8 November 2013
Chief of Navy Rear Admiral Jack Steer, Leading Hydrographic Survey Technician Matthew Barber, Petty Officer Seaman Combat Specialist Josh Tatana, Able Seaman Combat Specialist Dylan Thomas and Australian Defence Attaché Captain Stephanie Moles.
Three Royal New Zealand Navy sailors have earned the Australian Active Service Medal for their work on pirate patrol in the Gulf of Aden onboard an Australian frigate, the first New Zealand Defence Force personnel to receive this award.
The recipients are Leading Hydrographic Survey Technician Matthew Barber, Petty Officer Seaman Combat Specialist Josh Tatana and Able Seaman Combat Specialist Dylan Thomas.
Their medals were presented yesterday at Devonport Naval Base by the Chief of Navy, Rear Admiral Jack Steer, and Australian Defence Attaché, Captain Stephanie Moles.
The presentation recognises their service embarked in HMAS MELBOURNE in 2012 supporting the Combined Maritime Force operations in the Gulf of Aden. The three sailors were part of the ship’s boat crew, performing duties such as seaboat coxswain and boarding operations.
The awarding of the Australian Active Service Medal (AASM) with the International Coalition Against Terrorism (ICAT) clasp recognises the significant and longstanding defence relationship between New Zealand and Australia, said Rear Admiral Steer.
“Our Navy people regularly work closely with the services of other countries. I am proud of these sailors and their efforts serving alongside their Australian shipmates. The opportunity to wear an Australian medal offers a unique means of recognising their service.”
Captain Moles said: “The offer of the AASM and ICAT clasp to three Royal New Zealand Navy sailors is an acknowledgment by the Australian Government of the high value placed on the contribution made by NZ Defence Force personnel to the Australian Defence Force.”
“These NZDF personnel receiving these awards are special. They are the first recipients of this Australian award in the New Zealand Defence Force.”
Leading Hydrographic Survey Technician Matthew Barber said it was an honour to wear both the New Zealand and Australian medals. “Hydrographers don’t get many opportunities to deploy that far afield.”
The RNZN and Royal Australian Navy conduct regular exchanges of personnel for training and operational deployments.
Three more RNZN sailors are presently deployed onboard HMAS MELBOURNE supporting Combined Maritime Force operations in the Gulf of Aden.
For more information, contact Defence Communications Group on 021 487 980.