1 October 2011
Today is a significant day for four NZ Defence Force personnel, who have been awarded Gallantry Awards for their courageous actions while deployed to Afghanistan.
Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General Rhys Jones says the decorations which rank among the highest decorations presented to NZ service men and women, acknowledge the courageous acts shown by these soldiers.
Corporal Albie Moore will be awarded the NZ Gallantry Star for gallantry shown in the IED contact resulting in the unfortunate death of LT Tim O’Donnell. Corporal Matt Ball and Lance Corporal Allister Baker will be awarded the NZ Gallantry Decoration for their actions during the same incident.
Chief of Defence Force, Lieutenant General Rhys Jones says "Our personnel are expected to operate in dangerous and volatile situations, and this incident was no exception. By extricating themselves from a complex attack and recovering vital equipment under fire, these men have demonstrated extreme courage in the face of a determined enemy".
"I am extremely proud of the manner in which they conducted themselves, not only during the contact, but also the way in which they have handled the intense scrutiny since returning to NZ".
Warrant Officer Denis Wanihi is to receive the NZ Gallantry Medal for his work in Afghanistan during 2010, where he was employed in a supervisory role dealing with and responding to Improved Explosive Devices (IED) and Explosive Ordnance Devices (EOD).
Warrant Officer Wanihi is currently deployed to Afghanistan and the Chief of Army, Major General Tim Keating acknowledged the commitment shown by WO2 Wanihi in returning to Afghanistan.
"The fact that Warrant Officer Wanihi has returned to a high threat environment is indicative of the levels of commitment that our soldiers and their families demonstrate, and I am proud that we have such individuals in our organisation".
"Much of the good work our soldiers do is because of the support they receive from their families and colleagues, and it is important that we recognise their efforts in providing that support".
The Gallantry Awards will be presented by the Governor General at a later date.
Find out more about this presentation of the Gallantry Awards.