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So Others Might Live In Safety

Posted on 18 Jul 2009

Hon Heather Roy speech to Operation RATA II Departure; Ohakea Airmovements Terminal, Ohakea; Saturday, July 18 2009.

Commander Joint Forces New Zealand, Air Vice Marshall Peter Stockwell: it's a pleasure to be here this morning to farewell our soldiers and sailors, and to meet with the families and friends of those deploying today.

I can see and feel that you are all 'in the zone' - you have been well trained and prepared for your task and I have every confidence that you are ready, willing and able to do the job your country has asked of you.

My words this morning are, therefore, short and simple. It could be called a "soldier's five", but could equally be described as a "mother's five". You servicemen and women who are about to board an aircraft to the Solomons don't need me to tell you what to do.

Many of you already have operational service; for others, this is your first tour of duty. Either way, you are all part of a proud New Zealand history of doing our bit, sticking up for what we know is right and helping others to live in peace and safety.

Each and every one of you will be representatives of our country and her reputation. I know you will hold the flame of freedom high.

You are an impressive mix of regulars and reservists showing the strength of our Defence Force by working as one.
I enjoyed meeting with many of you at Linton during your pre-deployment training. I know that you are well prepared for the tasks that will be expected of you - from ROVE Prison external security and being part of the Quick Response Force, to patrolling in a number and variety of settings and deploying to outposts and providing protection and support to the Participating Police Force operations.

I'm looking forward to joining you for a few days in early September, by which time you will be well settled into your routines and able to expertly direct this 'rookie sapper' in your tasks.

To the partners, children, parents and whanau here - and the many who couldn't attend to farewell this contingent - I offer the heartfelt thanks of all New Zealanders for your contribution.

I know the separation of deployments is very demanding on you too, and understand the gap that waving goodbye to your loved ones today leaves in your lives. You too are serving your country with your sacrifice so that the mothers, children and extended families of the Solomon Islands - people that you will probably never meet - can live in safety.

The New Zealand Defence Force has a robust welfare system for families of deployed troops. Please use it. No system is perfect, but it gets better every day. I am committed to helping the NZDF make improvements so that your tour of duty on the home front runs as smoothly as it possibly can.

To those who are departing, and to those who are staying behind, our country thanks you. Be bold and decisive in all your roles and be there for each other.

I look forward, not only to visiting you in theatre but, to welcoming you all back here before long.


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