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Taranaki Trio's Tour of Duty

26 October 2005

Taranaki Trio's Tour of Duty

The Taranaki Trio standing on a wall at Kiwi Base. Left to Right: Corporal Paul Dickie (New Plymouth), Signaller Genna Capper (New Plymouth), Sergeant Major of the Army, Warrant Officer Class One John Barclay (Kaponga - temporarily visiting the NZPRT at the time the photograph was taken) and Major Kevin Brophy (Warea).

Three Taranaki locals are currently serving in Afghanistan as part of the Provincial Reconstruction Team (NZPRT).

All are members of the New Zealand Army and are based in the Bamyan Province in Central Afghanistan.

Corporal Paul Dickie from New Plymouth, is an Army electrician for Kiwi Base who regularly goes out on patrol. He is from the 3rd Logistics Regiment located at Burnham Military Camp near Christchurch. An old boy from New Plymouth Boy's High School, Paul joined the Army in 1996. Afghanistan is his second operational mission - he served in East Timor in 2001. Paul says this deployment has been far more enjoyable and rewarding. His highlights include spending two weeks training with the United States Army in refuelling helicopters and antagonising the Aucklanders over their record loss to Genesis Energy Taranaki in the NPC.

Signaller Genna Capper from New Plymouth, is a communications support operator within Kiwi Base who also goes on patrols. She was recently posted to the 3rd Signals Squadron in Burnham, after joining the Army in 2003. This is Genna's first overseas deployment and so far she's been on four patrols to the Kahmard and Yakawlang districts of Bamyan, having greatly enjoyed the experiences.

An old girl of Sacred Heart Girls College, she says working in Afghanistan is an amazing experience and she is glad to be helping the local people. She says her highlights have been meeting Afghanistan's President Karzai and interacting with the children of Bamyan Province, even getting some to dance for her on patrol!

Major Kevin Brophy from Warea, is currently the Padre for the Contingent. Kevin is posted to Linton Military Camp near Palmerston North and as of February next year he is being posted to Waiouru. He fulfils a variety of roles, primarily looking after the spiritual welfare of the contingent soldiers. Kevin also helps teach English to the local children at the Ministry of Women's Affairs in Bamyan City.

He has also been out on patrol to the Kahmard district in the north of Bamyan Province and has met some of the local religious mullahs, which, he says has been an interesting experience. An old boy of Francis Douglas College, Kevin has been working in parishes in the Palmerston North diocese for the last 20 years, before joining the Regular Force Army as a chaplain in September 2005.

Background There are currently 120 New Zealand Defence Force (NZDF) personnel working in the Bamyan Province. NZDF personnel first deployed to the region in 2003.

The Kiwis are known as the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team (NZPRT) and are located in a fortified compound known as Kiwi Base, near Bamyan City, the capital of the province.

Patrols are regularly sent out into the corners of the Kiwi area of operations to the Kahmard, Yakawlang and Panjab/Waras districts of Bamyan. Activities they carry out include training the Afghanistan National Police and Afghanistan National Army, and providing humanitarian aid.


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