E Squadron (Explosive Ordnance Disposal), of the 1st New Zealand Special Air Service Regiment (1 NZSAS Regt) has been awarded a Chief of Defence Force Unit Commendation in recognition of its contribution to national security objectives and keeping New Zealanders safe.
E Squadron was established to provide a chemical, biological, radiological and explosive capability as part of the whole-of-government response to domestic explosive disposal incidents, and has been fully operational since 2005.
Since 2015, E Squadron has conducted more than 1,000 responses in support of the New Zealand Police and other government agencies, as well as supporting the clearance of remnants of war in the Pacific.
Recent years have seen an unprecedented spike in the need for explosive ordnance disposal capabilities with support to the Christchurch terror attacks, the Whakaari/White Island tragedy, and the 2022 Parliament protests.
Special Operations Component Commander, Colonel Sean Bolton said the recognition was a reflection of the high levels of commitment and dedication within the squadron.
“Maintaining operational levels, and the capability to respond to short-notice crisis events, demonstrates the professionalism and unrelenting pursuit of excellence by each and every member of EOD. These operators act in a manner that reflects New Zealand Defence Force values and in a way that New Zealand can be proud of.”
Colonel Bolton said the line of work now attracted members from the Royal New Zealand Navy, New Zealand Army, Royal New Zealand Air Force and the civilian workforce.
“Under 1 NZSAS Regt, the squadron delivers the continuous high-level training required to keep it at a level ready to respond.
Chief of Defence Force, Air Marshal Kevin Short, said E Squadron had far exceeded expectations in keeping New Zealanders safe and contributing to New Zealand’s security objectives.
“The members have embodied the core values of the New Zealand Defence Force – Tū Kaha courage, Tū Tika commitment, Tū Tira comradeship and Tū Māia integrity, and are deserving recipients.”