NZSAS Soldier Posthumously Recognised for Bravery

3 July 2012

Darrell Smith receives the Charles Upham Award for Bravery from the Governor-General on behalf of the Smith family.

The Charles Upham Award for Bravery was posthumously awarded to Lance Corporal (LCPL) Leon Smith at a ceremony at Government House today.

LCPL Smith has been recognised for his actions as part of a NZSAS Task Force that responded to an insurgent attack on the British Council Office in Kabul on 19 August 2011.

During the response LCPL Smith exposed himself to insurgent fire in order to confirm the location of Corporal (CPL) Doug Grant, who had been wounded. He then ran across open ground to reach CPL Grant, and immediately applied first aid until CPL Grant could be evacuated. Despite his best efforts and those of medics at the scene, CPL Grant died on route to hospital.

Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General (LTGEN) Rhys Jones said LCPL Smith’s family should be extremely proud of his actions that led to the award.

"Tragically LCPL Smith was also killed serving in Afghanistan, however his actions during this particular incident epitomised the values of comradeship, courage and professional integrity.

"His family can take some comfort from knowing that he was a valued member of the NZ Defence Force and that his outstanding bravery has subsequently been recognised," LTGEN Jones said.

LCPL Smith was tragically killed in action Kabul, Afghanistan on 28 September 2011, while securing a compound during a joint Afghan Crisis Response Unit / NZ SAS operation.

LCPL Smith’s brother Darrell received the award from the Governor-General, Lt Gen The Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, on behalf of the Smith family.


This page was last reviewed on 4 July 2012.