Lieutenant (LT) Jordy Gale had more than his fair share of close calls in Afghanistan. On 23 May the former Long Bay College student was invested with the Distinguished Service Decoration for his leadership and tactical skills whilst serving in Afghanistan from March to September 2011.
LT Jordy Gale receives his DSD from the Governor General.
LT Gale commanded a patrol which worked in the NZ Defence Force’s Light Armoured Vehicles (LAV). They would regularly patrol through areas known for insurgent activity, always working to keep the province safe. LT Gale’s patrol was attacked by insurgents on two separate occasions during his tour. He says the fact that he and his soldiers left Afghanistan relatively unscathed was due to the team he had and the way his soldiers reacted.
"I was pretty blessed to have the guys I did in my group."
The first attack he experienced was while his patrol moved through the Bamyan Province’s Shikari Valley and his LAV was struck by an improvised explosive device (IED).
"I knew instantly we’d struck an IED as we lurched and there was dust, sand and rocks everywhere. I dropped down from the turret and made sure the guys in the back were OK. I was worried about my two crewmen on the side where the IED had gone off, and I thought my driver had been killed. When he told me he was okay I felt a massive flood of relief."
The insurgents continued their attack with rocket propelled grenades (RPGs), but the Kiwis fought back and the insurgents were forced to withdraw. LT Gale says he was "pretty stoked" with how his soldiers applied their training during the incident.
Two and a half months later he was patrolling in Bamyan’s troubled north-east when he suddenly heard a huge explosion. The rear vehicle in their patrol had narrowly been missed by an IED and again they were subjected to rocket attacks.
"My first thoughts were, ‘here we go again’. It was exactly the same as last time. The RPGs came sailing in and my sergeant turned our LAV turret and unleashed some rounds. We were all OK, and cordoned off the area and did everything we had to do."
On 8 September his patrol was sent to an area to support the local Afghan National Police. Their vehicle had been ambushed and five police officers had been shot dead.
"We had a look at the site and while we were there, one of the soldiers found a ball of rolled up wire and a container of homemade explosive and a firing device hidden and ready to be used." The equipment was for an IED and his patrol had managed to prevent another likely attack.
LT Gale says he felt honoured to receive the Distinguished Service Decoration from the Governor-General, Lieutenant General the Right Honourable Sir Jerry Mateparae, at Government House. He praised his patrol and said the award was as much theirs as it was his.
"We had worked together for two years before deploying and were a pretty tight group. You need to know that when something goes down you can trust each other to do what you are trained to do."
LT Gale is married to Lauren and the two have an 18-month old son. LT Gale is currently a member of the Queen Alexandra’s Mounted Rifles based in Linton Military Camp.