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NZSAS to Wear Presidential Award

New Zealand Special Air Service (NZSAS) to Wear Presidential Award

Lieutenant Colonel
(Lt Col) Peter Kelly, Commanding Officer 1st NZSAS Group,
receives the US Navy Presidential Unit Citation from
President George. W. Bush
Click to enlarge

Accepting the citation: “Lieutenant Colonel (Lt Col) Peter Kelly, Commanding Officer 1st NZSAS Group, receives the US Navy Presidential Unit Citation from President George. W. Bush.”

The ribbon to be
worn by 1st NZSAS group members
Ribbon: “The ribbon to be worn by 1st NZSAS group members.”

New Zealand Defence Force
Te Ope Kaatua O Aotearoa

Media Release

8 June 2005

New Zealand Special Air Service (NZSAS) to Wear Presidential Award

The 1st New Zealand Special Air Service (NZSAS) Group has received advice from Her Majesty The Queen that a US Navy Presidential Unit Citation (USNPUC) presented for service in Afghanistan has been approved for acceptance and wear.

The Citation was presented by President George. W. Bush in December 2004 in recognition of the NZSAS service with the Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force (CJSOTF) in Afghanistan over the period December 2001 to May 2002.

Members of the NZSAS who served with the CJSOTF are now able to wear the ribbon of the United States Navy Presidential Unit Citation on their uniforms. Other members of the NZSAS who were not in Afghanistan during the period specified will also be allowed to wear the ribbon while serving with the Unit.

On 7 December 2004 Lieutenant Colonel Peter Kelly, as the Commanding Officer, represented the members of the 1st NZSAS Group when he received the Citation from the US President at Miramar Air Base, California.

The Citation was awarded for “extraordinary heroism and outstanding performance of duty in action against the enemy in Afghanistan from 17 October 2001 to 30 March 2002”. The Citation notes that those awarded “established benchmark standards of professionalism, tenacity, courage, tactical brilliance, and operational brilliance, and operational excellence while demonstrating superb esprit de corps and maintaining the highest measures of combat readiness”.

The award is made in recognition of the highly professional contribution the New Zealand Defence Force made to the stabilisation effort in Afghanistan.

Any honour or award presented to New Zealand Defence Force members from a non-commonwealth country must receive formal approval from The Queen before it can be accepted and worn.


The 1st NZSAS Group has undertaken operations in Afghanistan on three separate deployments: December 2001 to December 2002, March to October 2004 and June to November 2005.

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