Gallantry awards being presented today highlight the courage and professionalism of New Zealand forces serving in Afghanistan, Defence Minister Wayne Mapp said today.
“The three New Zealand soldiers have shown the highest level of bravery in the face of danger,” said Dr Mapp.
The three men were in a vehicle patrol attacked by insurgents in Afghanistan in August 2010. Lieutenant Tim O’Donnell was killed in the attack.
“Corporal Albert Moore, Lance Corporal Allister Baker and Corporal Matthew Ball acted quickly and decisively to prevent any further loss of life.”
The New Zealand gallantry awards were introduced in 1999. There are four levels of award – the Victoria Cross for New Zealand, the New Zealand Gallantry Star, the New Zealand Gallantry Decoration, and the New Zealand Gallantry Medal.
“These are the highest honours for New Zealand service personnel,” said Dr Mapp. “All New Zealanders can be proud of these three soldiers.”
These four awards replaced some 20 British medals. The Gallantry Star – being awarded today to Corporal Albert Moore – replaced the Distinguished Service Order, the Distinguished Conduct Medal, and the Conspicuous Gallantry Medals (naval and flying).
The Gallantry Decoration – being awarded to Lance Corporal Allister Baker and Corporal Matthew Ball – replaced the Military Cross and the Military Medal for the Army, and similar level decorations for the other services.