Tuesday, January 1, 2019

MEDALS MADNESS BY THE KING OF BLING

I note that Bob Davies, the highly respected ex-Sergeant Major of the Army, has posted in another forum the advice that Minister 'Medals' Mark aka the 'King of Bling' is giving in to the demands of a small but vocal group of service personnel posted to Singapore in the 1970s and 80s that they be awarded a medal for to recognise the privations they were forced to put up with.

What tosh.   The last government quite rightly rejected that call as being without merit and now Mark is attempting to curry favour at the expense of cheapening medals properly earned.    Lets cut to the chase ... Singapore was a two year holiday posting.   Duty free beer, duty free cars, single personal living in barrack accommodation had their laundry done for them and a 'bootie' to clean and polish their footwear. Married accompanied personnel from Lance Corporal up lived in housing of a far higher standard compared with service housing in New Zealand with everything provided down to the last teaspoon along with servants paid for out of a generous o'seas allowance.    And ok, every so often the 'grunts' went up country in Malaysia to exercise in Area Charlie (or such-like) or to use the ranges at Asahan or Pulada ... so what, nothing spectacular in that.

I can accept the rationale for the Operational Service Medal and the Defence Service Medal (if only to shame those who purchased the NZ Army Association 'vanity' Medal into not wearing it).   I am slightly less comfortable with the award of the NZGSM to those who served in Vietnam although I can understand the desire of some to have a purely New Zealand medal as opposed to the Vietnam Medal which was a joint Australia/New Zealand award but a Singapore medal is just plain arrant nonsense.

But par for the course from a Minister who sets considerable store on 'bling'.

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Last time I saw Bob was in Alice Springs where he abandoned the troops and went awol with a Yank a certain morterman and a bag of Rastafarian Rothmans. Don't know how long it took to find him but I think Kings Cross and several cops come into the story somewhere. The absence of a GCM is an indication.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy said...

Bob has also removed the NZ Operational Service Medal and the NZ General Service Medal 1992 [Warlike] from his rack in protest at them being awarded to Saxophone Players and Banjo Pluckers who flew in and out of Viet Nam and were paid handsomely to entertain the troops.

Few if any of the buggers came anywhere NZ Troops in Nui Dat - the accommodation was in tents, the showers were cold [you had to fill the bucket yourself] and the 3 banger long drop toilets didn't meet their standards. The reckoned fuck that for a game of cowboys.

But then I guess that today's soldiery with its maximum of 6 months deployment,only 2 showers a day and having to queue to get into the gymnasium at the end of a long day would probably balk as well.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy said...

Meanwhile they have given a Knighthood to a turd who figuratively 'gave aid and comfort to his country's enemy'. Who denigrated and condemned our soldiers to suit his own pathetic political fantasies

Who would want another medal from this Government?

David said...

Meanwhile they have given a Knighthood to a turd who figuratively 'gave aid and comfort to his country's enemy'. Who denigrated and condemned our soldiers to suit his own pathetic political fantasies

You mean someone who used his freedom, the freedom the bloodthirsty always claim they are defending when they slaughter innocents, the freedom that must be fought for, but must never be used?

I guess you're talking about Tindall, the man that began the decline of NZ Manufacturing.



Adolf Fiinkensein said...

No David

I think he meant the turd who was screwing Sue Kedgeley while he formulated his plan to be Mayor, anywhere.

Psycho Milt said...

Still as clear as mud, but presumably the reference to "mayor" in there means it's Shadbolt.

Vietnam wasn't this country's enemy, so none of the NZers protesting the war were "giving aid and comfort to their country's enemy." Also, it's pretty much a civic duty to protest your government committing troops to a war you're opposed to, so the people who do so are anything but "turds." Also, what David said.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Milt , don't be so disengenuous. Korea wasn't this country's enemy either. Neither is Africa.

Adolf Fiinkensein said...

Vet, you're not referring to Medalsome Mark as 'The King of Bling' are you?

Noel said...

Retrospective medallic recognition can quickly loose their gloss.
The NZ Operational Service Medal became available after an approach my some Vietnam Veterans where the issues at the time were the children, and the tax issue. Neither was concluded before its issue.

The next was the NZ General Service Medal(Warlike) with clasp Vietnam. This became available after a request to have a NZ distinctive medal issue to represent Vietnam Service. The MoU negotiators had said that to issue a clasp to an existing medal would be a SOP. This medal was instituted in 1992. It was issued in silver to recognise service in warlike operations for which no separate New Zealand or British Commonwealth campaign medal was issued. And the contentious Vietnam Medal was also retained.

The third was the General Service Medal.
This medal was long overdue as it recognised that large majority of those who served in the NZ Forces who would never be offered the opportunity to serve on active service.
In my submission I suggested it should not be eligible for those with campaign or other overseas service medallic recognition to strengthen it value.
That didn't happen.


The Veteran said...

Noel re General Service Medal ... I think you meant the Defence Service Medal.

Bob D suggests in his post re the Singapore Medal that it might be the NZ General Service Medal (Non-Warlike) with clasp 'Singapore'.

For all ... I note for the record that Tim Shadbolt has, in recent times, apologised to the Vietnam veteran community for any hurt his protesting caused. I for one accept his apology. It requires a certain courage to apologise.

Noel said...

Yeah sorry NZDSM. I remember Veterans bitching about "wannabes" using vanity medals because there wasn't anything available. A number of Veterans were quick in the line for the NZDSM.

When Shadbolt put out the call for a dollar to defend a stupid court case, before "give a little", I sent him two.

Noel said...

Not sure how the NZGSM(Non warlike)(eligibility where no UN medal was issued) is going to work?
Wasn't that replaced by the NZGSM 2002 with clasps?


New Zealand General Service Medal 2002 (Solomon Islands)
New Zealand General Service Medal 2002 (Afghanistan) - Primary Operations Area
New Zealand General Service Medal 2002 (Afghanistan) - Secondary Operations Area
New Zealand General Service Medal 2002 (Iraq 2003)
New Zealand General Service Medal 2002 (Timor-Leste)
New Zealand General Service Medal 2002 (Korea)
New Zealand General Service Medal 2002 (Greater Middle East)
New Zealand General Service Medal 2002 (Iraq 2015)

The Veteran said...

Noel ... the NZ General Service Medal 1992 (Non-Warlike) is still issued to recognise service in the Sinai. This is because that operation commenced before 1 January 2000.
After that date service was recognised by the NZ General Service medal 2002 with the appropriate clasp. As Singapore was done and dusted before 1 January 2000 I can see the logic behind the suggestion but, having said that, I strongly oppose the award of a medal for Singapore (holiday) service.

David said...

I note for the record that Tim Shadbolt has, in recent times, apologised to the Vietnam veteran community for any hurt his protesting caused. I for one accept his apology. It requires a certain courage to apologise.

Shadbolt has taken the coward's way out to keep his political hopes alive. I will never aplogise for my resistance to the American War against Vietnam and my opposition to enslavement of young men as canon fodder for that war.

Still waiting for someone to have the guts to apologise to the Vietnamese for the destruction rained down on their country, for the millions of innocents who had to die to feed America's paranoia, for the children being born today who will be torn to shreds by unexploded land mines.

I feel sadness for "the Vietnam veteran community", for they were dupes in a game they did not understand, but I have nothing I need to apolgise for. If more of them had joined the anti-American Imperialist War campaign there would be fewer damaged souls, fewer deaths, fewer nightmares. Most were dupes, a few went for "the adventure", much like the misguided fools who join ISIS, and some were simply career war criminals.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-NkKs647wA

Were 3 million dead Vietnamese really worth it?



Noel said...

Once again stealing the valour of an existing medal.

Gerald said...

David
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vietnam_War_casualties

Tom Hunter said...

Were 3 million dead Vietnamese really worth it?

Certainly Pham Xuan An, legendary Time correspondent and Vietcong spy, did not think so...

”All that talk of ‘liberation’, all the plotting and all the bodies, produced this, this impoverished, broken-down country led by a gang of cruel and paternalistic half-educated theorists.”

Anonymous said...

https://www.hawaii.edu/powerkills/SOD.CHAP6.HTM

The Veteran said...

David ... you again fall into the trap of blaming those who served rather than the politicians who sent them. I have no problems with the majority of those who protested about the war ... that is their right. What I do have a problem with are those protesters who lost the plot like the person who rang up a newly married wife of an acquaintance of mine serving in Vietnam at 3.30 am purporting to be someone from the Army and telling her she was now a window. Not you I hope.

Take orf your rose tinted spectacles and understand that the NVA/VC were not the paragons of virtue you clearly think they were.

Suggest you read Max Hastings book 'Vietnam - An Epic Tragedy 1945-75' for a far more balanced assessment of that war than your rather jaundiced view.

Noel ... re your 6.55. Agreed.

David said...

David ... you again fall into the trap of blaming those who served rather than the politicians who sent them.

The blame must be shared. I did point out my sympathy for those who were duped, but each of us is an autonomous human and must make our own decisions. Otherwise you are veering close to "I was only following orders".

We must also ask "Who voted for those politicians? If it was you, and you were sent, well, what did you expect? Once again, you are trying to dissociate the cause from the effect.

Take orf your rose tinted spectacles and understand that the NVA/VC were not the paragons of virtue you clearly think they were.

There is no virtue to war, but there is a right side and a wrong side. The wrong side was the one that attempted to keep Vietnamese as colonial slaves, denying them the chance to self determination. After defeating the Chinese, Japanese, and French, the Vietnamese were subjected to the boot of Uncle Sam, still smarting from his nose blooding in Korea.

Suggest you read Max Hastings book 'Vietnam - An Epic Tragedy 1945-75' for a far more balanced assessment of that war than your rather jaundiced view.

It's on my list for this month, read the intro just before Xmas and look forward to the rest.

My "jaundiced view" is informed by living under a militaristic government determined to curry favour with the USA. It was a government that was prosecuting a war so unpopular that it was unable to fill the war machine with volunteers, but had to resort to conscription, the first time in Australian history that conscription was used for a foreign war.


I recall the words of Cassius Clay when he opposed the American war against Vietnam "No Vietnamese ever called me nigger". I felt the same, no Vietnamese ever threatened my life, only my own government who wanted me for cannon fodder.

It was the bravado of youth that saw so many of my contemporaries fall in to line and make the slow march to war, and maybe I was also under the illusion of bravado when I stood against the war, against conscription, and against my government by refusing to register for the lottery, knowing full well that I faced 2 years jail and an uncertain career future after that. But that is a mark of an autonomous human.

The Veteran said...

David ... clearly we will continue to agree to disagree on most aspects of the Vietnam war. That is our privilege.

Enjoy Max Hastings' book. Perhaps, just perhaps, it will challenge some of your prejudices as it did mine. Certainly the media has much to answer for because, in effect, they became a propaganda tool of the North Vietnamese helped in no little way by the wildly inaccurate and exaggerated reporting of events by the American military in briefings to the media in the soon to be dubbed (with derision) as the 5.00 O'Clock Follies.

Case at point and it's covered off in the book. Many people were quite rightly shocked by that iconic picture from Tet 68 of Brigadier Nguyen Ngoc Loan, the Saigon Police Chief, executing a captured VC in public shooting him in the head. What was not told that the man, Cadre Nguyen Van Lem, had captured an ARVN officer and his family and then personally cut the throats of Lt Col Nguyen Tuan, his wife, six children and eighty year old mother. Eddie Adams who took the photograph while working for AP (for which he won a Pulitzer Prize) regretted the damage it did to the American and South Vietnamese cause. "I thought nothing of it. He shot him, so what". There was no attempt by the media to balance the story by reporting what Lem had done. I read it in the book for the first time fifty years after the event.

As I said, enjoy the book. 650 pages.

David said...

Veteran, I suspect that reading another 1000 books on the American War, as the Vietnamese call it, will not change our disagreement as it isn't based on what happened during the war, but the basis for the war.

I think that ... damage it did to the American and South Vietnamese cause. is the real point of difference. You accept that the great powers had the right to partition Vietnam, to retain it is a colony, to thwart popular attempts to create an independent nation.

I don't.

My stand is that the Vietnamese should have been left to create a nation in their own image after the French retreat. It was not the business of other nations to interfere.

The Veteran said...

David ... except that the North Vietnamese wanted a unified Vietnam under their (communist) control. I suspect the majority of South Vietnamese, boosted by the estimated one million North Vietnamese who fled south following partition, wanted just to live in peace and freedom (however defined). The problem was the despotic and corrupt South Vietnamese government which made it easy for the VC to flourish and, you're right, many Vietnamese saw the Americans as propping up that government and trying to implement American values at the expense of Vietnamese values.

All that against the backdrop of the 'Domino' theory which had some validity given what had happened in Malaya and Indonesia and what happened subsequently in the Philippines, Cambodia and Laos. Hindsight is of course a wonderful thing.

I don't know if you have visited Vietnam. I have, a number of times. The reality is that the South Vietnamese people think of themselves as quite different from their North Vietnamese cousins. Meanwhile the corruption and graft continues. One of the things that unifies the Vietnamese people is their general hatred of the Chinese.

Noel said...

It would have been nice to be issued a crystal ball along with ones rifle but it didn't happen.
When I was ordered out in late 1972 I did a straw poll of South Vietnamese ranging from the boot boy who was always paid but never polished my boots to a University Professor.
All wanted the war to end but few wanted to be ruled by Hanoi.

The Veteran said...

Noel ... thank you. Interesting comment.