New Year Honour
Wing Commander Mark Brunton was honoured in the New Year with the New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration (DSD) for his outstanding service to the New Zealand Defence Force.
WGCDR Brunton joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force in 1976. He was commissioned as an Engineering Officer in 1995 and since then has held numerous engineering and command positions.
Of particular note was his work in 2001 when he was placed in charge of the resettlement of RNZAF personnel made redundant following the disbandment of the Air Combat Force. WGCDR Brunton handled an extremely difficult, sensitive, and unenviable task with great skill and compassion, making a considerable difference in the lives of those personnel affected.
In late 2005 he was seconded to the Boeing B757 Upgrade Project as the Ministry of Defence Project Manager. At this time the project was in difficulty following the withdrawal of one of the key contractors, requiring considerable additional work under intense time constraints and budget pressures. Throughout the entire process, WGCDR Brunton exercised an extraordinary combination of technical skill, project management, and leadership. He also displayed exceptional modelling of the New Zealand Defence Force values of professionalism, integrity and teamwork, and of the New Zealand values of flexibility, innovation, and initiative.
In 2006, after successfully renegotiating the contract, he moved to the contractor’s facilities in Mobile, Alabama when the project encountered further unforeseen finance, design, integration, and production problems. Though he had limited authority, WGCDR Brunton used his negotiating and management skills to bring the project to a successful conclusion and ensured the delivery of the upgraded aircraft to the Air Force.
WGCDR Brunton’s excellent judgement and leadership ability in a wide range of situations has been a hallmark of his 34 years service in the Royal New Zealand Air Force.