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Afghanistan Service Recognised by United States

Hon Phil Goff
Minister of Defence

16 October 2006

Afghanistan Service Recognised by United States

Defence Minister Phil Goff welcomed the awarding of medals today by the United States to 17 members of the New Zealand Defence Force.

"Ten New Zealanders have been awarded the Bronze Star and seven have been awarded the United States Army Commendation Medal in recognition of exemplary service in Afghanistan between 2004 and 2005", said Mr Goff.

"The recipients of these awards served in a wide variety of roles and undertook a range of tasks. Most were acknowledged for their work with the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team in Bamyan but several received awards for work in staff or headquarters roles.

"We are proud of the way our forces have served in Afghanistan and what they have achieved. New Zealanders have contributed to Bamyan becoming one of the most stable, secure and progressive provinces in Afghanistan.

"The special skill of New Zealanders in peacekeeping and security missions has been to work alongside local people and to win their confidence, respect and friendship.

"Recognition of the exemplary service of New Zealanders on operational service by other nations is rare. The recipients of these awards can take justifiable pride in their achievements in a demanding and challenging environment.

"New Zealand and the United States have a significant and long-standing defence relationship. These awards are an acknowledgement by the United States Government of the high value which is placed on the contribution made by New Zealanders to Operation Enduring Freedom.

"Fourteen of the recipients will receive their awards from US Ambassador, William McCormick, in a ceremony at the United States Embassy in Wellington today", said Mr Goff.

The Bronze Star was instituted in 1944 and is awarded for the performance of heroic or meritorious acts. The United States Army Commendation Medal was instituted in 1945 and is awarded for acts of achievement or meritorious service. All the awards made to New Zealanders for service in Afghanistan are for meritorious service.

ENDS

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