It was a big enough ordeal/challenge as it was the Marching Out Parade at Waiouru Military Camp after 16 weeks of basic training, but to be singled out to march out and receive an award, not once, nor twice but three times stunned Private Samuel Wyatt of Dannevirke on Sunday, July 7.
Sam had joined the army 18 weeks before as a raw recruit ready to do his basic training at Waiouru.
Having been raised on the home sheep and beef farm at Ngapaeruru, east of Dannevirke, Sam was used to the outdoors and the hard work ethic his parents Greg and Hazel Wyatt had taught and modelled.
Sam was home-schooled through his primary years, going to Totara College for Year 9-10 and Dannevirke High School for his senior secondary, graduating with NCEA level three in physics, English, chemistry, calculus and graphics. He also played for the grade winning boys' hockey team.
After a year studying engineering at the University of Auckland which he enjoyed and introduced him to hostel life, he decided against it as a career.
A year doing volunteer work in a Youth Ministry at Wellington taught him valuable social skills living with a team of seven others all doing the same role and living together.
With those experiences Sam decided he wanted to help people and the army appealed for its predominantly humanitarian and peace-keeping roles. He valued its discipline and saw the opportunity to serve and to grow as a person. It also fitted with his love of the outdoors.
So off he went for 16 weeks, equipped with the knowledge and skills to cope with the basic training programme. This involved drill and discipline, weapons training and field craft.
It involved three weeklong exercises, one in an urban environment. During one of those called Exercise Warrior the recruits had to survive 24 hours on very few rations out in the countryside. While it was a platoon activity each recruit was judged and the highest scorer out of 88 earned the Top Warrior Award.
That experience was past history for Sam as graduation approached. The recruits trained for the parade and some were chosen at random to practise receiving an award, Sam amongst them.
He was grateful for that because after the march he was called out as winner of the Forsyth VC Platoon Top Recruit. The citation reads: "To the recruit from each platoon who has displayed the highest level of achievement and potential throughout the course."
He was not prepared to be called out again for the Top Warrior Award but he was. And then for the third time he was called out for the Sergeant Major Of The Army Award, again the citation reading: "To the recruit who has consistently demonstrated and applied the NZ Army Ethos and Values and is willing to put their mates before themselves."
Sam is now he is off to Linton Military Camp to complete his core training in signals.
Receiving this Top Recruit for Forsyth VC Platoon was Sam's first honour at the New Zealand Army Waiouru Graduation.
Is there room for this on his mantelpiece? Sam Wyatt with this huge Sergeant Major of the Army Award.
This plaque recognises Sam Wyatt as Top Warrior.