Multiple displays of „remarkable courage in the face of extreme danger” whilst deployed to Afghanistan have seen a Royal New Zealand Air Force pilot decorated with a Gallantry Medal in Wellington today.
Squadron Leader (SQNLDR) Ben Pryor received his New Zealand Gallantry Medal from the Governor General, Lieutenant General The Right Honourable Sir Jerry Mateparae, at a special ceremony at Government House this morning.
Now based in Ohakea, SQNLDR Pryor was a Flight Lieutenant when he served as a helicopter pilot on secondment to the Royal Air Force between 2009- 2012, in support of British Forces in Afghanistan.
On 22 April 2012, when captain of the lead Chinook helicopter of an eight-ship aviation assault with the Special Forces Support Group, SQNLDR Pryor’s aircraft came under intense enemy fire.
Despite his helicopter being hit three times, SQNLDR Pryor made a second approach to get his troops safely onto the ground and to direct effective suppressive fire from the aircraft.
A month later, he conducted an emergency evacuation of a casualty. Again his helicopter came under heavy enemy fire, but SQNLDR Pryor kept the aircraft on the ground and engaged the enemy with the aircraft weapons system until the medical team was able to get the casualty safely onto the aircraft to be taken to medical facilities at Camp Bastion.
On both missions SQNLDR Pryor displayed leadership, calmness, courage, skill and professionalism while under intense pressure and enemy fire.
Source / Author: NZDF