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Special Honours List 1 October 2011 (Gallantry Awards)

Special Honours List – 1 October 2011

 

NEW ZEALAND GALLANTRY AWARDS

The Queen has been pleased to approve the following New Zealand Gallantry Awards:

 

NEW ZEALAND GALLANTRY STAR (NZGS)

To receive the New Zealand Gallantry Star:

 

Corporal Albert Henry MOORE (B10112323)

Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment

Citation

Corporal Moore was the commander of the rear vehicle of a New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team patrol when it was ambushed by insurgent forces near the town of Chartok in Bamyan Province Afghanistan on 3 August 2010.  The insurgents set off an improvised explosive device, which immobilised the lead vehicle and then began firing at all four vehicles with small arms fire and shoulder launched rockets, in an engagement that was to continue for some 35 minutes.  Corporal Moore immediately ordered his vehicle to pull back in order to establish a firm base from which to support the patrol’s withdrawal.  This was done in the vicinity of a nearby house.  He then coordinated suppressing fire to support the rearwards move of the surviving two vehicles.  One of these was able to reach the base, but the other was immobilised by small arms fire some 30 metres away.  Despite this, all members of the patrol, except those in the lead vehicle, were now consolidated in one location.  It was apparent however that the patrol’s position was exposed and that they were both under observation and subject to direct fire from enemy positions on surrounding high ground.  Recognising the need for air support and to communicate with higher command, Corporal Moore remounted his vehicle and, under continuous fire from the enemy, drove forward 30 metres to the immobilised vehicle to recover communications equipment.  Still under direct fire, he made two further trips to the immobilised vehicle.  The first was to collect a general purpose machine gun and the second to pick up extra ammunition.  At one stage during these actions, as he mounted and dismounted from his vehicle, he was struck on the shoulder by shrapnel from an enemy rocket.

It was during this time that the two surviving members of the lead vehicle made radio contact to advise that they were wounded, their patrol commander had been killed and that they were pinned down by enemy fire in a dry creek bed near to where their vehicle had been immobilised.  After receiving approval from the officer who had assumed command, Corporal Moore remounted his vehicle a fourth time and went forward 350 metres to where the lead vehicle was located.  Throughout this move he coordinated suppressing fire on to the high ground from his vehicle and established communications with the wounded soldiers.  On arrival he positioned his vehicle between the enemy and the soldiers so that they could safely mount the vehicle.  He then took them back to the patrol’s base for medical treatment.

 

NEW ZEALAND GALLANTRY DECORATION (NZGD)

To receive the New Zealand Gallantry Decoration:

 

Lance Corporal Allister Donald BAKER (Q1018707)

Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment

Citation

Lance Corporal Baker (then in the rank of Private) was the turret gunner in the lead vehicle of a New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team patrol when it was ambushed by insurgent forces near the town of Chartok in Bamyan Province Afghanistan on 3 August 2010.  The insurgents set off an improvised explosive device, which immobilised his vehicle and then began firing at all four vehicles with small arms fire and shoulder launched rockets, in an engagement that was to continue for some 35 minutes.  He immediately sought to return fire but the machine gun, which he had been manning at the time of the ambush, had been blown off its mount and another weapon, a general purpose machine gun, was also badly damaged.  As he leant down inside the turret to recover his personal weapon, he saw that a fire had broken out in the rear of the vehicle and that the patrol commander, Lieutenant O’Donnell, was slumped forward in the front passenger seat.  Although suffering a broken ankle, incurred in the initial explosion, he extracted himself through the top of the turret and while under direct observation and fire from the enemy, climbed down from the vehicle and made his way around to the front passenger door to provide assistance to his patrol commander.  On opening the door of the vehicle, Lance Corporal Baker noticed that driver Corporal Ball was not moving, and he shouted for him to get out of the vehicle to assist him.  Corporal Ball soon joined Lance Corporal Baker.  For the next five minutes, while under continuous fire from the enemy, both soldiers took turns to try and recover their commander’s body by one holding the door while the other reached inside to try and extract Lieutenant O’Donnell, whose body was constrained by part of the damaged vehicle.  As they persevered, enemy fire intensified and the vehicle was hit by two rockets, one exploding against the driver’s door and the other against the bonnet.  The fire inside the vehicle began to spread and the heat became so intense that Lance Corporal Baker had to put out Corporal Ball’s hair when it caught alight.  He also suffered burns to his shoulders.  It was only when ammunition stored inside the vehicle began to explode that both soldiers were forced to withdraw and seek shelter in a dry creek bed some 40 metres away.

In order to reach the creek bed, Lance Corporal Baker, because of the injury to his ankle, had to crawl across open ground in direct observation and fire from the insurgents, with Corporal Ball crawling alongside him.  On reaching the relative safety of the creek bed, communication was established with the remainder of the patrol.  A decision was made for both soldiers to remain where they were and wait for support to come forward and reach them.  This occurred some 20 minutes later, during which time they continued to be targeted by the enemy.

 

Corporal Matthew John BALL (X1015655)

Royal New Zealand Corps of Signals

Citation

Corporal Ball (then in the rank of Lance Corporal) was the driver of the lead vehicle of a New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team patrol when it was ambushed by insurgent forces near the town of Chartok in Bamyan Province Afghanistan on 3 August 2010.  The insurgents set off an improvised explosive device, which immobilised his vehicle and then began firing at all four vehicles with small arms fire and shoulder launched rockets, in an engagement that was to continue for some 35 minutes.  He was stunned by the initial explosion and only regained full consciousness after being shouted at by Lance Corporal Baker, the vehicle’s gunner, to assist in helping extract their commander, Lieutenant O’Donnell, who was slumped forward in the front passenger seat.  On regaining consciousness, he became aware that a fire had broken out in the rear of the vehicle, which was still being hit by enemy fire, and his right leg was impaled on the vehicle’s engine housing.  After pulling his leg free, he then extracted himself from the vehicle in full view and under fire from the enemy only 45 metres away and made his way around to the front passenger door to assist Lance Corporal Baker.  For the next five minutes, while under continuous fire from the enemy, both soldiers took turns to try and recover their commander’s body by one holding the door while the other reached inside to try and extract Lieutenant O’Donnell, whose body was constrained by part of the damaged vehicle.  As they persevered, enemy fire intensified and the vehicle was hit by two rockets, one exploding against the driver’s door and the other against the bonnet.  The fire inside the vehicle began to spread and the heat became so intense that as Corporal Ball leant in to the vehicle, his hair caught alight and had to be put out by Lance Corporal Baker.  It was only when ammunition stored inside the vehicle began to explode that both soldiers were forced to withdraw and seek shelter in a dry creek bed some 40 metres away.

In order to reach the creek bed, Corporal Ball crawled alongside Lance Corporal Baker, whose movements were significantly restricted due to a broken ankle, across open ground and in direct observation and fire from the insurgents.  Corporal Ball, in addition to the wound to his leg, had also received shrapnel wounds to both legs and both arms, muscular damage to an ankle and burns to his head and face.  On reaching the relative safety of the creek bed, communication was established with the remainder of the patrol.  A decision was made for both soldiers to remain where they were and wait for support to come forward to reach them.  This occurred some 20 minutes later, during which time they continued to be targeted by the enemy.

 

NEW ZEALAND GALLANTRY MEDAL (NZGM)

 

To receive the New Zealand Gallantry Medal:

Warrant Officer Class Two Denis Joachim WANIHI (D771492)

Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment (The Duke of York’s Own)

Citation

Warrant Officer Class Two Wanihi (then in acting rank) served in Afghanistan during 2010 in a supervisory role with a multi-national team dealing with and responding to incidents involving Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) and Explosive Ordnance Devices (EOD) in Khowst and Patika provinces.  He received, processed and shipped evidence for over 259 IED incidents that occurred in these provinces and participated in over 30 Focused Targeting Force operations, involving joint ventures with Special Operations Force units.  As a site exploitation expert, he was responsible for the recovery of evidence that was used to implicate insurgents detained on operations.  Part way through his tour, a United States colleague with whom he had been sharing responsibilities was withdrawn.  By working extremely long hours, he managed to continue to provide the same standard of service that was expected.  On 28 August 2010, he was with a team that responded to the discovery of a vehicle in which an IED had been placed for use in an attack against Forward Operating Base Salerno.  The vehicle was located in a high density housing area and posed an imminent threat to both Coalition Forces and the local population.  He was involved in neutralising the threat.  On the same day, he provided assistance to members of two other EOD teams to recover and dismantle 12 suicide vests worn by insurgents.  The insurgents had been killed before they were able to detonate their vests.  This operation provided useful intelligence on the working components of the vests and how best to deal with them in any future encounters.  On 19 September 2010, he was the EOD vehicle gunner on a route clearance patrol to Bak District; this particular patrol often encounters small arms fire and indirect fire, as well as numerous IED finds or detonations.  After 14 hours spent patrolling, his vehicle came to a sudden stop when an IED was spotted within two metres of the left rear of the vehicle.  He quickly scanned for threat elements and reported the potential danger to the patrol commander, who then made the decision to discontinue the patrol and to return to Forward Operating Base Salerno.

Warrant Officer Class Two Wanihi as a member of the Counter-IED team, 717th EOD Company, carried out his duties in a high threat environment.  Many of the IEDs he encountered were notoriously volatile and he was exposed to stressful and dangerous situations on a regular basis.

 

 

Dated at Wellington this 1st day of October 2011

REBECCA KITTERIDGE, Clerk of the Executive Council.