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Chief of Navy and four NZDF personnel receive New Year’s Honours

Navy Chief Rear Admiral Tony Parr has been made an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to the state.

The New Year Honour recognises RA Parr’s leadership and consistent high performance in his 32-year naval career. He was appointed Chief of Navy in May 2009 and oversaw the introduction into service of the new ships of the Project Protector Fleet, among other key projects.

Four New Zealand Defence Force personnel – Lieutenant Commander Simon Griffiths, Colonel John Boswell, Squadron Leader Keith Bartlett and Squadron Leader Russell Kennedy -- were also awarded the New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration.

Lt Cdr Griffiths is the Commanding Officer of HMNZS WELLINGTON, the Navy’s Offshore Patrol Vessel. He led the ship through service trials and unit readiness evaluation. The ship was deployed to the Southern Ocean and Antarctica in February 2011, marking the first Navy visit to the area in 40 years. Although there is historical information on operations in the area, there was neither practical experience operating a vessel like WELLINGTON nor current knowledge of ice navigation.

While WELLINGTON was departing the Ross Sea, it received a distress signal from a recreational adventure vessel. With limited communications back to New Zealand due to bad weather conditions, Lt Cdr Griffiths instituted a considered and measured approach to the call. The ship spent 12 hours conducting an extensive, though unsuccessful, search for the yacht or her life boat and crew.

Col Boswell deployed to Afghanistan in April 2010 as the Commanding Officer of the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team (NZPRT) in Bamyan. He initiated the development of a strategic plan to transition from a military-led operation to a civilian-led and finally, Afghan-managed operation. The first stage of the transition occurred in June 2010, when leadership of the NZPRT passed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade with the appointment of a civilian director, without disruption to ongoing operations.

SQNLDR Bartlett was posted to the Orion P-3 Systems Upgrade Project in Greenville Texas in 2008. At the time he was posted, he had no time to qualify as an Orion Qualified Flight Instructor. His deployment was continually extended due to unforeseen aircraft flight performance issues. These challenges required flight testing well beyond the scope, complexity and duration of the original flight test programme.

With no formal training and minimal preparation, SQNLDR Bartlett was also required to develop and verify flight deck instrumentation and automation procedures, train the flight deck crew, and manage systems engineers and operators conducting mission systems integration testing onboard the modified P-3K2 aircraft. These were development testing events that a senior Qualified Flight Instructor would unlikely encounter during his career. SQNLDR Bartlett’s contribution was instrumental to the successful completion of the P-3K2 aircraft project.

SQNLDR Kennedy has developed a reputation for flight safety since he joined the Royal New Zealand Air Force in January 1978. He has worked as an aircraft investigator and as an Air Force Safety Officer. He has also led or assisted in over 25 aircraft accidents or incidents. His expertise is recognised in the civilian flight safety sector and he has been called on to assist both the Civil Aviation Authority and the Transport Accident Investigation Commission on many occasions, including the crash in November 2008 of the Air New Zealand Airbus A320 off France’s Mediterranean coast. He is also the secretary of the Australia and New Zealand Society of Air Safety Investigators. SQNLDR Kennedy’s contributions to the safety of flights in Australia and New Zealand have benefited the aviation industry and the general public.



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