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Canadian Medal of Bravery for alumnus who served in Afghanistan

Alumnus Jeffery Alderdice doesn’t call himself a hero. But he saved the life of an American army officer during a five-hour battle with the Taliban.

Alderdice, a sergeant with the Toronto Police Service, was serving a nine-month tour of duty in 2010 and 2011 – part of an RCMP program to provide training for Afghan police.

With his background as a detective, Alderdice was assigned to teach high-ranking officers crime-scene techniques and counter-terrorism measures. To be close to their headquarters, Alderdice was billeted with a U.S. Army unit. 

On Feb. 12, 2011, Alderdice and members of his unit were called to police headquarters in Kandahar City to help fend off a Taliban attack. One U.S. officer was alone, co-ordinating the American response.

“The enemy figured out where he was and began concentrating their fire,” said Alderdice.

He got permission to go to the officer’s aid, to engage the shooters and move the officer to safety. After a five-hour battle, Alderdice was soaked with the blood of the wounded he had tended.

Back in Canada, he was awarded a Canadian Medal of Bravery, presented by the Governor General at Rideau Hall. It was an honour the University of Toronto Scarborough graduate in criminology and sociology had never imagined.

“It really was an incredible life experience,” he said of his tour in Afghanistan, “Even the events forged in tragedy. It has made me a better leader, a better manager and a better person.”