8 August 2012
Comrades farewell LCPL Durrer and LCPL Malone during a Ramp Ceremony at Bagram Air Base.
Fallen soldiers Lance Corporal (LCPL) Pralli Durrer and Lance Corporal Rory Malone were farewelled with a Ramp Ceremony at Bagram Air Base on 6 August.
A Ramp Ceremony is a memorial service held when the caskets of service people are embarked and disembarked from a military aircraft. It provides an opportunity for a final salute to be given by the deceased’s military colleagues as a sign of respect.
LCPL Durrer and LCPL Malone are being escorted by comrades from the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team (PRT) in Afghanistan on a United States Air Force C-17 back to New Zealand.
The contingent held a Ramp Ceremony to farewell their two comrades, and performed a send-off haka, led by Regimental Sergeant Major (RSM), Warrant Officer Class One (WO1) Ray Kareko. Senior Military Advisor to the PRT, Lieutenant Colonel (LT COL) Pete Hall concluded the ceremony with a farewell.
LT COL Pete Hall said, "It was a moving ceremony attended by many International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) nations and heavily supported and attended by American personnel. I received many sincere expressions of support from all nations as they expressed their sadness at the loss of Pralli and Rory. Pralli and Rory were farewelled with a rousing haka led by the RSM.
"The Ramp Ceremony provided a solemn send off to our mates and we remembered that they had fought courageously and acted bravely. I reminded those of us gathered around the caskets as we bade our final farewells, of the words of Pericles from almost two and a half thousand years ago when he said of the dead Athenian warriors: ‘Take these men for your example. Like them, remember that prosperity is for free, and that freedom is the sure possession only of those who have the courage to defend it.’
"The contingent members that are left behind know that Pralli and Rory fought with courage to protect their mates, they fought with courage to protect the National Directorate of Security (NDS) and they fought with courage to defend the freedom of Afghanistan.
"Our thoughts and prayers now turn to the families back in New Zealand and those travelling there to be with Pralli and Rory."
In keeping with a newer military tradition, commemorative coins from New Zealand and coalition partner units were placed on the caskets of both LCPL Durrer and LCPL Malone in another show of respect.
LCPL Durrer and LCPL Malone are due to arrive back in New Zealand late on Thursday.
Media please note: The families of LCPL Durrer and LCPL Malone have asked for privacy at this time. Media will not be invited to attend the ramp ceremony.
A further media release will be issued with photographs and video to media following the ramp ceremony in New Zealand. We expect this to be sent to you by midnight Thursday 9 August.
Funeral details are currently being arranged and will be advised at a later stage.
For further information please contact Defence Communications Group on 021 487 980