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Cadet Paul William McComb Benner SC

Star of Courage awarded posthumously to Cadet

Vancouver youth has become the first cadet to win the Star of Courage after sacrificing his life to save his girlfriend from an oncoming train.

Paul McComb Benner, who was Cadet Regimental Sergeant Major of 2472 15th Field Artillery Regiment Cadet Corps in Vancouver, was posthumously awarded the medal on February 11, 1998. According to Therese Rochefort at Government House, McComb Benner is the only cadet ever to win this medal.

On November 21, 1996 , McComb Benner and his girlfriend were taking a shortcut along railway tracks. Although they thought they would hear an approaching train, it was too late by the time they heard the whistle blowing of an oncoming locomotive.

McComb Benner reacted immediately by pushing the young woman out of harm's way; however, he was not able to get clear of the train. He was 17.

Roy Rigby-Jones, Vice-President of the British Columbia branch of the Army Cadet League of Canada , called McComb Benner "an amazing young lad of great dedication." Even after he moved to a neighbourhood that made getting to his Cadet Corps difficult, McComb Benner did not quit or change Corps. "He used to travel two hours by bus to get to Cadets," said Mr. Rigby-Jones.

The Star of Courage, created in 1972, is awarded "for acts of conspicuous courage in circumstances of great peril

Paul trained at VACC as cadet in 1992-94. In his memory, his cadet corps, 2472 15th Field Artillery Regiment Cadet Corps, has established the Paul Benner Memorial Trophy which is now presented annually to a cadet who exemplifies a high standard of honesty, loyalty, and perseverance.