Russian Federation Navy Admiral Receives Legion of Merit

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Aug. 24, 2007) – During a public ceremony on board the Washington Navy Yard, U. S. Navy Chief of Naval Operations Michael Mullen, on behalf of the President of the United States, awarded the Legion of Merit to Fleet Admiral Vladimir Vasilyevich (Masorin), Commander in Chief Russian Federation Navy.

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Cmdr. Chris Higginbotham, commanding officer of U.S. Navy Ceremonial Guard, escorts Adm. Vladimir Masorin, commander in chief of the Russian Navy, as he reviews the ceremonial guard during a full honors welcoming ceremony at Washington Navy Yard’s Leutze Park. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley

The President bestowed the Legion of Merit in recognition of Fleet Admiral Masorin’s exceptionally meritorious service from Sept., 2005 – Aug., 2007. The presentation highlighted Masorin’s energy and vision for increasing cooperation and interoperability with the U.S. Navy and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Under Masorin’s leadership, the Russian Federation Navy participated in Active Endeavor, a NATO maritime counterterrorism operation in the Mediterranean Sea. He consistently advocated continued Russian participation in the joint and combined military exercises including BALTOPS, Northern Eagle FRUKUS and Pacific Eagle.

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Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Mullen introduces Adm. Vladimir Masorin, commander in chief of the Russian Navy, to Vice Adm. Mark Fitzgerald, Director of Navy Staff, after a full honors ceremony for Masorin at Washington Navy Yard’s Leutze Park. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley

With a keen appreciation for the importance and understanding Fleet Admiral Masorin has been a strong proponent of an expanding program for reciprocal port visits in the US and Russia. In 2006, five U.S. Navy ships visited four Russian ports and Three Russian ships made successful visits to Guam. Ensuring closer bi-lateral cooperation between both countries naval leaderships and naval staffs, his efforts were pivotal to a growing partnership.

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Adm. Vladimir Masorin, commander in chief of the Russian Navy, is introduced to members of the Chief of Naval Operations staff after a full honors ceremony for Masorin at Washington Navy Yard’s Leutze Park. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley

The Legion of Merit was created during World War II as an outstanding service award for Allied and foreign military and civilian personnel. The inspiration for the award was France’s Legion of Honor, which had been created by Napoleon Bonaparte in 1802.

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Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Mullen presents Adm. Vladimir Masorin, commander in chief of the Russian Navy, with a commemorative plaque at the conclusion of an office call at the Pentagon. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley

The new decoration was established with four degrees. The highest grade of Chief Commander was for chiefs of state, and military and naval commanders in chief of large armed forces. The degree of Commander was reserved for general officers and admirals. The “Officer” Legion of Merit was an award for officers of field rank. Finally, the lowest degree, Legionnaire, was for officers below field rank and enlisted personnel.
On May 26, 1943, the War and Navy Departments sent a letter to Roosevelt recommending that the Legion of Merit be awarded in only in the lowest grade of Legionnaire to Americans. The president agreed, and the policy continues to this day: foreign recipients may be awarded any of the four degrees; Americans only the lowest.

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Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Mullen presents Adm. Vladimir Masorin, commander in chief of the Russian Navy, with the Legion of Merit during a full honors ceremony at Washington Navy Yard’s Leutze Park. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley

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Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Mullen, Vice Adm. John G. Morgan Jr., Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information, Plans and Strategy, and Adm. Vladimir Masorin, commander in chief of the Russian Navy, participate in the full honors welcoming ceremony for Masorin at Washington Navy Yard’s Leutze Park. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley

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Vice Adm. John G. Morgan Jr., Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Information, Plans and Strategy, Adm. Vladimir Masorin, commander in chief of the Russian Navy, and Chief of Naval Operations Adm. Mike Mullen arrive for the full honors welcoming ceremony for Masorin at Washington Navy Yard’s Leutze Park. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Chad J. McNeeley

For a detailed story of the Legion of Merit medal, CLICK HERE.

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