Parliament pays tribute to slain soldiers

GRATEFUL: Major Craig Wilson is thankful for all the support he and his soldiers have received after being involved in a fatal battle in Afghanistan. He is pictured here in 2010 speaking with then Defence Minister Wayne Mapp.
GRATEFUL: Major Craig Wilson is thankful for all the support he and his soldiers have received after being involved in a fatal battle in Afghanistan. He is pictured here in 2010 speaking with then Defence Minister Wayne Mapp.

Two New Zealand soldiers killed in Afghanistan have been recognised in Parliament, but any decision on medals for the pair is a long way off.

MPs today applauded the bravery of Lance Corporal Pralli Durrer and Lance Corporal Rory Malone in a special parliamentary debate and the commanding officer for the two men, Major Craig Wilson, has called for them to be recognised for their actions before their deaths.

Wilson was badly injured in the attack and Corporal Malone helped drag him to safety.

Defence Minister Jonathan Coleman said the two dead soldiers were "incredibly brave men - no question about that."

But he said the process for deciding on bravery awards was a painstaking one.

"There will be an after action review to piece together what happened...it sounds like they died helping their mates, but we'll piece together exactly the sequence of events."

It is understand part of the process will include comparing their actions with those who have been considered military honours in the past, to ensure consistency.

Major Wilson is a decorated soldier - he received the New Zealand Gallantry Decoration - the third-highest level military award - in 2007 for his service during a 2004 battle in Afghanistan, which led to Lance Corporal Apiata being awarded the Victoria Cross.

Coleman said Wilson had acknowledged Malone's part in saving his live and it was clear Malone was a "very brave man who died helping others".

KILLED IN ACTION: Lance Corporal Pralli Durrer and Lance Corporal Rory Malone
KILLED IN ACTION: Lance Corporal Pralli Durrer and Lance Corporal Rory Malone

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