Can I first of all acknowledge Ron Mark's service. He joined as a boy soldier (Regular Force Cadet), as did I, where he trained as a mechanic. After six years in the ranks he passed a ROSB (Regular Officer Selection Board) and attended the Officer Cadet School at Waiouru where, on graduation, he was commissioned into the Royal New Zealand Electrical & Mechanical Engineers (RNZEME) as a Second Lieutenant. Over the next seven years Mark served in a variety of appointments including a tour-of-duty as a United Nations observer on the Egyptian/Israeli boarder. He retired from the NZ Army as a Captain. Later he was a Workshop Manager in the Sultan of Oman's Land Forces where he was afforded the local rank of Major. He should be proud of that service.
Ron Mark never served with the SAS. It is accepted he may have applied to join the SAS but he was never posted to that unit as a 'badged' member. I am not sure that Mark has ever claimed outright that he was SAS but clearly he may have hinted his association enough for the media to add one and one together and make three.
It is a sad fact that some choose to exaggerate their military service in order to enhance their reputations. I am reminded of the story by a close friend of mine, decorated in Vietnam, and who later served with the British SAS and Parachute Regiment and who commanded Mark in Oman, that if all the soldiers who claimed to have been on the balcony of the Iranian Embassy in London when it was stormed by members of B Squadron, 22 SAS, in Operation Nimrod (5 May 1980) had actually been there then the balcony itself would have collapsed through shear weight of numbers.
I digress. Mark has no need to exaggerate his service. He served honourably. Unfortunately that seems to be a trait among NZ First MPs. Bill Gudgeon, NZ First List MP 2002-2005, claimed to have served in Vietnam and with the SAS. It was later admitted this was untrue.
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