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Presentation Of New Operational Service Medal

11 June 2002

Prime Minister Helen Clark and Minister of Defence Mark Burton will today make the inaugural presentation of the New Zealand Operational Service Medal at a function in Parliament.

Last year, Helen Clark and Mark Burton announced a range of measures to improve medallic recognition for those who had served New Zealand in military operations over the past sixty years. At the centre of these initiatives has been the creation of the Operational Service Medal. The NZOSM is to be awarded to New Zealand personnel who served our country in operations since 1945.

Mark Burton said the NZOSM meets a long-standing need for distinctive New Zealand recognition of operation service.

"Most veterans of operational service have received specific campaign medals. However, many of these campaign medals have been Commonwealth or international awards and recognition for our veterans has therefore lacked a distinctly New Zealand element.

"The New Zealand Operational Service Medal is a statement of service to New Zealand, while campaign medals are recognition of where that service was given," Mark Burton said.

Sixteen recipients have been selected to receive the medal at tonight's special presentation, representing a range of campaigns and operations from the post WW2 occupation of Japan, through conflicts in Korea, Malaysia, Vietnam and the Gulf War, to more recent peacekeeping operations.

"The first four presentations are to the next of kin of four servicemen who lost their lives in Korea or Vietnam. This is particularly fitting, as families of those who have died have not always received the appropriate recognition," Mark Burton said.

Ends

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