Skip to main content

Chief of Defence honoured

Chief of Defence Air Marshal Kevin Short has been awarded the United States’ Legion of Merit for exceptionally meritorious service during his time in the top job.

08 April, 2024

In a ceremony held in Wellington on Saturday (April 06), Air Marshal Short was presented the award by Admiral John Aquilino, commander of the United States Indo-Pacific Command.

The citation refers to Air Marshal Short’s leadership as ‘integral’ to expanding cooperation between the United States and the New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) in the face of growing multi-domain strategic challenges.

“Through his leadership, Air Marshal Short led efforts to bolster the strength of the partnership. His efforts were instrumental in New Zealand’s acquisition of P-8 Poseidon and C-130J Hercules aircraft, driving a generational upgrade of air capability and increasing interoperability.”

20240406 NZDF G1054717 004
20240406 NZDF G1054717 001
20240406 NZDF G1054717 003
20240406 NZDF G1054717 006

Admiral Aquilino said Air Marshal Short had expanded the robust bilateral ties between the US and New Zealand, including increased opportunities for space domain awareness, humanitarian assistance, disaster response and maritime security. 

“Air Marshal Short’s superior effort, outstanding leadership, and personal initiative reflect great credit upon himself, the New Zealand Defence Force, and his country.”

During Air Marshal Short’s time as the Chief of Defence, involvement in multilateral and bi-lateral exercises such as RIMPAC, Cartwheel and Olympic Defender increased, further advancing interoperability. 

Air Marshal Short said he was honoured to be recognised for his role in strengthening the relationship with his US counterparts.

The NZDF enjoys a fantastic relationship with our friends in the United States, built on a foundation of mutual respect and utilising our collective strengths to enhance operations and training.

“I am very honoured to receive this award and acknowledge the team I have behind me conducting the hard mahi to achieve strategic goals.”

Established by an Act of Congress on July 20, 1942, the Legion of Merit is the highest accolade that the US can bestow upon a foreign leader. It is reserved for individuals who have shown exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services.