U.S. presents Legion of Merit to Former MINUSTAH Commander
By Dialogo September 02, 2010
U.S. Air Force Gen. Douglas Fraser, Commander of U.S. Southern Command,
presented the United States Defense Department’s Legion of Merit medal to Brazilian
Army Maj. Gen. Floriano Peixoto Vieira during a formal award ceremony Aug. 31 at
Brazil’s Army headquarters in Brasilia.
Fraser presented the medal on behalf of the President of the United States of
America in recognition of Peixoto’s countless contributions and meritorious service
in support of the international relief efforts that helped save lives and alleviate
human suffering following the devastating earthquake that struck Haiti Jan.
The Legion of Merit was established by an act of Congress in 1942 and is one
of the highest military decorations awarded by the United States to U.S. or foreign
military personnel who distinguish themselves by exceptionally meritorious conduct
in the performance of outstanding services.
The citation accompanying the medal praises Peixoto’s “leadership, dedication
and tireless efforts” as Force Commander of the United Nation’s Stabilization
Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH).
“Major General Floriano Peixoto’s strategic assessment of potentially
volatile situations and adept cooperation with the Haitian Military Police ensured a
stable security situation for the international organizations working to deliver aid
to the Haitian people,” the citation reads.
His inspirational leadership following the tragic collapse of the UN
Stabilization Mission headquarters is also credited in the citation with helping to
ensure the stabilization mission continued despite the catastrophic effects suffered
as a result of the disaster.
Peixoto, and the UN forces he commanded, played a key role during one of the
most historic international relief missions in modern history.
One of the many organizations supported by MINUSTAH was Joint Task
Force-Haiti, established by U.S. Southern Command after the quake to oversee U.S.
military assistance to the historic relief effort.
Peixoto and the commander of JTF-Haiti, Lt. Gen. Ken Keen, have a strong
friendship dating back to their time together more than two decades ago at the
Brazil Airborne Brigade and the Command and General Staff College in Rio de
The pre-existing bond between the two commanders helped expedite the
coordination efforts between JTF-Haiti and MINUSTAH. Because of MINUSTAH’s
important contributions in providing security for the relief efforts, the task force
was able to focus on supporting search and rescue, medical assistance, distribution
of aid and logistical efforts in the immediate aftermath of the
On May 26, Brazilian Deputy Consul General Roberto Parente and Peixoto
recognized Keen with Brazil’s Order of Rio de Branco for his contributions to the
internationally supported relief mission in Haiti during a formal ceremony at the
headquarters of U.S. Southern Command in Miami.