Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Thank you, America...

... for recognising that our armed services are worthy allies.

Members of the New Zealand Defence Force received a rare honour from the United States as they were presented with medals for service during Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan.

Seven members from the army, airforce and navy were awarded with the Army Commendation Medal, and 10 were awarded the prestigious Bronze Star.
During the ceremony at the United Stated Embassy in Wellington this afternoon Ambassador William McCormick praised the New Zealand soldiers' ability to establish friendships with the Afghan people.

"I am reminded of the words of Abraham Lincoln when he said 'I destroy my enemies when I make them my friends'."

Defence Minister Phil Goff said it was only the second time in about 30 years that New Zealand defence personnel had been presented with medals from the United States -- the first occasion was in 2004 when medals were awarded to members of the SAS at the White House.

"The recipients of these awards served in a wide variety of roles and undertook a range of tasks. Most were acknowledged for their work with the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team in Bamyan but several received awards for work in staff or headquarter roles."

New Zealanders had contributed to Bamyan becoming one of the most stable, secure and progressive provinces in Afghanistan, Mr Goff said.

Awards were to -
Bronze Star -
Major Marcus Linehan - Army
Warrant Officer Class Two Dugald Brown - army;
Staff Sergeant Kevin Cowsill - army;
Major Roger Earp, - army;
Commander James Gleeson - navy;
Lieutenant Colonel Michael Hickman,- army;
Air Commodore Gavin Howse - air force;
Major Mark Taylor - army.

Army Commendation Medal -
Group Captain John Duxfield - airforce;
Warrant Officer Class Two Michael Hadfield - army;
Chief Petty Officer Stephan Lock - navy;
Lieutenant William Petersen - army;
Captain Dean Rennie - army;
Major Andrew Shaw - army.

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