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Former Burnside High School student awarded US Army Commendation Medal

Former Burnside High School student, Kelly Begg, has received a significant United States military award in recognition of her work in Afghanistan.

Lieutenant Kelly Begg.


Lieutenant Begg was among 25 New Zealand Defence Force personnel to receive US military medals from visiting Major General Peter Talleri.

At the presentation Major General Talleri said, “The accomplishments of your Defence Force in Bamyan Province, Afghanistan are quite impressive. I’ve had the opportunity to read some of your award citations that you will be presented with today and I am truly humbled by the selfless acts and sacrifices that you have accomplished.”

Lt Begg received her medal, "As 2IC National Support Element I held a key position within the logistics and supply chain for all the NZDF elements in theatre. The role ranged from processing of demands to sourcing items from other countries and liaison with local contractors. It was a really busy and important role which demanded long hours and a huge effort to keep the chain intact and prevent breakdowns of the system.”

Lieutenant Begg (28) was born and bred in Christchurch, with her parents still residing in Harewood. Lieutenant Begg enlisted in the Navy in 2001, joining straight from High School, and graduated as a Naval Supply Officer. Kelly opted to join the Navy as the she liked the idea of, “doing something a little different rather than going straight to university after school. In particular, I liked the way the Navy deploys people from all trades on ships so you get the opportunity to do a variety of jobs and postings throughout your career”.  Lt Begg holds Bachelor of Commerce (International Business and Management) which she attained through the Navy's Tangaroa scheme, a Diploma of Arts, and is part way through a Post Graduate Diploma of Arts (Defence and Security Studies) both completed extramurally. Lt Begg’s younger Brother, POWT (Petty Officer Weapons Technician) Darryl Begg is also in the Navy, and currently posted to HMNZS Te Mana.

Lt Begg is currently posted to Government House, where she is the Aide de Camp to the Governor-General of New Zealand.

Lt Begg lists many career highlights including, “Op Cutlass II in 2005, where we visited Vladivostok, Nagoya and Shanghai as a part of the Defence Diplomacy section of the Op; selection as the Commissioning Supply Officer for HMNZS Otago and working with the project and seeing the ships built, and deployment to Afghanistan as 2IC NSE.”

Lt Begg has enjoyed her time in the Navy and looks forward to future challenges. When asked if she would recommend a career with the NZDF to others, Lieutenant Begg said, “Yes - to use the catch phrase, it is a life less ordinary and there are a huge amount of opportunities within the NZDF that are on offer which you just wouldn't get otherwise. You also get to work with a great team of people - wherever you are posted.”

The US Army Commendation medal is awarded to junior officers and non-commissioned officers as recognition of outstanding service delivery during a tour of duty. It shows the individuals' performance was above the 120% level of that expected.

Lt Begg values her medal, which she says represents, “Recognition of the hard work and effort above what is expected of personnel in key positions, and the work we did to support the mission.”



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