also moved an occupant from the second vehicle, whose engine was on fire, to safety. 

Fuller still thinks about the harrowing event. After reading local news coverage about it, he made contact with first driver.

“I later found out that he is an active-duty Air National Guard member,” Fuller said. “When I reached out to him to check on his health, he said he was happy I contacted him and that he was very thankful for my actions.”

Fuller was quick to respond when asked if he had any advice to share with others who may find themselves in a similar emergency situation.

“It is important to act and not fall for the bystander effect,” he said. “There were a few people who were just watching, and when I directed them to act in certain ways, like to call 911 or help extract the victims, they all complied.

“I am grateful that I was able to help out a couple of U.S. citizens, especially a member of the military that I am honored to serve with.”