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Major John McNutt To Come Home Later This Week

NEW ZEALAND DEFENCE FORCE
TE OPE KAATUA O AOTEAROA

March 14, 2001.

MEDIA STATEMENT

The body of New Zealand soldier, acting Major John McNutt, killed in a close air support night bombing exercise in Kuwait, is to be flown home by the United States military possibly to Christchurch later this week, New Zealand Defence Force Chief of Operations, Brigadier Clive Lilley, said today.

Brigadier Lilley said the United States military was intending to transport the body of the 27-year-old New Zealand officer, along with the five other US service personnel killed, to its European forward air base at Ramstein in Germany which has medical facilities not available in Kuwait. This is expected to happen later today.

“Our New Zealand defence representative in London, Brigadier Rick Ottaway will meet John who will be conveyed by US pallbearers in a coffin draped with the New Zealand flag and Army lemon squeezer.

“The United States will carry out a fallen soldier ceremonial mark of respect for the New Zealander.

“After official arrangements have been finalised, John will then be joined on the last leg home to New Zealand accompanied by a fellow New Zealand officer and US military pallbearers.

“Once on the ground here, the casket will be transferred from US to New Zealand pallbearers to be ferried to Burnham where the funeral service will be held.”

Brigadier Lilley said the New Zealand officer, Colonel Richard Cassidy, who will be an observer for the inquiry into the fatality, flew out this morning for Kuwait where he will join the investigation team.

Colonel Cassidy is a graduate with a Masters Degree in Defence Studies from United States Marine Corp Staff College in Quantico in Virginia.

The timings of travel and other arrangements are still being finalised and are expected to be available later today.


ENDS

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