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New Year Honours 2015 - Citations for The New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration

HAMILL, Warrant Officer David Tale

For services to the New Zealand Defence Force

Warrant Officer David Hamill was Marine Engineering Warrant Officer on board HMNZS Te Mana, responsible for the management and operation of the marine engineering department.

He rendered outstanding service in this role from August 2013 to March 2014, achieving the highest readiness grading possible in the ship's intensive pre-deployment work-ups, and during its deployment on anti-piracy operations in the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Aden. His department facilitated the identification of solutions to engineering problems which, due to the ship's age, often required careful consideration of equipment availability and remote support from shore. During the anti-piracy deployment he dealt with a major fault that developed in the cooling systems for one of the main diesel propulsion units, which seriously affected the ship's range and endurance and put the operation at risk. He was able to trace the cause of the fault and carry out replacement pipe-work with modifications to eliminate recurrence of the problems. During a maintenance period in Darwin he succeeded in finding remedies to a number of long-term maintenance problems that his predecessors had not been able to solve. Warrant Officer Hamill contributed significantly to HMNZS Te Mana's ability to reach the operational area off the coast of Africa and to complete all its operational tasks.

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MCKINLAY, Captain Andrew Ross

For services to the New Zealand Defence Force

Captain Andrew McKinlay, then as Acting Major, served as a Military Liaison Officer (MLO) with the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan at the Malakal State Support Base in Upper Nile State. Inside the Base were approximately 28,000 Internally Displaced Persons from a variety of South Sudanese tribal groups. On the night of 17 February 2014 fighting broke out among tribal groups within the Base and intensified the following day, causing a number of deaths. MLOs were also attacked while attempting to evacuate casualties to the hospital. Acting Major McKinlay drew his pistol on more than one occasion to protect fellow UN staff and UN contractors. He also sustained a number of minor injuries, caused while grabbing weapons off rioters and attempting to stop a number of beatings. After the fighting died down he ventured outside the Base to talk to Government and rebel commanders, despite knowing that these men had little control over their own troops and that there was a real risk of unprovoked attacks. He volunteered for patrols to Malakal township and assisted in the recovery of bodies from inside the Base, despite the high level of tension that remained and death threats made against MLOs. Though not equipped to protect civilians and in the absence of UN troops and police units the MLOs at Malakal, including Acting Major McKinlay, acted with exceptional courage to contain the situation.

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Serviceman B

For services to the New Zealand Defence Force

Serviceman B demonstrated distinguished service across several operations in Afghanistan in 2011, contributing to the protection of comrades and civilian life, putting their wellbeing ahead of his own under hazardous circumstances. Serviceman B's exceptional devotion to duty was in keeping with the finest traditions of New Zealand's military record.

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NOCHETE, Major Michael

For services to the New Zealand Defence Force

Major Michael Nochete served as a Military Liaison Officer (MLO) with the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) at the town of Bor. During the national crisis of December 2013 to February 2014, control of Bor changed hands between government and rebel forces five times. Major Nochete was one of the few UN staffers who volunteered to return to Bor and in the absence of trained UN staff he assumed responsibility for the management of all air movements of UNMISS, UN Humanitarian Air Service and international aid agency flights in and out of the area. He oversaw the prioritisation and evacuation of hundreds of personnel, including critical casualties, UN Staff, and international and internally displaced persons. He personally oversaw the evacuation of approximately 2,000 people. He carried out this duty as control of the town changed hands, at times with weapons pointed at him and stray rounds hitting the ground around him. He also led operations to recover and bury bodies that had accumulated in and around the Bor County State Base; and through his personal example encouraged troops from other nations to assist him with this unpleasant task. Major Nochete also led patrols to recover medical supplies from the local hospital and pharmacies for use by UN humanitarian agencies and to conduct assessments of sites for use as UN storage and distribution facilities.

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THOMSON, Flight Sergeant Murray John

For services to the New Zealand Defence Force

Flight Sergeant Murray Thomson has served as an Aircraft Technician with 6 Squadron Royal New Zealand Air Force for the past 12 years. 

Sergeant Thomson is one of only a few technicians at his rank level who hold 'Delegated Engineering Authority', the authority to determine the technical airworthiness of the aircraft in his care. Since 2012 he has been the Senior Maintenance Rating on board HMNZS Te Mana with total responsibility for the operational availability of the Ship's Seasprite helicopter. Consequently, he played a significant role during Te Mana's recent deployment to the Arabian Sea and Gulf of Aden to conduct anti-piracy operations as part of a NATO Task Force. In this role, he ensured that the members of his team were a fully-functioning element of the Ship's company, that the aircraft was maintained at the highest level of operational serviceability and that his department was fully prepared to carry out the air support programme. As a result of his efforts the Seasprite was able to successfully complete 98 percent of assigned air support missions in support of the Task Force despite frequent operational programme changes. Flight Sergeant Thomson's dedication and professionalism allowed HMNZS Te Mana to make a significant contribution to the Combined Task Force and to NATO during its deployment.

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Last updated: 
Wednesday, 20 May 2015

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