Dunedin Soldier deploys to East Timor
Trooper Andrew Butt (29) joined the New Zealand Army to travel and that’s exactly what he’s done. After leaving Otago Boys High School in Dunedin he spent a few years working in retail then decided to join the Queen Alexandra’s Mounted Rifles Regiment in 1995 and has never looked back. Andrew says, the reason he joined was to travel and be part of a United Nations peacekeeping mission one day.
Arriving in East Timor on 23rd May Andrew is now part of an Armoured Personnel Carrier Detachment with the 2/1st Battalion Group based in Suai for 6 months. His responsibilities include routine maintenance of the vehicles and taking part in patrols of the local area. The later is to assist with securing the villages so that the locals can return to their normal routines. With the heavy flooding in the villages many roads are impassable, but wherever we go the locals coming running out of their houses to wave to us. It’s amazing as they have very little belongings and are so happy, says Andrew.
This is his third UN mission with the New Zealand Army having served in Bosnia on two previous occasions. Andrew said, being in East Timor is so different, as we don’t have the problem of looking for land mines like we did in Bosnia and the locals are so friendly.
When not out on patrol he is working towards his qualification for promotion to Lance Corporal. A Junior Leadership Program is being taught in East Timor for all eligible soldiers by the training unit.
Most of his family are resident in the South Island, however, he is particularly close to his Grandmother, Hazel Butt, of Timaru. He said, she is naturally worried about me being in East Timor as her brothers were both involved in World War II.