Shane Pretty | 43 | New Zealand Army

Shane Pretty | 43 | New Zealand Army

Served 15 years.

Sergeant Major (Warrant Officer Class 2), Logistics (Movement Operator).

Medals and citations: INTERFET medal for service in East Timor.

Postings: East Timor.

Primary job: I was in the New Zealand Defence Force. My primary Role was as a Movement Operator. To plan and coordinate, load more ships, aircraft, trucks and helicopters. We would drop supplies out of aircraft parachutes (air despatch), load landing craft. It's like being a travel agent or a goods exporter. A lot of variety.

“We were often told that the standard you walk past is the standard you set i.e. if you let something happen to someone and you don’t do something about it then that is the standard you accept. You might not believe in that standard but by doing nothing you give permission for the standard to exist.”

  • As a New Zealander, our contingent had the unusual situation of being placed under command of the Australian Army and General Cosgrove. I had the pleasure of meeting Colonel Cosgrove and had the utmost respect for him. Our tour was part of a nine month tour and we were the first contingent into East Timor and we witnessed a dramatic transition after independence
  • Joined the NZ Army for a change from a small town, free education and to gain some leadership and confidence

Best advice/skill received: Dedication.

What do you want people to remember about your service? If you let something happen to someone and you don’t do something about it then that is the standard you accept.

What was the best and worst 'military' food you were served, and why? Best food. Every Air Force base I have been posted to. Worst food. McMurdo scientific station in Antarctica. It is an American base and all the fresh produce has to be flown in when the weather is good. If the weather is bad there is not much variety.

What effect did your military experience have on your life? An appreciation for your mates, for military personnel, volunteers and the community.

Funny recollection during time of service:

I was in charge of some soldiers that had embarked on a Navy amphibious troop ship for the first time.

Before we left they all had the safety brief on life at sea, emergency procedures, life boats etc. We left New Zealand waters during the day and were well out to sea and far from land when the sun set. The Officer of the Watch broadcasted over the public address system “Darken Ship, Darken Ship”.

This is when sailors turn off the lights, close the curtains so there is no white light to be seen and confuse navigation lights.

I went to check on the new soldiers and had trouble finding them. I found them all lined up by the exits, looking very scared while putting life jackets on. I asked them what they were doing. They said they heard the captain telling them to “abandon ship, abandon ship”.

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