NZ Defence Force Personnel Receive US Medals
21 September 2012
NZ Defence Force Personnel Receive US Medals for Contribution in Afghanistan
Five New Zealand Defence Force personnel have had their contribution to the NATO-led coalition in Afghanistan recognised with the presentation of United States’ military decorations.
The US Meritorious Service Medal and US Army Commendation Medals were presented by visiting US Defense Secretary, Leon Panetta, at a special ceremony at the Auckland War Memorial Museum this afternoon; following a wreath-laying commemorating the sacrifice of service people from both nations.
The US Meritorious Service Medal was presented to Colonel (COL) (Rtd) Darryl Tracy for his work as Commander of the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team in Bamyan in 2008. COL Tracy received the medal for exceptionally meritorious service, particularly for his excellent leadership, outstanding relationship building, the impressive outputs and achievements of his team.
“COL Tracy’s motivation, unselfishness, and leadership were critical to mission accomplishment and a key to making Bamyan a better and safe province,” his citation reads.
The US Army Commendation Medal was presented to Lieutenant Commander (LT CDR) Karen Bleakley, Lieutenant Colonel (LT COL) James Kaio, Squadron Leader (SQNLDR) Michelle-Ann Thomson, and Captain (CAPT) Jason Tinsley.
LT CDR Bleakley received her medal for exceptionally meritorious service while serving in Afghanistan in 2003 and 2004. Her role involved managing the resources, budgets and facilities for nine Provincial Reconstruction Teams across Afghanistan. LT CDR Bleakley has also received a US Marine Corps Certificate of Commendation for her time in Afghanistan.
LT COL Kaio served as Team Liaison Officer of the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team in Bamyan in 2007 and 2008, and “showed personal courage and commitment to the accomplishment of the mission in a combat zone, under the most extreme circumstances”.
SQNLDR Thomson’s medal was presented for exceptionally meritorious service during her time serving as Team Development Officer of the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team in Bamyan in 2007 and 2008.
CAPT Tinsley served in Afghanistan in 2009 as the Assistant Operations officer of the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team. His citation says his “motivation, initiative, coordination and leadership were critical to the mission”.
Chief of Defence Force Lieutenant General (LTGEN) Rhys Jones said he was proud of the contribution these personnel have made towards New Zealand’s mission in Afghanistan.
“Today NZ Defence Force personnel from New Zealand’s Navy, Army and Air Force have been presented with awards that recognise the important work New Zealanders have been doing in Bamyan,” LTGEN Jones says. “These personnel can all be proud of their medals, and the hard work involved during their deployment making Bamyan a safer province.”