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An Edmonton soldier has been awarded the U.S. Defence Meritorious Service medal for his five years of work with the North American Aerospace Defence Command.

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Master Warrant Officer Patrick Love held multiple positions while at NORAD, a joint bi-national command with the U.S. Northern Command, from 2015-2020.

“It was pretty exciting, actually, because not everybody receives this medal and it’s one of the higher-ranked American awards. So, it was an honour to get it as a Canadian,” said Love of the award issued by the United States Department of Defence.

The 57-year-old said NORAD conducts aerospace warning, aerospace control and maritime warning in the defence of North America. Love looked after the cyber domain for training and headed the 24-hour crew at NORAD. The agency is based in Colorado Springs, Colo.

Love said his stint at NORAD was during a key time in the evolution of cyber warfare, a growing threat in which computers and information technology are used as weapons.

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“For myself, it was a lot of learning new things. The cyber realm is fairly new to the Canadian Forces, the Americans are a little bit further ahead, but for myself it was a very steep learning curve, but I did learn a lot and enjoyed working there,” he said.

Love is now posted to the Canadian Manoeuvre Training Centre in Wainwright, Alta. as the sergeant major.

The training centre conducts exercises such Maple Resolve, a large and complex operation of the army involving multiple units.

“What we do is we go out and we observe and give recommendations on how to better what they’re doing, with the end goal of course preparing them to be able to deploy outside of Canada on any mission the Canadian government would choose to send us on,” he said.

Four generations of Love’s family have served in the army. He followed his grandfather and parents into the service, and his son has also signed up. He said his family was excited and proud of him for receiving the U.S. award.

Originally from Toronto, Love said he bought a retirement property and will eventually be making Morinville his home.

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