15 November 2011
The service of New Zealand Defence Force personnel serving in Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom was recognised today in a special United States medal presentation in Wellington.
US Marine Corps Major General Peter Talleri presented a Bronze Star, nine Meritorious Service medals and 15 Army Commendation medals to 25 NZ Defence Force personnel.
At the presentation Major General Talleri said, "The accomplishments of your Defence Force in Bamyan Province, Afghanistan are quite impressive. I’ve had the opportunity to read some of your award citations that you will be presented with today and I am truly humbled by the selfless acts and sacrifices that you have accomplished."
Among the recipients were 11 NZ Defence Force personnel who served with the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team (NZPRT) in Bamyan Province, Afghanistan.
Group Captain Greg Elliott and Air Commodore Steve Moore who served as Commanders of the NZPRT in 2009 and 2006 respectively were both awarded the Meritorious Service Medal. Both men were recognised for their outstanding leadership, dedication, and the numerous accomplishments of their PRT teams.
Captain Stuart Beckman was awarded the Army Commendation Medal. His citation states that he demonstrated exceptional courage and bravery while conducting and supervising counter Improvised Explosive Device operations in a high threat environment under constant danger.
Among the recipients were also personnel who served as part of the National Support Element in Bagram, and personnel attached to the coalition training team for the Afghan National Army as well as NZ Policemen who are also Territorials, Major Grant Arrowsmith and Warrant Officer Colin Murphy, who were awarded the Army Commendation Medal for their work in Afghanistan in 2009.
Special permission had to be granted by the Governor-General for the defence personnel to wear the US medals on their uniform.
This is the second time US medals have been awarded to NZ Defence Force personnel since Vietnam. The first was in 2006 when US Ambassador William McCormick presented the United States Bronze Star Medal to ten NZ Defence Force personnel and the United States Army Commendation Medal to seven NZ Defence Force personnel at a ceremony held at the American Embassy.
Further US Award presentations will be made to a number of recipients who were not able to attend the presentation today who are either serving in Afghanistan, Timor Leste or at sea on duty.
For further information please contact Ally Clelland, Defence Communications Group 021 569 130