Leadership and compassion for fellow soldiers

Staff Sergeant Robert Victor Keith McGee, DSD (New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration) for services to the New Zealand Defence Force.

Displaying leadership skills beyond his rank and compassion for fellow soldiers were two of the reasons behind an army staff sergeant being honoured.

While serving as a patrol commander with the New Zealand Provincial Reconstruction Team in Bamyan Province, Afghanistan, Staff Sergeant Rob McGee was responsible for the command of a small patrol working within the Khamard District.

The patrol came under fire after they were tasked with clearing insurgents from the side of a valley as part of the 'Battle of Baghak' on August 4, 2012.

Mr McGee showed excellent leadership under fire, suppressing a number of enemy positions and successfully extracting two of his men who had been injured in the firefight. One serviceman was tragically killed in the fighting.

The night following the battle his patrol were attacked by insurgents at their Forward Patrol Base. During the fight Mr McGee exhibited excellent control of his patrol and successfully repelled the attack.

Then, on August 19, a large Improvised Explosive Device on a District road detonated under the rear vehicle of his patrol, instantly killing the three occupants. He secured the scene and ensured the remaining members of the patrol remained focused.

Mr McGee has been rewarded for displaying leadership skills beyond expected of his rank, his comradeship in dealing with the tragic loss of four comrades and attending to the well-being of the remaining members of his patrol.

By Regan Schoultz of NZME. News Service

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