Author(s): Richard Hall
As Commander of the New Zealand troops in the Bamiyan Province of Afghanistan, Colonel Richard Hall gained a unique insight into the lives of Kiwi soldiers serving in a harsh climate amid daily threats, as well as into the lives of the locals.This is an important and fascinating view of New Zealand's role in Afghanistan.
Richard Hall joined the British Army in 1976 and, after training in Sandhurst, was commissioned into The Gloucestershire Regiment. He served with his Regiment in a variety of roles in England, Northern Ireland, Cyprus and Germany. He commanded his Regiment between 1996 and 1998, a period that included an operational tour in South Armagh - the so-called 'Bandit Country' - in Northern Ireland. He was also involved in the British Army's operations in the Balkans and the Middle East and has participated in or led training activities in Canada, Denmark, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Kuwait, Norway and Zimbabwe. He was awarded the MBE in 1991 for his contribution to the first Gulf War and the OBE in 2001 for leading the implementation of a strategic defence review. In 2000, he retired from the British Army to live in New Zealand. Since his arrival in New Zealand he has worked at the Auckland University of Technology. He maintained his military roots, however, by becoming a member of the Reserve Forces. He volunteered to command the New Zealand contingent in Afghanistan, which he did for the period from October 2008 to April 2009. At the end of the tour in Afghanistan he, along with Lieutenant Colonel John Howard and Sergeant Major Rapana, was awarded a US Meritorious Service Medal. In the 2010 New Years Honours list he was appointed as an Additional Member of the New Zealand Order of Merit in recognition of his service in Afghanistan.