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Congratulations to Defence Force Honours recipients

Hon Ron Mark
Minister of Defence

4 June 2018

Congratulations to Defence Force Honours recipients

Minister of Defence Ron Mark extends his thanks and congratulations to the Defence Force personnel named in the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Honours List.

“Personnel from the Defence Force do great things every day,” says Ron Mark.

“However to receive a Queen’s Honour you have to do something extraordinary and make a real difference to your organisation and for New Zealand.

“This year Squadron Leader Peter Cochran has been made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit, and a Distinguished Service Decoration has been awarded to Captain Gabrielle Gofton.

“Squadron Leader Cochran’s award is for over 40 years of service, during which he has become the Royal New Zealand Air Force’s pre-eminent flight instructor. He has deployed on operations four times, and spent sixteen seasons as a member of the Red Checkers.

“He retired in 2012, only to come back and help with air training as a part-time simulator operator, meaning his vast experience has not been lost to the NZDF.

“Captain Gofton’s operational tour to Sinai saw her facing adversity and a growing threat level. That change in the threat level meant she had to act incredibly quickly to move the Force Headquarters and the New Zealand Contingent to the southern end of the peninsula.

“She achieved this with distinction. Not only did she manage the move of headquarters, accommodation, vehicle facilities, hangars’ security infrastructure, and designed and constructed perimeter fencing; she managed to do it in a sensitive environment which was understaffed and not well equipped. She showed courage and managed a resistant organisation in order to complete the move and keep them safe.

“Having been heavily involved in the setup of the Multinational Force and Observers in Sinai, I know first-hand how huge this task is and I can’t understate how impressed I am by her work.

“Both Squadron Leader Cochran and Captain Gofton deserve these honours and I’m proud that they continue to be part of the New Zealand Defence Force. They truly are a credit to their nation,” says Ron Mark.

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