Wellington Memo

New Zealand Defense Force

New Zealand special-forces soldier Bill Apiata

He later said he was "only doing my job," but what New Zealand special-forces soldier Bill Apiata did in Afghanistan one night in June 2004 so far transcended ordinary duty that it has earned him the Victoria Cross, the highest award for valor Queen Elizabeth II can confer.

When a Taliban attack pinned Apiata and two other soldiers beside their blazing vehicle, 70 grenade and machine-gun-raked meters from the rest of their patrol, the then lance corporal told one man to run for it and heaved the other, who was bleeding to death, onto his shoulders....

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