In Rhodesia, in the first ceremony of its kind, white members of the security forces have received military decorations for good service from a black minister.
In Rhodesia, in the first ceremony of its kind, white members of the security forces have received military decorations for good service from a black minister. The presentations took place at the New Sarum Air base near Salisbury, on Tuesday (13 June).
SYNOPSIS: The ceremony had a special piognance because Mr. John Kadzviti, who is co-Minister of Combined Operations and Defence, is a self-confessed guerrilla leader. Until recently, he says, he was fighting the Rhodesian Security Forces in the bush. But now things have changed, and Mr. Kadzviti is a member of Rhodesia's multi-racial transitional government.
A mixed audience of relatives and official guests watched the ceremony which was the first public engagement Mr. Kadzviti had attended since taking on his new office. Altogether 15 medals were presented. All but three of them were the Defence Force Medal for Meritorious Service. Those receiving the decorations included two civilians, one of them a woman. The brief citations referred to good service both on the administrative side of the force and in the field of operations.
Some of the citations also mentioned acts of bravery. One pilot helped evacuate three injured members of the security forces at night under extremely difficult circumstances. Another citation told how a pilot's quick reaction and professional handling in an emergency undoubtedly saved a very valuable aircraft. And after all the presentations, a march past the dias, with Mr. Kadzviti taking the salute.