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RNZAF pilot awarded NZ Gallantry Medal

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RNZAF pilot awarded NZ Gallantry Medal

Old 20th Apr 2013, 04:34
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RNZAF pilot awarded NZ Gallantry Medal

RNZAF Pilot awarded Gallantry medal while on RAF exchange

Ben Pryor: Gallantry Medal

With bullets kicking up dust in front of him and insurgent rounds pinging off his helicopter cockpit, every fibre in Flight Lieutenant Ben Pryor’s body told him to flee. But the Royal Air Force mission depended on him. As did the crack British troops who’d already been dropped into the "hot" drop-zone close to the insurgent’s fortified compound. So the Auckland father-of-two fought his internal urges and stayed firm.

After abandoning his first approach where his cockpit was hit three times, the now-Squadron Leader took his Chinook at the lead of an eight-ship air assault back into the intense enemy machinegun fire, later described by colleagues as "a river of tracer coming at our aircraft".

Showing "remarkable courage in the face of extreme danger", he landed and got his troops on the ground, while returning effective fire.

His exploits on April 22 last year in the hostile Helmand province have won him a top war decoration."I’m incredibly honoured, proud, and humbled, but any pilots put in the same situation would’ve done the same," said 38-year-old Squadron Leader Pryor of his New Zealand Gallantry Medal (NZGM) awarded today.

His medal citation also highlights another mission where he flew into more intense small-arms and grenade fire to rescue a shot American soldier.

"This was the second time in as many months that Squadron Leader Pryor had displayed calmness, courage, and professionalism in a situation of intense pressure and while under enemy fire," it reads.

The feats came while the 17-year Royal New Zealand Air Force veteran was on a four-year secondment with the RAF

Last edited by Samuel; 20th Apr 2013 at 04:36.
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Old 20th Apr 2013, 05:09
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Bloody good show - well done!!

Bob C

Last edited by Robert Cooper; 20th Apr 2013 at 05:10.
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Old 20th Apr 2013, 05:42
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Congratulations - a well deserved award.
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Old 20th Apr 2013, 06:06
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Well done that man!
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Old 20th Apr 2013, 07:16
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Superb.




And congrats to the other two Kiwi members for the other awards,
one post H, RIP.

Last edited by 500N; 20th Apr 2013 at 07:27.
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Old 20th Apr 2013, 13:04
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Nice work and great to see.

"Showing "remarkable courage in the face of extreme danger", he landed and got his troops on the ground, while returning effective fire."

I am extremely impressed he managed to fly the Chinny at the same time as (I assume) firing his personal weapon accurately out the window!
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Old 21st Apr 2013, 04:01
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Well done Ben - an awesome bloke and it was a pleasure working with you.
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Old 21st Apr 2013, 08:23
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Good effort, and well deserved congratulations.
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Old 21st Apr 2013, 09:22
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Ben tells me this is probably the first gallantry award to a RNZAF pilot for flying in combat since the Vietnam war - so a fantastic achievement for Ben and his crew!
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Old 21st Apr 2013, 09:46
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I hesitate to introduce a sour note onto this thread, but reading the description of the action this seems a very niggardly award to give Sqn Ldr Pryor for his actions.

If I understand the New Zealand system correctly, like in the UK, after the Victoria Cross there are three levels of gallantry awards: the NZ Gallantry Star, the NZ Gallantry Decoration and the NZ Gallantry Medal. The last is described as replacing the mention in despatches, whereas the the NZ Gallantry Decoration is described as replacing, among others, the Distinguished Flying Cross. Surely an NZGD was merited here?

Many congratulations to Sqn Ldr Pryor, but it would seem that the RNZAF brass are as tight as those in the RAF when it comes to making recommendations for awards.

Ben tells me this is probably the first gallantry award to a RNZAF pilot for flying in combat since the Vietnam war
Sqn Ldr R J Klitscher, a helicopter pilot with 9 Squadron, RNZAF won the DFC in Vietnam in 1971, this may well have been the last award before the present one.

Last edited by Tankertrashnav; 21st Apr 2013 at 16:04.
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Old 21st Apr 2013, 10:11
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I'm not sure of the timing, but Flt Lt Punch Patterson RNZAF won a DFC in Vietnam for bringing an Aussie Iroquois of 9 Sqn back badly damaged. The way he told it "he didn't want to walk home".There were other RNZAF pilots who won American Awards.
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Old 21st Apr 2013, 11:16
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I must say that, as I often do, I thoroughly agree with TTN - not so much a "sour note" as an "incredulous note" in the circumstances outlined in the attached NZ Honours List, complete with citation Special honours list - 20 April 2013 | The Governor-General of New Zealand Te Kawana Tianara o Aotearoa.

Three very brave men - Bravo Zulus all round and sadness for the loss of Corporal Leon Smith.

Jack
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Old 21st Apr 2013, 14:22
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Question Why not a British Decoration

Gentleman please forgive the intrusion, but as Flight Lieutenant Ben Pryor was on a 'regular' attachment to an RAF Squadron flying under RAF orders, why wasn't he given a British award - as was the case with a recent award to a US serviceman

Whatever the case congratulations F/Lt Pryor

PZU - Out of Africa (Retired)
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Old 21st Apr 2013, 14:27
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pzu

I wondered that as well.
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Old 21st Apr 2013, 15:04
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My guess is that the system is different for those from the Commonwealth.
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