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NZDF personnel named in New Year Honours list

The recipients of the New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration (DSD) are:

Lance Corporal Anatoliy Valerievich Derepa
Royal New Zealand Dental Corps

Lance Corporal (LCPL) Derepa was sent to Christchurch following the February 2011 earthquakes as part of the initial Police led Disaster Victim Identification (DVI) Response Team. In the mortuary he worked in an emotionally stressful and intellectually complex and demanding environment as a forensic dental assistant. Here he combined his practical skills as a Dental Technician, knowledge of information technology, and initiative, to provide critical support to all groups within the DVI team. In particular, he established the IT systems that enabled the work of identifying earthquake victims to proceed without delay; he developed the operating procedures for forensic radiography, and adapted dental tools that greatly enhanced the quality of radiographic results. His ability to grasp the requirements of the specialists with whom he was working and develop innovative technical solutions to meet them, meant that he was held in high esteem by DVI team members across a wide range of disciplines. Lance Corporal Derepa displayed innovation and competence well above his rank and made an outstanding contribution to the identification of earthquake victims.

Group Captain Athol James Forrest, MNZM
Royal New Zealand Air Force

Group Captain (GPCAPT) Forrest currently holds a unique position as the first New Zealand Defence Force officer posted to the role of Deputy Chief of Staff to the Headquarters Papua New Guinea (PNG) Defence force in Port Moresby. Since October 2009 he has worked closely with Brigadier Francis Agwi, Chief of the PNG Defence Force, providing policy advice and coordinating the work of the Defence Headquarters, which included the challenging task of preparing the PNG Defence White Paper, as well as project plans and budgets. His appointment has coincided with a tumultuous period of contested political leadership that has created rifts in Papua New Guinean society and placed its Defence Force under considerable pressure. As a direct result of the counsel he provided to Brigadier Agwi, the PNG Defence Force did not take sides during many constitutional challenges taking place, especially at the end of 2011. As a consequence, the PNG Defence Force was able to provide a stabilising influence within the country.

GPCAPT Forrest was made a Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit (MNZM) in the New Year Honours 1998.

Lieutenant Arthur Jordan Gale
Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment

Lieutenant (LT) Gale served with the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team in Bamyan Province, Afghanistan, from March to September 2011. On two occasions while operating in the highest risk area in the north-east of the province, his patrol was attacked by insurgents using improvised explosive devices (IEDs). In the first attack on 28 April, his vehicle was immobilized by an IED blast, while the remainder of the patrol’s vehicles came under attack from rocket propelled grenades. Through excellent leadership and tactical skill he gained control of the situation, calling in close air support that disrupted the attack. He then linked up with another patrol to secure the area and recover the damaged vehicle without sustaining any casualties. In the second attack on 18 July, a large IED exploded and narrowly missed destroying a patrol vehicle. Again, through his tactical skill, he was able to secure the area overnight and a later search of the surrounding area yielded valuable information on insurgent activities. In September, he led a patrol search at the scene of a fatal attack against an Afghan Police patrol, discovering an IED that had been hidden by insurgents for future use, as well as valuable information on their tactics. Throughout his tour, Lieutenant Gale displayed outstanding leadership and tactical skill while operating under stressful conditions in the most dangerous area of the province.

Major Shane Ruane
Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment

When an earthquake struck Christchurch on 22 February 2011, Major (MAJ) Ruane was sent to the city as Civil Defence Liaison Officer. As the crisis unfolded he was re-assigned as the Liaison Officer to the Mayor of Christchurch, a position he held for five weeks. In this role, he displayed outstanding diligence and devotion to duty, working extremely long hours and without respite, supporting the work of the Mayor and his team by providing links to Civil Defence, Police, Fire Service and other agencies, as they dealt with the immediate aftermath of the earthquake. He was then re-assigned to command the New Zealand Defence Force Security and Cordon Reduction Planning Cell. In this role he worked with and co-ordinated the activities of a number of agencies to develop civil defence multi-agency action plans for the reduction of the central city cordon, as well as introducing a cordon access policy that became the focal point for the entire security operation around the Christchurch CBD. Throughout the weeks that he was involved in these operations, Major Ruane was a key NZDF representative who played an important and leading role in coordinating the activities of all the agencies that dealt with the immediate aftermath of the earthquake.

Lieutenant Colonel Brett Lockwood Wellington
Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment

Lieutenant colonel (LT COL) Wellington served as the Senior Military Advisor with the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team (NZPRT) in Bamyan Province, Afghanistan, from August 2011 to April 2012, and commanded the 129 New Zealand personnel in the PRT. He consistently demonstrated sound professional judgement and the tactics adopted under his leadership helped ensure that the PRT was able to sustain effective operations in those parts of the province that were under the greatest threat. They also disrupted the insurgent networks and reduced their ability to mount attacks or threaten the local population. He devoted considerable time to the implementation of a plan to transition responsibility for the security of the province to Afghan Security Forces and to withdraw the PRT from Afghanistan. Under his energetic guidance, an Afghan National Police Quick Reaction Force was formed, trained to a high standard and deployed on operations. It now provides local security forces with greater capacity to resist insurgent threats. The commendable performance of the PRT during this period and the fact that Bamyan Province remained one of the more secure parts of Afghanistan, was due in no small part to the leadership of Lieutenant Colonel Wellington.

The New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration (DSD) recognises distinguished military service by regular, territorial and reserve members of the New Zealand Defence Force, including command and leadership and service in an operational environment, or in support of operations.

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