Victoria Cross winner back in the combat zone

Arriving to receive the Victoria Cross 2007

A couple of thoughts on Victoria Cross winner SAS Corporal Willie Apiata now the debate over publication of his photo after a firefight in Kabul last week has blown over (storm in a teacup really).*

Firstly, he looks like a real salty hombre when he’s tooled up compared to the almost shy demeanour demonstrated when receiving his medal a couple of years ago.

Secondly, I know that Special Forces often go “native” when in combat zones, but given the fact that there are trigger-happy American forces on the ground, is it a good idea to accessorise yourself with a Taliban-style beard?

Corporal Apiata in Afghanistan 2010

*For those that haven’t been following the story, Apiata is the first New Zealander to win a Victoria Cross since WWII. It was awarded in 2007 for bravery demonstrated in Afghanistan in 2004. Last week, he was photographed by a French photographer coming out of a Kabul building after a Taliban attack. The photographer said that there were the bodies of three militants found in the building but who killed them was unclear. Anyway, the photo was published in a number of papers around the world and Apiata was identified, leading the NZ Defence Force to state that this could endanger his life as insurgents might decide to target him. One suspects that this reasoning by the Defence Force is more an attempt to head off any future publication of images of SAS soldiers given the notriously secretive cloak draped around Special Forces personel and their whereabouts.

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2 Responses

  1. Allen from The Hangover imo?

  2. Nice catch.

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