Christopher Bilodeau, a Special Agent with the U.S. Department of State Diplomatic Security Service (DSS) and a former resident and police officer from Deerfield, Massachusetts, has received the Award for Heroism from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton for his courageous actions during a terrorist attack on a motorcade in Peshawar, Pakistan—one of the most dangerous high-threat cities in the world.
The U.S. Department of State Heroism Award recognizes acts of courage or outstanding performance under unusually difficult or dangerous circumstances by employees of the U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Agency for International Development, and Marine Security Guards who are assigned to diplomatic and consular facilities.
Special Agent Bilodeau received the award for his actions while serving a yearlong assignment in the city of Peshawar, Pakistan. Peshawar sits on the edge of Pakistan’s tribal areas, which, in recent years, has been the site of numerous terrorist attacks. In May 2011, Bilodeau was driving in a motorcade traveling through Peshawar when a Vehicle Borne Improvised Explosive Device (VBIED) exploded a few feet from the vehicle directly in front of him—severely damaging it. Bilodeau and three other Diplomatic Security Special Agents immediately exited the safety of their armored car and went to the aid of two other Special Agents who were trapped inside the heavily damaged and burning vehicle. After gaining access and moving the injured agents to his vehicle, Bilodeau, who is also a paramedic, assessed the injuries of the agents to be not life threatening and, leaving the bombed out car behind, helped all agents return to a secure location. For those actions Special Agent Bilodeau and the other three DSS Special Agents were recognized by the Secretary of State with the U.S. Department of State Award for Heroism.
“All four of the DS Special Agents performed masterfully in one of the most significant terrorist attacks against Foreign Service personnel in recent years,” said Bill Miller, Deputy Assistant Secretary for High Threat Posts, Bureau of Diplomatic Security. “They were instrumental in coordinating the movements of the security team during the crisis as well as executing the proper response. The agents’ actions reflect not only their laudable physical courage, but also the highest traditions of the Diplomatic Security Service.”
“I am humbled to be recognized for what happened that day,” said Bilodeau. “We had to take care of each other; that was our job and that’s what we did.”
Bilodeau, son of the late Doris Bilodeau, attorney, and Douglas Bilodeau, owner of Douglas Auctioneers in South Deerfield, spent most of his early life in Western Massachusetts. He graduated from Frontier Regional School, attended Greenfield Community College, and received a Bachelor of Science degree from Western New England College. He has made his life’s work in public safety, serving as a volunteer fire fighter and paramedic for Deerfield and South Deerfield as well as working full time in Springfield as a paramedic and in Agawam as a fulltime firefighter before becoming a Deerfield police officer.
Bilodeau left the Deerfield Police Department in 2008 to become a U.S. Department of State Special Agent with the Bureau of Diplomatic Security, Diplomatic Security Service. DSS Special Agents are assigned a variety of duties in the United States and overseas—including criminal investigations, dignitary and VIP protection, and security of U.S. Diplomatic Missions. In addition to Peshawar, Pakistan, Bilodeau has served in the DS Boston Field Office and is currently assigned to the Bureau of Diplomatic Security headquarters office in the Washington, D.C., area.
The Bureau of Diplomatic Security is the U.S. Department of State's law enforcement and security arm. The special agents, engineers, and security professionals of the Bureau are responsible for the security of more than 280 diplomatic missions around the world. In the United States, Diplomatic Security personnel protect the U.S. Secretary of State and high-ranking foreign dignitaries and officials visiting the United States, investigate passport and visa fraud, and conduct personnel security investigations. For additional information about the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security, visit www.state.gov/m/ds.
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