Well done, that man!!

Strangely, I picked this up from Michael Yon and not the local media

(Photo by U.S. Navy Chief Petty Officer Joshua Treadwell)

Gen. David H. Petraeus, commander of the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF), awarded the Meritorious Service Medal to New Zealand Army Lt. Col. Chris J. Parsons, during a ceremony in Kabul, Afghanistan, Jan. 13.  NZ Ambassador to Afghanistan Neville Reilly attended the ceremony.  The Meritorious Service Medal is the highest US decoration that can be awarded to an officer who is not a general for exceptional contribution to the ISAF mission. Under Parsons’ command, NZ Army 1st SAS significantly hindered the insurgents’€™ ability to reconstitute and conduct actions against Coalition Forces, resulting in increased security for the people of Afghanistan.   Parsons returns to New Zealand after a four month tour in Afghanistan.

The head of the New Zealand SAS in Afghanistan has been recognised by the United States with its top honour for foreign officers.

Lieutenant Colonel Chris Parsons was presented with the Defense Meritorious Service Medal last week in Kabul.

New Zealand Defence Minister Wayne Mapp says it’s testament to Lieutenant Colonel Parsons’ leadership and also recognition of the work the entire SAS unit is doing in the Afghan capital.

Dr Mapp says each time he meets top American servicepeople they remark on the professionalism of the SAS unit.

He says the award is given for exceptional leadership over a sustained period of time.

Dr Mapp says it is the third time during his tenure as Defence Minister that the medal has been awarded to a New Zealander.

It’s good to see a Kiwi recognised at any time but even better when it’s a mate from wayback…I first met Chris  in 1995 when I was commissioned over the space of a weekend and inflicted on Headquarters Support Command and the Trentham Officers Mess…it wasn’t long before he’d led a group of us through a blizzard to the top of the snow-clad mountain for a formal dinner…because we could…

…and because the sun was so bright, everyone wore their special sunglasses…

Leadership has always been one of Chris’ (many) strong suites and I count myself very fortunate not only to know him as a friend but to have worked for and with him in a number of other appointments…

Well done, mate…

Edit: updated with image of award ceremony and Stuff caption…

1 thought on “Well done, that man!!

  1. Missed this item when this story broke…

    General Petraeus has praised the head of the New Zealand SAS in Afghanistan as a great coach of an excellent team.

    Lieutenant-Colonel Chris Parsons was recently recognised by the United States with its top honour for foreign officers – the Defence Meritorious Service Medal.

    The award was made in recognition of what General Petraeus called his “outstanding command, leadership, and unwavering commitment to the mission”.

    General Petraeus told Summer Report the timing of the award was unconnected with an imminent decision by New Zealand on whether to extend its mandate in Afghanistan and was simply recognition of Lieutenant Colonel Parsons’ achievements.


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