NOCHETE, Michael
Major, Corps of Royal New Zealand Engineers

CITATION
New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration
In the early months of 2014, Major NOCHETE was serving as a Military Liaison Officer (MLO) with the United Nations Mission in the Republic of South Sudan (UNMISS) at the town of Bor, situated on the White Nile to the north of the capital, Juba. During the national crisis of December 2013 – February 2014, control of Bor changed hands between Government and rebel forces five times and there was a general reluctance among UN staff to return to the area. Major NOCHETE was one of the few UN staffers to volunteer to return and while waiting for flights into the town to resume, he sought work within the UN Force Headquarters where his knowledge of Bor, Jonglei Province, and the key Government and rebel commanders in the area proved invaluable to the UN planning staff.

On returning to Bor, in the absence of trained UN staff, he assumed responsibility for the management of all air movements of UNMISS, UN Humanitarian Air Service and international aid agency flights in and out of the area. He oversaw the prioritisation and evacuation of hundreds of personnel, including critical casualties, UN staff, and international and internally displaced persons. The final estimate was that he personally oversaw the evacuation of over 2,000 people. He carried out this duty throughout the many changeovers of control of the town, and often with weapons pointed at him and stray rounds hitting the ground around him. In addition to the demanding movements role, Major NOCHETE also led the first operation to recover and bury the large number of bodies that had accumulated in and around the Bor County State Base; and through his personal example encouraged troops from other nations to assist him with this unpleasant task.

At the same time he continued to carry out his normal MLO duties, working effectively with senior military commanders from both Government and rebel forces. He also led patrols to recover much-needed medical supplies from local hospitals for use by UN humanitarian agencies and to conduct assessments of sites for use as UN storage and distribution facilities. The fact that he conducted these tasks regardless of which side controlled Bor at any given time, and while the threat of attack was always a possibility, highlights the level of courage and commitment Major Nochete displayed throughout the crisis.

KNOWN AWARDS
New Zealand Distinguished Service Decoration
New Zealand Operational Service Medal

NOTES
Born
Died
THE PRO PATRIA PROJECT