Over the past decade we have noticed a rampant increase in the number of people who are wearing their orders, decorations and medals incorrectly. The cadre of people who flagrantly violate the official rules on how you are supposed to wear your medals ranges from the average veteran right up to current and former Governors General. Indeed, there is much evidence to suggest that the higher the rank of the individual the more likely they are to just wear whatever they want, however they want. We like to think of this as “Instant Dictator Syndrome” or self-aggrandizement at its most obvious.

Why do people wear their medals incorrectly? Often it is because they simply do not know any better. If you are one of these people you should consult WEARING ORDERS, DECORATIONS AND MEDALS which is available from the Chancellery of Honours at Rideau Hall. This guide will help you figure out how you are supposed to wear your officially granted orders, decorations and medals.

When it comes to wearing your medals incorrectly the worst offenders tend to be former Governors General, Lieutenant Governors and retired Generals. When these people – all in authority and all surrounded by staff who know better – wear their medals wrong they are obviously suffering from the dreaded Instant Dictator Syndrome. The attitude accompanied with this most severe condition is “the more medals I wear the more important I will look.”

This simple blog is aimed at revealing the myriad of fellow Canadians who cannot seem to wear their medals correctly.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Getting It Wrong, EVERY TIME

In happier times Senator Pamela Wallin was featured in one of the earliest postings on this blog in October 2010. Sadly things have not improved for the Senator who also serves as an honorary Colonel. After three years she remains totally unable to wear her medals correctly. We think it is unlikely that any officer in the Canadian Forces has ever found so many ways to wear their orders, decorations and medals incorrectly as this embattled Senator and Honorary Colonel. The Senator/Honorary Colonel has been well recognized with numerous honours; Officer of the Order of Canada (OC), Saskatchewan Order of Merit (SOM), 1967 Centennial Medal, 2002 Golden Jubilee Medal, 2012 Diamond Jubilee Medal and the Saskatchewan Hundredth Anniversary of Confederation Medal. This means that in her RCAF DEUs (Dress Uniform) when wearing orders, decorations and medals she should be wearing her OC at the neck, her SOM out of the first button hole and her FULL SIZE medals on the left breast... instead we see the "mix and match" approach to military dressing. I challenge readers to find us ONE photo of Senator/Colonel Wallin wearing her full size insignia correctly while in a CF uniform. Some of her errors have been so basic, it is unbelievable that no one has spent 5 minutes explaining to her how to wear her multiple honours correctly.

So a Senator, Brigadier-General, USAF Colonel and some civvie walk into a reception...
Who caused the deportment problem? The lady who forgot to wear her Order of Canada around the neck,
yet still managed to pin two miniatures; one on a bow the other a straight ribbon onto her left side. 

Perhaps the most disturbing part of this is that even the incorrectly affixed miniatures on Wallin are just haphazardly pinned on like a Rotary lapel badge or piece of jewellery. 
The haphazard approach to affixing insignia combined with
the "mix and match" method of choosing what insignia to wear.

What's wrong here? No OC at the neck, no SOM out of the first button hole and some red lapel pin attached to the left side. We are also assuming this is a parade so it is ok for the Colonel to be wearing her wedge cap indoors.
While the Air Force, now returned to being the RCAF, has long had a tradition of being relaxed when it comes to uniforms, especially DEUs, Honorary Colonel Wallin has taken this to a ridiculous level.


  1. Yeah, she has been a "challenge" in the HCol world to try to get her to wear her uniform correctly. Unfortunately, they have not had much luck with getting her to conform to the dress manual...

  2. In the first picture, she's wearing No. 2B Mess service dress, so properly she should be wearing ribbons, not medals (A-DH-265-000/AG-001, Ch 5, Annex B, Fig 5B1-6). Also, since she's been an HCol for quite some time - over six months, in fact - she shouldn't be wearing 2B at all; she should be wearing No. 2, as she is in the second photo. In the third photo, HCol appears to be in 1As, but managed to forget her name tag. Since there's no date to this photo, I can't say whether or not she ought to be wearing the War of 1812 commenorative pin, but I suspect she should.

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