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Defence Force recognises personnel going the extra yard at home and abroad

Chief of Defence Force (CDF), Air Marshal Kevin Short, has this month awarded three Defence Meritorious Service Medals (DMSM) and 12 CDF Commendations.

10 April, 2024

New Zealand Defence Force personnel have been recognised for their exceptional service at home and around the world - responding to Cyclone Gabrielle, supporting Ukraine’s response to Russia’s invasion and performing their duties in some of the world’s hotspots.

The awards were a chance to recognise NZDF people “who have gone above and beyond what is normally asked of them,” he said.

International Awards:

Corporal Alexander Davies

Manawatū’s Corporal Alexander Davies, 33, was awarded a DMSM for his work during one of the first NZDF deployments to the United Kingdom in support of Ukraine in 2022, when an artillery training team instructed Ukrainians on using the 105mm L119 Light Gun.

The team was deployed at short notice, and on arriving in the UK found the donated L119s, were in a very poor state.

“They weren’t ready to be trained with,” Corporal Davies said. “They weren’t ready to be moved on the road and the recoil systems weren’t ready either.”

Getting the weapons up to scratch involved a lot of work, and he skipped breaks, but he was helped by members of the British Army and also his unit.

Corporal Davies was able to identify creative solutions through the cannibalising of donated weapons to assemble serviceable weapons and create a pool of spare parts.

He conducted extensive maintenance and repair of 36 of the 42 guns, a significant task for a single armourer. He initially worked alone without a workshop and with few resources.

Corporal Davies also provided weapon maintenance and repair training to the Ukrainians, and taught them how to conduct safety pre-firing checks prior to live firing.

“It was worthwhile. If I had the chance to do it again I would.”

Captain Joel Ebbing

NZDF staff also working in other Ukraine support operations have also been recognised. Captain Joel Ebbing earned a CDF Commendation for his work as part of the International Donor Coordination Centre (IDCC). Captain Ebbing commanded the centre’s mobile team, which travelled around Europe to assess military donations and determine how these could be transported to Ukraine.

His ‘can do’ attitude and strong work ethic were singled out as he deployed to five different countries dealing with a growing range of loads from small arms and artillery ammunition, to vehicles and artillery.

Major David Pos

Major David Pos also earned a CDF Commendation for his role in the IDCC where he was responsible for forecasting and planning the deliveries of aid to Ukraine through a number of logistic nodes in Europe.

He project managed the integration of a complex battlefield radar system, major donations of artillery, helicopters and armoured vehicles.

Major Laura North

In other theatres, Major Laura North earned a CDF Commendation for service to the Headquarters United Nations Command (UNC) in the Republic of Korea.

She led multiple major planning efforts and was the driving force for the planning and execution of UNC’s first Women’s and Peace Symposium.

Major Samantha Scott

Major Samantha Scott earned a CDF Commendation for her part in New Zealand’s contribution to the United Nations Mission in South Sudan - an extremely challenging and frustrating environment in which to operate. At one stage, Major Scott helped to coordinate the release of a Rwandan helicopter crew who were illegally detained by South Sudanese Forces.

Multinational Force and Observers:

Four CDF commendations were awarded to personnel associated with deployments to the NZDF’s contribution to the Multinational Force and Observers established ensuring compliance with the terms of the 1979 treaty of peace between Egypt and Israel.

There were incidents during rotations in the Sinai that could have led to reputational risks for the NZDF and Major Mickayla Kerr, Major Marc Mackie, Captain Catherine Hayward and Navy’s Petty Officer Writer Victoria Amosa were singled out for their work.

Major Mickayla Kerr

Major Kerr was required to investigate a serious incident within the contingent and was commended for following her assessment through.

Major Marc Mackie

Major Mackie, on arrival to the Sinai, immediately set out to ensure that the established code of conduct was adhered to and resisted pressure to relax standards. He “demonstrated the moral courage and integrity to do what was right under personal pressure and continued to provide leadership and commitment”.

Captain Catherine Hayward

Captain Hayward was commended for her professionalism after she witnessed and reported inappropriate behavior, and provided consistent testimony at subsequent disciplinary hearings.

Petty Officer Writer Victoria Amosa

Petty Officer Writer Amosa dealt with a number of adverse situations where members of her contingent needed support and she “demonstrated a high calibre of military professionalism and outstanding behaviour over the period of her deployment”.

Domestic Awards:

DMSMs and CDF Awards were also given to domestically based staff.

Lieutenant Colonel Nigel Cliffe

Lieutenant Colonel Nigel Cliffe was awarded a DMSM for his work with the New Zealand Intelligence Corp, both internationally and domestically, since 1993. 

Peter Hanrahan

Peter Hanrahan, Director of the Programme Management Office in the Capability Branch of Headquarters, was awarded a DMSM for his stewardship of the capability system, which has helped ensure the success of billions of dollars’ worth of capability projects.

Staff Sergeant David James Forbe and Corporal Storm Harrison

Staff Sergeant David James Forbes and Corporal Storm Harrison earned CDF Commendations for their efforts responding to Cyclone Gabrielle when it hit Hawke’s Bay, which included helping rescue 15 people stranded in their vehicles in flood waters in the Esk Valley.

Group Captain Andrew Gallagher

Group Captain Andrew Gallagher earned a CDF Commendation for his work with the Air Surveillance Maritime Patrol (ASMP) project which brought in the Boeing P-8A Poseidon fleet.

Corporal Brooke Glover

Corporal Brooke Glover earned a CDF Commendation for her exceptional work based at Joint Forces during Covid-19 restrictions, as the mission desk officer supporting personnel deployed overseas.