Lieutenant Ryan Clarke with local children and their pet bird named “Wee Wee”. (WN09-0026-55)
23 July 2009
Onehunga man Lieutenant Ryan Clarke will return to New Zealand this week after four months deployed with the New Zealand Defence Force in the Solomon Islands.
A Platoon Commander, the former Howick College student and Territorial Force soldier has led his 28 soldiers on patrols, liaised with locals, assisted with external security at Rove prison, and worked with the police.
LT Clarke has found this to be similar but also a huge contrast to his day job at home in Auckland, where he owns a Café with 22 staff. He says that his time in with the Regional Assistance Mission in the Solomon Islands has been a real eye opener.
“We have a lot to be proud of in New Zealand, and my experience here has taught me to appreciate the small things in life, not least of all living in peace.”
LT Clarke is a soldier in the 3rd Auckland Northland Battalion of the Territorial Forces, which has brought him the opportunity to be both a civilian and an Army officer.
His deployment to the Solomon Islands has left him with good memories.
“My fondest memories from here will be the time I have spent with the local children, they are a lot of fun and seem so happy and full of enthusiasm for life.”
For further information, please contact Nicole Munro-Johnson, Defence Communications Group on 04 529 6033.
Currently 473 New Zealand Defence Force personnel are deployed on 14 operations, UN missions and defence exercises around the world.