22 July 2019
A soldier from Tauranga has been recognised by the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) for his outstanding contribution to New Zealand’s training mission in Afghanistan.
Major Bevan Elmiger received recently a Chief of Defence Force Commendation for his role as a key member of a multinational mentoring effort at the Afghan National Army Officer Academy, near Kabul.
The commendations are awarded for performance well above that usually expected of a person performing their role.
The Academy is considered to be the premier tactical-level officer training establishment developing effective junior leaders in the Afghan National Army. It has trained more than 4,200 Afghan Army Officer Cadets since 2013, including 242 female officers.
Major Elmiger’s citation notes that while at the Afghan National Army Officer Academy in 2017 he introduced changes resulting in a noticeable improvement in the standard of instructors and provided a higher level of basic training to the cadets.
He also helped ensure the Academy’s chain of command applied greater rigour to the management of cadets’ performance to increase the quality of students being commissioned.
His hard work encouraging sound record-keeping meant the Commandant of the Academy was able to require additional training of poorly performing cadets, which represented a breakthrough in the mentoring effort at the Academy.
Major Elmiger’s performance throughout his lengthy deployment was described by his superiors as “hugely impressive”, and did much to enhance the reputation of the New Zealand Defence Force.
Major Elmer, who lives now in Wellington but calls Tauranga home, joined the NZDF because he saw the military as a solid career and felt he would be doing something that he would be proud to be a part of.
“I was looking for a challenge and joining the NZDF was something I never thought I would do growing up,” he said.
Among his career highlights are being deployed as part of the first company group to go back to East Timor in 2006 and training with a variety of foreign troops, including Russians, Chinese, Vietnamese and South Koreans, in Pune, India, in 2016.
While happy to be acknowledged, he took receiving the award in his stride.
“I am just proud to serve and appreciate the opportunities that I have to represent my country overseas,” he said.