Squadron Leader Aaron Benton received the Distinguished Service Decoration for his role in a difficult Antarctic rescue in September 2010.
The Royal New Zealand Air Force P-3K Orion instructor pilot who lives at Whenuapai, had to evacuate a seriously ill American working at McMurdo Station.
Blizzard-like conditions cancelled the first attempt and it was another two days before a second effort could be made.
"His planning and attention to detail ensured that the aircraft and crew remained safe at all times, despite operating at the extremes of human and equipment performance," Mr Benton's citation says.
A West Aucklander, he joined the Air Force in 1995. The father of four supports his sons who all play rugby at the Kumeu Rugby Club.
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