NZ soldiers' bodies leave Afghanistan
Wed, 08 Aug 2012 12:58p.m.
The two New Zealand soldiers killed in Afghanistan have been farewelled from Bagram Air Base and their bodies are due back in New Zealand on Thursday, the Defence Force says.
Lance Corporals Pralli Durrer and Rory Malone, both 26, were killed in action on Saturday, shot by Afghan insurgents.
Six other New Zealand soldiers were also injured, while four Afghan intelligence officers were killed and 10 of their troops injured in the battle with the Taliban near Do Abe in Bamyan province.
The pair were farewelled with a ramp ceremony at Bagram Air Base on Tuesday, local time, the Defence Force said in a statement on Wednesday.
A ramp ceremony is a memorial service held when the caskets of service people are taken on and off military aircraft.
The service was attended by their Provincial Reconstruction Team comrades, who performed a send off haka.
Lance Cpl Durrer and Lance Cpl Malone are being flown back to New Zealand aboard a US Air Force C-17.
Lieutenant Colonel Pete Hall said it was a moving ceremony attended by many International Security Assistance Force nations and American personnel.
"The contingent members that are left behind know that Pralli and Rory fought with courage to protect their mates, they fought with courage to protect the National Directorate of Security and they fought with courage to defend the freedom of Afghanistan."
A newer military tradition saw commemorative coins from New Zealand and coalition partners placed on the caskets of both men.
They are due to arrive back in New Zealand late on Thursday.
Five of the injured New Zealanders have been transferred to a military hospital in Germany and the sixth, who was shot in the neck, will be transferred when it was possible to move him.
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14/08/2012 6:59:57 p.m.
Great to have them home. Not the way I wished it. But they home. Haere mai e tama ma, haere mai. xxx
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