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Gulf War a first step in medical career for NZ Army Major

Major David Foote

Current role: Senior Technical Advisor for Nursing & Allied Health

Length of time in service: 24 years (broken service with 9 year gap 2001-2010)

15 January, 2021

Major David Foote was 21 years old when he deployed to the Gulf as part of the New Zealand Defence Force contingent in 1991.

His was a medic with the Field Surgical Team, 1st NZ Army Medical Team attached to United States Navy Fleet Hospital 6(22), Awali, Bahrain. 

The Nuclear, Biological and Chemical training and threat has stuck in his mind.

“The very first thing we heard as we landed in Bahrain was gas gas gas,” Major Foote recalled.

“Coming from New Zealand a highlight was seeing the sheer scale of the forces build up. It was such a large military campaign with a lot of modern amazing equipment and weaponry on such a massive scale.”

No deployment is without its challenges and this one was no different in that respect. 

Major Foote said being a relatively junior practitioner and junior soldier (he was a lance corporal at the time) while being part of a small contingent in a large hospital was difficult at times.

“Overall being part of this deployment did help my career in the NZ Army. This experience set me on my pathway to continue to develop as a health professional firstly as a Medic and then on to become a Nursing Officer further down the track,” he said.