The NZ Army has paid tribute to one of the founding fathers of its Red Diamond, Brigadier (Rtd) Les Wright on the occasion of his 100th birthday.
“Happy 100th Birthday to one of the founding fathers of our Red Diamond, Brigadier (Rtd) Les Wright,” NZ Army said in an online post.
Worn on the left shoulder of the dress uniform by members of the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (RNZIR), the Red Diamond traces its origin to 22nd Battalion, 2nd NZ Expeditionary Force (NZEF).
Les was one of the first to wear the diamond on his uniform in Malaya in July 1959.
He went on to serve in the New Zealand Army for 36 years and retired at the rank of Brigadier in 1977.
“Brigadier Les is the living link between 2nd/1st RNZIR and 22nd Battalion, 2nd NZEF,” said Lieutenant Colonel Cory Neale, Commanding Officer, 2/1 RNZIR.
“From joining the Army as an 18-year-old in 1940, Les has seen and done so much in both war and peace, serving through Italy, Japan and Malaya among others.
“A formative member of the post-WW2 Army, he is our history, he is second to none; a living legend, and we are exceptionally lucky to share his company and hear his stories.
“From all ranks of 2/1 RNZIR, we wish Les a very Happy Birthday,” said Lieutenant Colonel Neale.