Calgary Chapter Peacekeeper

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Colonel (Retired) Donald Stewart Ethell, OC, OMM, MSC, OStJ, AOE, CD
Canadian Association of Veterans
In United Nations Peacekeeping


30 August 2009

 For over 38 years Colonel Don Ethell served as an infanteer in the Canadian Army (Regular). He retired from the Army in July 1993. Throughout his Service, Don’s tours of duty have included three years of NATO service in Germany, and extensive service in Cyprus, Lebanon, Syria, Jordan, Egypt, Israel, Central America, and the Balkans. During one of his tours in the Middle East he successfully planned, negotiated, and commanded two short-notice large scale Prisoner of War and body exchanges between Israel and Syria - two countries at war. For these actions the Governor General awarded the Meritorious Service Cross to Don. During the first Persian Gulf War Don served for 16 months as the Chief of Staff/Deputy Force Commander with the Middle East-based Multinational Force & Observers.   Ethell’s last tour of international service was as the Canadian Head of Mission to the European Community's Military Mission to the former Yugoslavia during the wars of 1992 in both in Croatia and Bosnia.


            Between a series of overseas Peacekeeping tours (ie from 1987 until 1990) Colonel Ethell served in National Defence Headquarters as the Director of Peacekeeping Operations (DPkO).   As DPkO, his duties encompassed Canadian Forces’ activities in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iran, Iraq, and Namibia.  Included in this timeframe were a series of Canadian initiatives, and secondments to the United Nations, activities associated with Arias Peace Plan for the five countries of Central America.  The Ethell-led comprehensive on-site reconnaissance and plan was subsequently accepted and adopted as the Deployment and Operational Plan for the UN Force in Central America.  His operational plan was also tabled in the Canadian House of Commons.


Following his retirement in 1993 Colonel Ethell served as CARE Canada’s Security Adviser in Kenya and Somalia, the latter during the activities of the Coalition Forces in Somalia; and, during the spring of 1994 served as the military advisor to Price Waterhouse's review of the Republic of Ireland’s Defence Forces.  Serving as a consultant to large US Defence Contractor, Don's consulting company successfully bid on Service Support contracts with United Nations Peace Support Forces in Rwanda, Angola, Haiti, and the Balkans.


            Having completed fours years as the National President, currently Colonel Ethell is the Liaison Officer to VAC for the Canadian Association of Veterans in United Nations Peacekeepers. He is the Honourary Chairman of the Gulf War Veterans Association of Canada; a member of the Princess Patricia’s Canadian Light Infantry Association; the Queen’s Own Rifles of Canada Association; the Canadian Airborne Association; the Royal Canadian Legion and the ANAVETS.


For five years Ethell served as a member of the Veterans Affairs Canada, Canadian Forces Advisory Council, a council which contributed to the drafting and issue of the New Veterans Charter for CF Veterans and their families (Bill C45). For six years he served as the voluntary Chair for the joint Department of National Defence (DND) & Veterans Affairs Canada Operational Stress Injuries Social Structure (OSISS) Advisory Committee. He now chairs the recently formed Joint VAC-DND-RCMP Mental Health Advisory Committee.


In recognition of his military service and the charitable associations, in 2002 he was made a member of the Order of Alberta (ie Alberta Order of Excellence).  On the 17th of February 2006, Colonel Ethell was invested by the Governor General of Canada as an Officer of the Order of Canada.  He is an Officer of the Order of Military Merit and the Order of St John




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