CAP-HAITIEN, Haiti -- Multinational Interim Force-Haiti’s commander was awarded the Gold Medal of French Defense June 3 for outstanding leadership displayed during Operation Secure Tomorrow.
French Brig. Gen. Henri Clement-Bolle, commander of the French forces in Haiti, presented Marine Brig. Gen. Ronald S. Coleman the award aboard the French base.
“This medal is only for military personnel that contribute significantly to the national defense of France,” said French Lt. Col. Louis Acacio, assistant to the deputy commander of MIFH. “It is only given to very dedicated service members, usually after 15 years of service.”
“(The French) recognize the merit of Gen. Coleman in how he conducted the operations in Haiti,” Acacio added. “We appreciate the way he chose to lead the mission.”
The French also presented Coleman a black garrison cover, making him an honorary member of the 33rd French Marine Infantry Regiment.
“It’s truly an honor, and I never expected to receive these awards,” Coleman stated. “I didn’t even know about it until that same morning, and for the first time in a long time, I can honestly say that I was speechless.”
Acacio also said French forces with MIFH have been very impressed with Coleman’s style of leadership, and that it’s been an honor to work with him.
Likewise, Coleman said he deeply appreciates the French forces’ contributions to MIFH.
“It’s been so easy to work with the French,” he continued. “From the time they established a presence in Haiti’s northern regions to the present, they’ve gotten the job done. The Multinational Interim Force- Haiti couldn’t have accomplished the mission without the French.”