22 July 2019
Trentham man Alan Inkpen has been recognised by the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) for his outstanding contribution to the NZDF’s Explosive Detection Dog programme.
Mr Inkpen has received a Chief of Defence Force Commendation, which are awarded for performance well above that usually expected of a person performing their role.
Mr Inkpen joined the NZDF in July 2012, bringing with him vast experience as a former Warrant Officer in the British Army as he introduced an Explosive Detection Dog capability to meet an urgent operational need in Afghanistan.
In late 2012 he deployed to Bamyan Province to conduct in-theatre training and certification of the dogs and their handlers under significant operational pressure. This enabled the task group to field an important addition to its force protection resources at a critical time.
His citation noted that over the following years he has become the NZDF’s Military Working Dog subject matter expert and has been pivotal in developing and managing this capability in New Zealand.
“He has worked tirelessly to develop the interim Explosive Detection Dog capability at 2nd Engineer Regiment and in 2013 supported the deployment of teams to the Solomon Islands to assist with clearance of explosive devices left over from the Second World War,” the citation said.
“He has also played a major role in enabling Special Operations Command to develop their own Military Working Dog capability to support Special Forces operations.
“He has built solid working relationships with New Zealand Customs, Ministry for Primary Industries, and the Aviation Security Service. Of particular importance is the relationship that has given the NZDF access to the New Zealand Police dog breeding programme and their training facilities at Trentham.”
Mr Inkpen, who is currently working for the Land Combat Capability Working Group at Trentham as the NZDF Military Working Dog Capability Manager, said the award made him feel very humble.
“I would say I was just doing my job,” he said. “However, I believe it helps to recognise the importance of the work that has been conducted on behalf of NZDF by all the people who have been involved.”
Mr Inkpen, who lived most of his life in Melton Mowbray in England, joined the NZDF because he felt that with his United Kingdom military experience he would be able to help develop and enhance the use of Military Working Dogs by the New Zealand Army.
“It has been enormously satisfying getting the Explosive Detection Dog programme from an urgent operational requirement to an endorsed capability,” he said.
“I have also enjoyed working with excellent, professional, passionate and likeminded personnel as to how Military Working Dogs can enhance the New Zealand Army’s outputs.”