THE families of the two New Zealand soldiers killed in Afghanistan say they are glad for the time they had with the men and are proud of their service.
Lance Corporal Pralli Durrer and Lance Corporal Rory Malone, both 26, were killed by rifle fire when their light-armoured vehicles (LAV) were fired on by insurgents near Do Abe in Bamiyan province on Saturday night.
Lance Cpl Durrer, from Christchurch, was a crew commander, standing with his waist-up out the top of a LAV when he was shot. He died during his evacuation from the scene.
Lance Cpl Malone was shot as he went to the aid of his injured company commander and died instantly.
Both were on their first deployments to Afghanistan.
The NZ Defence Force issued statements from both men’s families on Monday.
Lance Cpl Durrer’s family said they were encouraged by the support of family, friends, and the Defence Force.
“We are thankful that Pralli will be home with us soon,” the statement said.
“We are all thankful for the 26 years we had with Pralli and are proud of all that he accomplished in his short time with us.
“He has had a rewarding career as a soldier and we know he had a positive effect on all those he worked alongside throughout his time with [the] army.”
Lance Cpl Malone’s family said they were “extremely proud” of his army service.
“Rory went to Afghanistan to do what he considered an important job which contributed to the greater good of the region.
“He did his job with honour and pride. Rory will be dearly missed by his family.”
Lance Cpl Durrer joined the army in 2004 as a rifleman, before transferring to the role of crewman in 2009.
Lance Cpl Malone, who ha joined the territorial forces in 2002 and transferred to the regular force as a rifleman in 2005. He was promoted to Lance Corporal last month.
Both men served in East Timor between 2006 and 2007 and were deployed to Afghanistan in April.
A Defence Force spokesman told AAP Lance Cpl Malone wasn’t married but was in a “significant relationship”. The spokesman would not confirm that Lance Cpl Malone’s partner was serving in the Defence Force, despite an earlier statement from the Prime Minister John Key to that effect.