b. ? Winnipeg, Manitoba.
DATE OF CV ACTION: 12/11/1996 Resolution Island, Northwest Territories.
On November 12, 1996, Search and Rescue Technicians Mitchell and Pierce carried out an unprecedented night parachute jump into freezing Arctic waters to provide medical aid to a critically ill fisherman onboard a Danish trawler near Resolution Island, Northwest Territories. Tasked initially as back-up to another air rescue team, the Hercules aircraft with Mcpls. Mitchell and Pierce on board arrived first on the scene only to learn that the stricken seaman had taken a turn for the worse. There was no time to waste so they elected to attempt a risky parachute descent. With inadequate flare illumination and the promised Zodiac boat not yet launched from the Danish trawler, they jumped in extremely strong winds that carried them away from the vessel. As they entered the three-metre waves, MCpl. Mitchell became entangled in the shroud lines under his partially collapsed chute canopy, while MCpl. Pierce’s chute remained inflated and dragged him face down through the water farther away from the ship. Although equipped with dinghies, they could not paddle nor swim to the trawler because of heavy seas and severe icing. Struggling to stay afloat, they battled the onset of hypothermia for 15 minutes before the crew of an ice-encrusted Zodiac picked them up and delivered them to the ship where they carried out medical procedures that saved the patient’s life.
On January 3, 2007, parachute rescue team leader Warrant Officer Pierce and team member Sergeant Harrison performed a perilous procedure in a parachute jump to help a critically injured aircraft passenger, at Blatchford Lake, in the Northwest Territories. In the face of severe weather conditions, both performed a low-altitude jump, where the slightest error could have had catastrophic results for the team. The extraordinary level of professionalism demonstrated by Warrant Officer Pierce and Sergeant Harrison under these difficult circumstances brings great honour to the Canadian Forces and to Canada. For these actions, then-Warrant Officer Pierce and Sergeant Harrison were awarded the Meritorious Service Cross (Military Division).
In 2010, he was appointed as a Member of the Order of Military Merit (MMM).