Australian Operational Service Medal (OSM)
Australian Defence Force (ADF) Members
The OSM has been introduced to replace the Australian Active Service Medal (AASM) and Australian Service Medal for future ADF operations. The OSM will be awarded to ADF members for service on operations recommended and approved as warranting recognition. Each declared operation will be recognised by the standard medal with a unique ribbon for each operation in the same way as the United Nations Medal is awarded. Where appropriate, an accumulated service device will recognise those who render additional prescribed periods of service on a particular operation.
The first service declared for the OSM is the range of border protection operations conducted since 1997.
Australian Operational Service Medal - Border Protection Application Form
An application form specifically designed for the Australian Operational Service Medal - Border Protection (AE 376) has been produced and can be downloaded from this website. It is also available on the DRN Webforms site.
Applicants should be aware that every attempt will be made to process their applications promptly. However, the Directorate of Honours and Awards is continuing to source reliable data to enable accurate assessments of all applications received. To that end, there is likely to be a significant delay before applicants are advised of the outcome of their application for the Australian Operational Service Medal - Border Protection.
Operational Service Badge
Before the establishment of the OSM, those who received the AASM were also issued with the Returned from Active Service Badge (RASB). Because the OSM recognises all declared operational service, an Operational Service Badge (OSB) has been established to be issued on the first award of the OSM.
The OSB has two versions - military and civilian, to be issued with the respective medal types.
The RASB will continue to be issued with the AASM for current warlike operations.
In contrast with the RASB, the OSB may
also be issued to the next-of-kin of deceased members
22nd July 2012 PUBLIC AFFAIRS GUIDANCE – Australian Operational Service Medal
28th June 2012 Defence signs $1.3 billion health services contract
Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Warren Snowdon, has announced a new $1.3 billion contract between Defence and Medibank Health Solutions (MHS), to provide health care services to ADF personnel across Australia. The MHS agreement is for an initial four year term.
MHS won the contract after a competitive tender process and will deliver a broad range of services, including on-base health support, pathology, imaging and radiology and a 24-hour ADF national health hotline.
“Defence’s highest priority is the health and well being of its personnel. Under this contract, our servicemen and women will continue to receive the highest quality health care services. The agreement will support Defence’s goal of seamless health care from point of injury to recovery,” Mr Snowdon said.
There will be no change to health care entitlements for ADF personnel.
“This contract with MHS will also assist Defence to streamline the delivery of health services, and optimise current services through the adoption of new innovations and technology.”
Medibank Health Solutions has a proven record for providing high quality, innovative and cost-effective health care services to the community, to business and to government at a national level for over 35 years.
“The Australian Government is committed to ensuring support for our ADF members is seamless, particularly during the transition from active service into the veterans community,” Mr Snowdon said.
The current health services contracts have been extended to November 2012. MHS and Defence will facilitate a smooth transition to the new contract and will work closely with the outgoing service providers, to ensure no disruption to services for ADF personnel.
Transition of contracted health services will begin next week and will be completed by 5 November 2012.
There will be no change to health care on deployment with ADF health professionals to continue providing these services.
Minister Snowdon: Marcus Butler 02 6277 7820 or 0417 917 796
Defence Media Operations 02 6127 1999
15th December 2011 First female Admiral for the Royal Australian Navy
The Chief of Navy, Vice Admiral Ray Griggs, has today promoted Commodore Robyn Walker to the rank of Rear Admiral in the Royal Australian Navy. Admiral Walker is the first female in the Navy to attain the rank of Rear Admiral and to take on the job of Surgeon‑General for the Australian Defence Force.
“This is an outstanding achievement personally for Admiral Walker,” Vice Admiral Griggs said.
“Her promotion reflects her outstanding service and dedication to Defence health services, the Royal Australian Navy and the Australian Defence Force.”
Admiral Walker’s promotion is especially timely with 2011 being the centenary year of the Navy and emerging changes to policies regarding women in the Australian Defence Force.
“Admiral Walker’s achievements as Director-General of Health for the Navy with broader responsibilities to the ADF in leading a $270 million dollar revamp of the ADF’s health capability, and her previous role in supporting the health of operational Defence personnel in Iraq and East Timor, have been recognised in the decision to promote her,” Vice Admiral Griggs said.
“She is an exceptional role model for all women in Defence,” Vice Admiral Griggs said.
Admiral Walker joined the Royal Australian Navy from Brisbane as a Direct Entry Lieutenant in 1991, and has continued to work in the field of medicine ever since. Admiral Walker has served in HMA Ship Westralia and with the Sea Training Group, and has been involved in the planning of health support for several military operations.
Some of the highlights of the Admiral’s career include leading the health planning and assembly for Australia’s military medical response to the 2004 Boxing Day Tsunami, leading further developments to the Australian Defence Force’s Mental Health Strategy between 2005 and 2008, and receiving the Telstra ACT Business Woman of the Year Award this year.
Admiral Walker said she is honoured and humbled by her promotion.
“Navy and Defence have provided me with every opportunity to learn and develop as an individual; and if you take the opportunities that are provided and work hard, your efforts will be noticed and rewarded,” Admiral Walker said.
“I am looking forward to the challenges that I will face and continuing to make a positive difference in my new role.”
Vice Admiral Griggs said that Navy has been hard at work developing and implementing a number of initiatives to support the leadership development of Navy women, and to improve Navy’s workforce gender balance.
“I am proud of the efforts of our people in encouraging and mentoring women in key leadership roles,” he said.
Tour of Duty: Australia’s Secret War – Monday November 28th 7:30pm Ten
SPECIAL FORCES GRANT TEN NEWS EXCLUSIVE ACCESS For the first time ever, Australia’s most secretive soldiers, the Special Forces, have invited a TV crew to document them in action in Afghanistan. This exclusive TEN documentary, over three years in the making, follows investigative journalist and four time Walkley winner Chris Masters as he goes deep into the field with the Special Air Services Regiment, the SAS. The most comprehensive account of these elite forces in action, TEN cameras accompany the Special Forces on several missions inside enemy lines, including night raids on Taliban hotspots, to a high risk undercover operation to destroy a multi-million dollar Taliban drug lab. Australian Special Forces soldiers, some of whom have been wounded in action, talk candidly of their experiences, about the dangers of working with allies who can turn on them, and on their views of progress in Afghanistan, as the transition phase evolves towards local control. TEN cameras are there on a key date in this conflict, that of the tenth anniversary of September 11th, the day that changed the world and marked the start of this war on terror. On making the documentary, Chris Masters says: “This program is a first in many ways. It is the first time news cameras were allowed to follow Australian Special Forces into action; the first time we see the Afghanistan war from their perspective and talk to the normally secretive SASR, Commandos and IRR at what passes for a front line. It is also the first time in my view, that at last in Afghanistan we see the fight being taken to the enemy.” TEN’s interim Head of News Dermot O’Brien says: “This must-see documentary is a significant effort by Chris Masters, one of Australia’s leading investigative journalists, which delivers a rare insight into Australia’s elite forces fighting in Afghanistan. Though not fought on our shores, this conflict affects the lives of Australian’s every single day, and it’s a privilege for TEN to be able to share the stories and unique experiences of the special forces soldiers who put themselves on the line for their country.”
Tour of Duty: Australia’s Secret war is on: Monday 28th November at 7.30pm on TEN An extended 90 minute version on Monday 5th December at 9.30pm on ONE
Date: Fri, Sep 9, 2011 Army Airborne Insertion Capability
The responsibility for maintaining the Airborne Insertion (Parachute) Capability has transfered from Army Forces Command to Special Operations Command.
The transfer marks a significant milestone in the history of Army’s parachute capability.
The Chief of Army, Lieutenant General David Morrison recognised that the Army has raised, developed and maintained a conventional parachute capability over the past 31 years.
“I acknowledge the fine efforts of all those who have served as part of, and in support of the parachute capability,” Lieutenant General Morrison said.
Initially raised and based on a company in the 6th
Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (6 RAR) in 1980, the
parachute capability was enhanced and the responsibility transferred
to the 3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment (3
RAR) in 1983. During its time as a Parachute Battalion, 3 RAR was
ably supported by a wide range of units from the 1st and
3rd Brigades, the Parachute Training School and 176th
Air Dispatch Squadron.
“The parachute capability has been important part of the ADF’s contingency force since its inception, and will continue to be into the future. However, times have changed and there is a need to re-balance Army to meet the challenges of the future,” Lieutenant General Morrison said.
“3RAR now faces many new challenges including the move to Townsville, deployment to Afghanistan and playing its part in Army’s future.”
The transfer of the parachute capability to Special Operations Command means that the ADF maintains a robust and flexible entry capability while ensuring that Army is better able to meet the challenges of the future.
Defence Media Operations 02 6127 1999
23 August 2011 Private Matthew Lambert
It is with deep regret the Australian Defence Force announces the death of Private Matthew Lambert during operations in Afghanistan on 22 August 2011. Private Lambert was a member of the Mentoring Task Force - Three and was from the 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (2RAR) based in Townsville, North Queensland.
Private Lambert is survived by his spouse, parents and family.
Private Lambert was born in Kogarah, NSW, in 1985. He joined the Army from southern Queensland enlisting in the 9th Battalion, Royal Queensland Regiment in August 2005, transferring to the Australian Regular Army in February 2007 and posted to 2RAR in Townsville.
Private Lambert is described as a well respected soldier who excelled in any task he was assigned, and was looking forward to serving his country in Afghanistan.
Private Lambert has been awarded the following honours and awards: Australian Active Service Medal with clasp International Coalition Against Terror, Afghanistan Campaign Medal, Australian Service Medal with clasp Timor - Leste, Australian Defence Medal and the Timor – Leste Solidarity Medal.
During Private Lambert’s service in the Australian Army he deployed on the following operations:
OPERATION ASTUTE (East Timor) - June 2009 – November 2009.
OPERATION SLIPPER (Afghanistan) – June 2011 – August 2011.
A portrait of Private Lambert is available from:
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999
15th August 2011 Two Mentoring Task Force soldiers wounded in Uruzgan IED strike
Two Australian soldiers serving with Mentoring Task Force – 3 were wounded overnight (Australian Eastern Time) when the Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle they were travelling in struck an insurgent-laid Improvised Explosive Device.
The blast left one Australian soldier with serious wounds and another suffering minor wounds.
Acting Chief of Joint Operations Rear Admiral David Johnston said the wounded soldiers were treated by their patrol mates at the scene before being quickly evacuated by helicopter for specialist care.
“Both soldiers have received immediate trauma care in the Role 2 Medical Facility at Multi-National Base Tarin Kot and both were later moved to Kandahar for further treatment,” Rear Admiral Johnston said.
“The seriously wounded soldier will move to the Landstuhl Regional Medical Center in Germany for specialist assessment in the coming days, and we will have a clearer understanding of his prognosis for recovery after that.”
The incident occurred during a routine Mentoring Task Force activity in the Mirabad Valley region of Uruzgan province yesterday afternoon (local time).
Both soldiers were travelling in the Bushmaster when the Improvised Explosive Device detonated and they suffered wounds consistent with the concussive force of an explosive blast.
The families of both soldiers have been notified and are receiving support from Defence.
Rear Admiral Johnston said the incident came a short time after another Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle struck a separate insurgent-laid Improvised Explosive Device in the same general area.
“No soldiers have been reported wounded in the initial strike although the Bushmaster did sustain some damage,” Rear Admiral Johnston.
Both damaged vehicles have been recovered to a nearby patrol base.
This incident increases the number of soldiers wounded in action in
Afghanistan this year to 19.
Defence Media Operations - 02 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664
10th August 2011 Insurgent Commander captured in Shah Wali Kot operation
The Afghan Police Provincial Response Company - Uruzgan and Special Operations Task Group have continued their recent operational successes, detaining another key insurgent commander.
The insurgent commander was detained during a partnered operation in the Shah Wali Kot area of Northern Kandahar on the 29th of July.
A highly skilled bomb maker and distributor of improvised explosive device components, it is believed the insurgent commander was also involved in the illicit drugs trade in the region.
The commander of Australian Defence Force personnel deployed in the Middle East, Major General Angus Campbell said the continued pressure against the insurgency and constant removal of insurgent leaders was degrading the insurgency’s operations in and around Uruzgan.
“These targeted operations are opening a noticeable void in the insurgent command structure and continue to deny insurgent’s sanctuary in southern Afghanistan,” Major General Campbell said.
Thirteen insurgent commanders have been detained or killed during deliberate operations over the past three months.
The insurgent commander, who posed a serious threat to coalition forces and the security of the local population, has been transferred to the Detention Facility in Parwan in accordance with Australia’s detainee management framework.
4th August 2011 Afghan led security operation in Uruzgan completes first phase
The Afghan National Army (ANA) continues to expand its security footprint in Uruzgan, successfully completing the first phase of Operation ROSHAN - aimed at allowing basic services to be introduced in the Charmestan region in the east of the province.
Operation ROSHAN is an ANA-planned and led
security operation involving the 3rd Kandak of the 4th
Brigade, with mentoring support from the Australian Mentoring Task
Force – Three (MTF-3).
Commanding Officer of MTF-3 Lieutenant Colonel Chris Smith said the success of the first phase had set the scene for the Provincial Government’s expansion deeper into the eastern reaches of the Mirabad Valley.
“Uruzgan’s Provincial Governor, Governor Shirzad, said he could not send government workers into the area unless their security could be guaranteed. Our purpose is to mentor the 3rd Kandak into the Charmestan Valley to help them establish and maintain security in the area,” Lieutenant Colonel Smith said.
“Insurgent action against people associated
with the Afghan Government has been holding back local development
and the reaction to the 3rd Kandak and MTF-3 partnered
operation had been very positive.
A new security base will be constructed at the main Charmestan Valley intersection to provide Afghan security forces with a permanent local presence and the ability to maintain security.
“We will continue to work with the ANA by helping to construct the security base and to make sure they have the skills to keep insurgents from returning and attacking civilians, including those providing critical health and medical services,” Lieutenant Colonel Smith said.
2 August 2011 - Victoria Cross action
The citation for his VC was gazetted on 6 September 1945, and read:
War Office, 6th September, 1945.
The KING has been graciously pleased to approve the award of the VICTORIA CROSS to:-
No. VX.102142 Private Edward KENNA, 2/4 Australian Infantry Battalion, Australian Military Forces.
In the South West Pacific at Wewak on 15th May, 1945, during the attack on the Wirui Mission features, Private Kenna's company had the task of capturing certain enemy positions. The only position from which observation for supporting fire could be obtained was continuously swept by enemy heavy machine gun fire and it was not possible to bring Artillery or Mortars into action.
Kenna during his military service
Private Kenna's platoon was ordered forward to deal with the enemy machine gun post, so that the company operation could proceed. His section moved as close as possible to the bunker in order to harass any enemy seen, so that the remainder of the platoon could attack from the flank. When the attacking sections came into view of the enemy they were immediately engaged at very close range by heavy automatic fire from a position not previously disclosed. Casualties were suffered and the attackers could not move further forward.
Private Kenna endeavoured to put his Bren gun into a position where he could engage the bunker, but was unable to do so because of the nature of the ground. On his own initiative and without orders Private Kenna immediately stood up in full view of the enemy less than fifty yards away and engaged the bunker, firing his Bren gun from the hip. The enemy machine gun immediately returned Private Kenna's fire and with such accuracy that bullets actually passed between his arms and his body. Undeterred, he remained completely exposed and continued to fire at the enemy until his magazine was exhausted. Still making a target of himself, Private Kenna discarded his Bren gun and called for a rifle. Despite the intense machine gun fire, he seized the rifle and, with amazing coolness, killed the gunner with his first round.
A second automatic opened fire on Private Kenna from a different position and another of the enemy immediately tried to move into position behind the first machine gun, but Private Kenna remained standing and killed him with his next round.
The result of Private Kenna's magnificent bravery in the face of concentrated fire, was that the bunker was captured without further loss, and the company attack proceeded to a successful conclusion, many enemy being killed and numerous automatic weapons captured.
There is no doubt that the success of the company attack would have been seriously endangered and many casualties sustained but for Private Kenna's magnificent courage and complete disregard for his own safety. His action was an outstanding example of the highest degree of bravery.
Three weeks later he was shot in the mouth and spent more than a year in hospital before being discharged from the AIF in December 1946. The following year he married Marjorie Rushberry, a nurse who had cared for him at Heidelberg Military Hospital.
Tuesday, 26 July 2011 VA058
ANZAC DAY HONOURS TO SCHOOLS ACROSS THE NATION
A South Australian primary school and a West Australian high school have been awarded top honours in this year’s Anzac Day Schools’ Awards, announced today by the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon.
The annual Anzac Day Schools’ Awards encourage students to learn about Australia’s wartime history and develop relationships with their local veteran and current serving communities.
Mr Snowdon said this year 18 winners across the country shared in $20,000 of prize money, funded by the Australian Government’s Saluting their Service commemorations program.
“This year’s entries showed exceptional commitment to commemorating the service and sacrifice of Australia’s veterans and current serving members.
“It is great to see the effort, thought and planning that schools have put in to remembering our wartime history and ensuring the commemorations of the Anzacs live on,” he said.
“I congratulate the national winners, Compton Primary School from South Australia and Merredin Senior High School from Western Australia, who showed outstanding initiative in their commemorations,” Mr Snowdon said.
Compton Primary School students captured the history of their town by developing a Trail of Honour commemorating 67 local Second World War veterans. The school held a special service which was well attended by students, families and the wider Mount Gambier community.
Merredin Senior High School students conducted an exceptional research project on former Australian Prisoners of War (POWs). Students studied POWs, including some from their local area, and created an excellent display to tell their stories.
“I strongly encourage all Australian primary and secondary schools to consider sharing how they commemorate and learn about Australia’s wartime history and enter the Anzac Day Schools’ Awards in 2012. The sharing of our veterans’ stories is becoming increasingly important as we look towards the Centenary of the First World War from 2014 to 2018.
“Congratulations to those who entered this year’s competition and I challenge you to think about what you can do next year to increase your learning and build on the relationships with your local veteran and current serving communities,” Mr Snowdon said.
Editors note: A full list of all secondary and primary school winners is attached, more information on the Anzac Day Schools’ Awards can be found at www.dva.gov.au.
Media inquiries: Minister Snowdon: Alice Plate 0400 045 999
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203
2011 Anzac Day Schools’ Awards
Tuesday, 26 July 2011 VA060
REMEMBERING AUSTRALIA’S KOREAN WAR VETERANS
The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon, urged all Australians to take the time to remember the men and women who served in the Korean War tomorrow on Korean Veterans’ Day.
Mr Snowdon said the Korean War is often referred to as the forgotten war.
“Australian troops fought bravely to bring peace to the people of South Korea. More than 17,000 Australians, including around 50 nurses, served from June 1950 to July 1953 and in the post-Armistice period,” he said.
“Some 340 Australians were killed including 43 whom to this day remain listed as missing in action. More than 1,200 were wounded and nearly four million Korean and Chinese soldiers and civilians also lost their lives.”
Mr Snowdon said the contribution of those who served in Korea will never be forgotten.
“This year marks the 60th anniversary of the Battle of Maryang San – the greatest single feat of the Australian Army during the War,” he said.
“At 4am, on 5 October 1951, under heavy mist, the Australians fought through rugged terrain to capture the Chinese frontline. After three days of fierce fighting and against superior enemy numbers, they were able to gain and secure the Maryang San hills. The two previous attempts from American forces had failed.
“In that battle alone, Australian casualties were 20 killed and 104 wounded,”
Mr Snowdon said the battle was significant as it was thought to be the last chance for the UN forces to establish strong defensive positions before the ceasefire and armistice negotiations.
“Australian soldiers distinguished themselves in this battle, as they did throughout the War - showing courage and tenacity despite the very difficult situations they were in.
“The Australians fought with great courage and resolve in helping to ensure the freedom of the South Korean people. It is important we remember those who served, especially those who lost their lives,” Mr Snowdon said.
Editor’s note: Images of the Korean War are available at www.dva.gov.au/media
Media inquiries: Minister Snowdon: Alice Plate 0400 045 999
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203
Tuesday, 26 July 2011 VA059
NEW PROJECT TO RETRACE THE ANZACS FROM ALBANY’S SHORES
Retracing the stories and experiences of Australians who left our shores to fight in the First World War will be part of a new interactive centre in Western Australia being supported today by the Australian Government.
In Albany, Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on the Centenary of Anzac, Warren Snowdon announced the Australian Government would provide $250,000 for a scoping study to help develop an Anzac Interpretive Centre in Albany.
“This is the first project we’ve announced support for in the lead-up to the Anzac Centenary, and we’ve chosen Albany in Western Australia because it holds great significance in our wartime history – and that’s not well known by many Australians.
“The first convoy that departed for the First World War left from Albany in November 1914 and included ships carrying thousands of our soldiers, seamen, airmen and nurses from the eastern states as well as our friends from New Zealand.
“The ships converged on King George’s Sound on the south coast of Western Australia before assembling with vessels carrying troops from the west. Together the convoy of 36 ships then sailed overseas for training exercises and onto the shores of Gallipoli and later the Western Front.”
Mr Snowdon said the Anzac Interpretive Centre will capture the history of the town with the stories of Australians who left on the Australian Imperial Force convoys.
many, leaving the shores of Australia was part of a great adventure
into the unknown and a journey full of exhilaration to fight for the
British Empire and its allies.
Once developed, the Anzac Interpretive Centre will be a place of education for all Australians and in particular our future generations.
“The interactive technology of the Centre will allow visitors to the centre – either online or in person - to retrace the story of an Australian digger or nurse from the moment they left Australian shores to where their First World War experience took them to.
“I’d like to thank the people of Albany for their commitment to this project and I look forward to hearing of the progress made as we head towards 2014,” Mr Snowdon said.
The Centre in Albany was a key focus in the National Commission on the Commemoration of the Anzac Centenary’s report to the Government.
“As we approach the Anzac Centenary the Australian Government is focused on developing educational projects that are accessible to all Australians and building awareness of our wartime heritage,” he said.
Today’s announcement follows the recent appointment of Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston AC, AFC (Ret’d) as Chair of the Anzac Centenary Advisory Board who will progress further development of the centenary planning.
For more information on plans to mark the Anzac Centenary visit www.anzaccentenary.gov.au.
Editor’s note: Images of the Minister’s visit to Albany in April and on this occasion will be available in the Image Gallery at: http://minister.dva.gov.au/
Media inquiries: Minister Snowdon: Alice Plate 0400 045 999
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203
NINE Australian soldiers have been injured, one seriously, during a training exercise on the central Queensland coast.
Defence Department spokesman Brigadier Bob
Brown said an Armoured Personnel Carrier rolled down an embankment
and landed on its turret during Exercise Talisman Sabre 2011
An investigation will be held into the accident.
Tuesday, 19 July 2011
14 AUSTRALIAN WW1 SOLDIERS HONOURED IN FRANCE
The Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Warren Snowdon, today honoured 14 Australian World War One soldiers at a headstone dedication ceremony in Fromelles, France.
Mr Snowdon marked the 95th anniversary of the Battle of Fromelles and joined relatives of the men as named headstones were unveiled at the Fromelles (Pheasant Wood) Military Cemetery.
“These men died during the bloodiest 24 hours in Australia’s military history—and almost a century on, we can finally give them, and their families, the dignity of a known grave,” Mr Snowdon said.
“I am heartened to be able to share this moment with family members of Australian soldiers—it is proof that no matter how many years have passed, Australians do not forget those who have sacrificed their lives in times of war,” he said.
The 14 Australian soldiers from across New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia, Victoria and South Australia were identified by name in April this year. [see list attached]
When added to the 96 Australians identified in 2010 this brings the total named soldiers to 110, all of them Australian, and a further 100 soldiers have been identified as serving with the Australian forces.
Two soldiers have been identified as serving with the British forces and 38 soldiers remain ‘known unto God’.
The project to recover, reinter,
identify and commemorate 250 soldiers discovered in France in 2009
continues until 2014 and relatives of soldiers who died in the
battle are encouraged to contact Army, in efforts to identify the
remaining 140 men.
· Names of 14 Identified soldiers – are listed in the attachment
· Photos of soldiers: A small number of images are available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/fotoweb/Grid.fwx?archiveId=5003&search=20112231
· Contacting relatives - Media wishing to contact the relatives of the soldiers should contact Defence Media Operations on contacts below
Photos of the ceremony
will be available at:
For more information, visit www.army.gov.au/fromelles or call 1800 019 090.
FROMELLES PROJECT - LIST OF 14 AUSTRALIAN SOLDIERS
uesday, 19 July 2011 VA054
WESTERN FRONT PROJECTS HONOUR AUSTRALIAN SERVICE
The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon, today announced Australian Government funding to further honour Australian service on the Western Front during the First World War.
Whilst visiting the site of one of the key battles of World War One at, Passchendaele in Belgium, Mr Snowdon said the Australian Government will provide A$270,000 to help enhance the ‘Memorial Museum Passchendaele 1917’ in Zonnebeke, Belgium.
The existing museum will be expanded to house exhibitions from nations which took part in the Battle of Passchendaele and display artefacts linked to nearby battlefields and interpretive displays.
Mr Snowdon said Australia’s most significant contribution to victory in the First World War was made on the Western Front, and in particular at Passchendaele.
“In eight weeks of fighting in and around Passchendaele the Australian Army suffered around 38,000 casualties including more than 11,200 who were killed in action or died of wounds. To this day, that period remains Australia’s most costly experience of war.
“I’m pleased to announce funding today for a key project that will increase the understanding of our involvement here in the lead-up to the Centenary of the First World War in 2014 to 2018.
“It will help honour the service of more than 290,000 Australians who served on the Western Front and the 46,000 who died,” he said.
The enhanced museum will form part of the Australian Remembrance Trail along the Western Front, which is being established by the Australian Government in conjunction with French and Belgian communities, and local Governments.
The Remembrance Trail will link sites of the most significant Australian battles of the First World War including Ypres and Zonnebeke in Belgium, and Fromelles, Bullecourt, Pozières, Mont St Quentin, Le Hamel and Villers-Bretonneux in France.
For more information on the Trail visit www.dva.gov.au/media.
While in France, Mr Snowdon also met with representatives from the Department of the Somme for discussions on Trail projects in the region and visited several other former battlefields.
He also laid wreaths at the Australian National Memorial, Villers-Bretonneux, the site of annual Anzac Day commemorations, the Ypres (Menin Gate) Memorial to the Missing, and at Tyne Cot Cemetery, the largest Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery in the world.
Media inquiries: Minister Snowdon: Alice Plate 0400 045 999
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203
2 July 2011 MTF-2 hands over reins to MTF-3 in Afghanistan
Australian Defence Force members of Mentoring Task Force – Two (MTF-2) are arriving home to Australia this week after making significant gains in improving security and expanding the Afghan National Security Force’s (ANSF) presence in Uruzgan Province during its eight month deployment to Afghanistan.
A handover parade was held in Uruzgan Province on Saturday, 25 June 2011, with official duties for the Darwin-based 1 Brigade personnel, who made up MTF-2, passing to the Townsville-based Mentoring Task Force – Three (MTF-3).
Chief of Joint Operations, Lieutenant General Ash Power said it had been a high tempo rotation, with the Task Force conducting numerous successful joint operations with the ANSF.
“Through its partnering with the 4th Afghan National Army (ANA) Brigade, MTF-2 contributed markedly to improved security in the Uruzgan Province,” Lieutenant General Power said.
“The Task Force conducted more than 2,500 patrols, locating approximately 130 improvised explosive devices (IED) and more than 380 weapons and explosive caches.”
While there were numerous successes the rotation wasn’t without tragedy, with the deaths of three soldiers, two from the Darwin-based 1st Combat Engineer Regiment, and a member of the Force Support Unit working in support of MTF-2.
Corporal Richard Atkinson was killed in an IED strike on 2 February 2011, and Sapper Jamie Larcombe was killed during an engagement with insurgents in the Mirabad Valley region on 19 February 2011.
On 30 May 2011, Lance Corporal Andrew Jones was killed by a rogue ANA soldier at a Patrol Base in the Chora Valley region.
Nine other soldiers from MTF-2 were wounded in action during the eight-month rotation.
“Despite these casualties, the Task Force displayed remarkable endurance and courage in its pursuit of mentoring the ANA to build positive relationships with the local Afghans and tribal leaders,” Lieutenant General Power said.
The handover marks the start of the tour for MTF-3, led by 2nd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment, and will see the Australian soldiers moving from partnering Afghan patrols to mentoring Afghan Commanders.
Media contact: Defence Media Operations: (02) 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664
29th JUNE 2011 Subject: Fair Indexation Bill
Afternoon Senator Lundy,
My name is Ian McManus, a retired NSW Labor MP and Vietnam Veteran.
It has come to my notice that you may have voted in in the negative recently on a motion, supported by the "peoples" house, against the above bill.
If correct, this is a shameful act against veterans of the past, present and future, who have supported and continue to support the wishes if the governments at every turn.
We, as veterans are being encouraged to fight your decision for the benefit of our young comrades and I find myself at odds ,with a difficult decision--
Do I continue to support the Labor principles instilled in me by my working class family, or do I stand with the veterans I proudly fought alongside and continue to assist where possible, in helping them cope with the traumas, brought about by combat and the failure of the Labor government the recognize them on return to Australia ..
The decision has, in fact been made for me!
In 30 years, as a member of the Labor Party, I continually found greed ,corruption, self-interest,branch stacking and elected representatives who often scoffed at the plight of their constituents . In contrast, I continued to meet with veterans who continue to help each other find peace in their troubled lives.
So Minister, since you have given up on helping these people, who fought to ensure you an exalted position as a Minister of the Crown, I am giving up on the once great ALP.
Countless Millions of taxpayer dollars is pouring out of this country every day to placate countries who have little regard for our way of life, seemingly in a vain effort to win their governments over,at the expense of people like our returned servicemen and women. Please do not reply that financial considerations were at the forefront of your decision given the waste I have outlined
It is hoped that a reflection of this matter may prove to have a reversal of your vote and more in keeping with the views of the elected representatives in the other place. If this decision is not reversed I will take every action possible, to generate a vote which may assist in the government's defeat at the next election.
The veterans of our society need representatives who appreciate and value their service.
Please feel free to forward this email to your colleague Senator Penny Wong
COUNSELLING RECORDS USED AS EVIDENCE IN A PROSECUTION CASE MAY DETER FUTURE SOLDIERS FROM SEEKING COUNSELLING
AUSTRALIAN special forces soldiers fighting in Afghanistan could shun counselling after the psychological records of two commandos cleared over the deaths of civilians were taken by Defence prosecutors for use as evidence against them.
The Herald believes Defence Force investigators seized records of counselling the two men received before and after the event, in which six Afghan civilians - including five children - were killed during a disastrous night raid on a compound in February 2009.
Manslaughter charges against the two soldiers were thrown out by a military judge last month, and the military prosecutor announced last week that she would not lay further charges.
A number of Defence sources have told the Herald that special forces soldiers have been horrified to hear that the records were handed over, and that some have since said they will not see psychologists, in case their records are also used against them.
Civilian psychologists and medical doctors are obliged to hand over patient records when there is a legal obligation to do so, but they must be subpoenaed by the court. It is unclear what the process is within Defence.
It is understood that the prosecutors had the mens' psychological records for a year before telling the Defence Forces, but there was nothing the prosecution deemed relevant enough to use as evidence.
''If you come back from operations and you're feeling uncomfortable, you will hold that in, rather than go to the psychologists,'' one source said.
''That could be a problem, because you could be deployed on future operations without being counselled. If you don't report it, you could also have problems later making a claim with the Department of Veterans Affairs.''
Special forces troops - predominantly Special Air Service troopers and commandos - spend weeks on end operating in the mountains of southern Afghanistan. They are fighting battles against insurgents, and two SAS troopers have won Victoria Crosses in Afghanistan.
The average number of Afghan deployments among them is five or six, but some have done up to 10, leading to concerns that they are becoming mentally and physically worn out as the war approaches its 11th year. ''Unlike after Vietnam, the army will retain these personnel and have to deal with it in-house,'' a source said. ''The US indicators are that we will have huge mental health issues.''
Sources have also said there has been alarm within the Defence Force about the fact a newspaper was able to obtain the Army record of Queensland Liberal National Party leader Campbell Newman under freedom of information laws.
The newspaper then published excerpts, including unflattering assessments of his leadership abilities.
The decision by the military prosecutor to charge the two commandos caused anger within the Defence Force, particularly as the charges were dismissed before they even went to trial. A lieutenant colonel in overall command of the operation has also been charged with offences linked to the raid.
In a statement released by the regimental association last week, the two soldiers said they would carry the burden of the deaths for the rest of their lives.
''We need no reminding that our actions contributed to the death of five innocent children,'' the two soldiers said.
Defence was asked to comment for this story, but did not respond by deadline.
16th July 2011 More women at sea in submarines
Minister for Defence Science and Personnel Warren Snowdon has
cleared the way for more women to serve in Navy submarines by
formally approving shared female and male accommodation on board
A submarine community forum will be held on 23 June in Rockingham,
Western Australia, to inform the broad submarine family of the
implementation plan for the initiative and gather feedback on its
implementation. This will provide opportunity for families and
spouses to gain more information and to have their questions
13 June 2011 Fallen Engineer returns home to his family
Sapper Rowan Robinson, the Incident Response
Regiment Combat Engineer who was killed in Afghanistan last week,
has arrived at RAAF Base Amberley to his waiting family.
“The work of the IRR is at the top end of their game. It is hugely important and dangerous work that contributes enormously to the protection of our troops in Afghanistan,” said Major General Gilmore.
“Sapper Robinson loved this work and was held in high esteem by all who worked with him in Special Operations Command. He was highly regarded for the way he approached each mission with courage and conviction. His death is felt by the entire command.”
The 23-year-old Combat Engineer was killed
during a small-arms engagement with insurgents in southern
Afghanistan on 6 June 2011. He was part of an Afghan National Police
The Incident Response Regiment is made up of highly trained combat engineers who employ their unique skills in direct support of Commandos and Special Air Service Regiment to assist in enabling operations in Australia and overseas.
Imagery is available at:
Defence Media Operations: (02) 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664
8th June 2011 Personal details of Australian soldier killed in Afghanistan
Sapper Rowan Jaie Robinson
It is with deep regret the Australian Defence Force announces the death of Sapper Rowan Jaie Robinson during operations in Afghanistan.
Sapper Robinson was serving with the Special Operations Task Group when he was tragically killed in action on Monday 6 June 2011 (Afghanistan time).
Twenty-three year old Sapper Robinson was from the Sydney based Incident Response Regiment (IRR).
Sapper Robinson leaves behind his loving mother, father, sister and two brothers who are currently receiving support from Defence.
Sapper Robinson was born in Wahroonga, NSW in 1987. He joined the Army in 2006 and after his initial recruit training joined the 3rd Combat Engineer Regiment. After four years of service he was posted to the Incident Response Regiment at the start of 2010 where he completed his reinforcement cycle.
This was Sapper Robinson’s second deployment to Afghanistan, having deployed on Operation Slipper in 2007.
His colleagues described him as a superb young man who was fit, happy go lucky and a great team member. Sapper Robinson was a dedicated and professional soldier whose skill belied his youth. Those who had the pleasure of meeting him instantly warmed to him and his easy going nature made him popular with his peers and chain of command alike.
Sapper Robinson was awarded, the Australian Active Service Medal with clasp: International Coalition Against Terrorism (ICAT), Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Australian Defence Medal and the NATO ISAF Medal. He has also been awarded the Army Combat Badge and the Return from Active Service Badge.
During Sapper Robinson’s service in the Australian Army, he deployed on the following Operations;
a. OPERATION SLIPPER (Afghanistan) – Sep 2007 – Apr 2008.
b. OPERATION SLIPPER
(Afghanistan) – Mar 2011 – Jun 2011.
Imagery is available at: http://images.defence.gov.au/fotoweb/Grid.fwx?archiveId=5003&search=20113012
Defence Media Operations (02) 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664
HMAS Stuart hands over maritime operations in the Middle East to HMAS Toowoomba
The 190 men and women of HMAS Stuart are returning to their home port in Sydney, after a successful six-month deployment to the Middle East conducting maritime operations as part of Operation SLIPPER.
HMAS Stuart has handed over her responsibility for maritime operations in the Middle East to Western Australia-based HMAS Toowoomba, who commenced security operations on 2 June 2011. HMAS Toowoomba’s deployment marks the 26th rotation by a Royal Australian Navy ship to the Middle East Area of Operations since 2001.
The Commanding Officer of HMAS Stuart, Commander Brett Sonter, said during her deployment, Stuart provided maritime security around the Horn of Africa, conducted counter-piracy and anti-smuggling operations in the Gulf of Aden and supported counter-terrorism activities of coalition partners.
“I am extremely proud of the professionalism and commitment that the Ship’s Company demonstrated over the past six months,” Commander Sonter said.
“They have exceeded expectations and presented Navy as highly skilled and an essential coalition partner.”
Over the past six months, Stuart responded to more than 300 maritime enquiries and conducted 19 anti-piracy and verification boardings. She also undertook 11 approach and assist visits, participated in search and rescue operations and helped numerous vessels requiring medical or engineering assistance.
Commander Sonter said among the more notable achievements, was Stuart’s rescue of three Yemeni fishermen held hostage by Somali pirates off the Horn of Africa, and the disabling, by live-fire, of an unoccupied skiff being towed by the pirated ship, Merchant Vessel Sinar Kudus.
“This is an extremely volatile maritime environment and without the unrelenting commitment of my crew, we would never have been able to successfully complete these demanding missions,” Commander Sonter said.
“I would also like to acknowledge the invaluable support of family and friends we received over the past six months. This was vital to the success of our deployment.”
HMAS Stuart will arrive back at Fleet Base East, Garden Island in Sydney on 30 June 2011.
02 June 2011 Stuart Robert MP
Federal Member for Fadden
Shadow Minister for Defence Science, Technology and Personnel
WATERSHED MOMENT IN MILITARY SUPERANNUATION REFORM
All 150 Members of the House of Representatives have today supported the Coalition’s plan for fairer indexation of military superannuation pensions.
Shadow Minister for Defence Science, Technology and Personnel, Stuart Robert MP, today said that the House of Representative’s support for the Coalition’s Private Member’s Motion was very welcome news and cemented the willingness of this Parliament to legislate for the fairer indexation of military superannuation pensions.
‘All Members of the House of Representatives today agreed on the voices with the Coalition’s motion to support the concept of the unique nature of military service and to support the Coalition’s policy to more fairly index military superannuation pensions,’ Mr Robert said.
‘I am very pleased that all Members of the Lower House, including Government, Greens and Independent Members, supported the Coalition’s motion.’
‘This is a watershed moment in the Coalition’s long fight to ensure Australia’s service personnel, past and present, after giving so much to their nation, are able to live out their lives in the knowledge that they have financial security.’
Mr Robert also said that given the strong show of support from all Members of the House of Representatives that he expects the Government, The Greens and Independent Senators would be consistent in their support for the Coalition’s Fair Indexation Bill currently before the Senate; and which calls for the same outcome as contained in this motion.
‘In the face of the overwhelming support expressed by the House of Representatives today, I expect the Gillard Labor Government to drop their petty opposition to the Coalition’s Bill currently before the Senate and vote with their colleagues in the House,’ Mr Robert said.
‘I also again urge all Greens and Independent Senators to vote in support of the Coalition’s Bill given the huge showing of support the Coalition’s policy received today from Lower House MPs.’
Media enquiries: Richard Briedis – 0401 056 054
Address: Parliament House Canberra ACT 2600 Phone (02) 6277 2106 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
TRANSCRIPT: PRESS CONFERENCE WITH MINISTER FOR DEFENCE STEPHEN SMITH AND
CHIEF OF THE DEFENCE FORCE AIR CHIEF MARSHAL ANGUS HOUSTON
Personal details of Australian Soldier killed in Afghanistan
Lance Corporal Andrew Gordon Jones
It is with deep regret the Australian Defence Force announces the death of Lance Corporal Andrew Gordon Jones during operations in Afghanistan on 30 May 2011.
Twenty five year old Lance Corporal Jones was from the 9th Force Support Battalion in Amberley. Lance Corporal Jones was serving with the Force Support Unit. This was his first deployment to Afghanistan.
Lance Corporal Jones leaves behind his loving parents, two younger siblings and girlfriend, who are receiving support from Defence.
Lance Corporal Jones was born in Melbourne, Victoria in 1986. He joined the Army in 2004. After recruit training, he completed his initial employment training as a cook and was posted to the Catering Platoon of the 1st Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment. He was posted to the 9th Force Support Battalion in 2008.
Lance Corporal Jones’ first operational deployment was to East Timor in 2008. His second, to Afghanistan, commenced in November 2010.
Lance Corporal Jones was a loyal, reliable and trustworthy soldier who was dedicated to serving his country. He was a team player who loved his job. He had a quiet personality but enjoyed a joke with his mates.
He was a skilled cook who was the first to volunteer to go on the road or on exercise. In 2010, he was promoted to Lance Corporal upon completing his Junior Leader Course. He displayed definite leadership potential.
His interests included chess, reading, computers, drawing and soccer.
Lance Corporal Jones was awarded the Australian Service Medal with clasp Timor–Leste, and Australian Defence Medal. Lance Corporal Jones will be presented with the Australian Active Service Medal with ICAT Clasp, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal and the NATO ISAF Medal.
During Lance Corporal Jones service in the Australian Army, he deployed on the following Operations:
OPERATION ASTUTE (East Timor) – Jul 2000 – Oct 2000.
OPERATION SLIPPER (Afghanistan) – Nov 2010 – May 2011.
Images of Lance Corporal Jones are available at:
Personal details of Australian Soldier killed in Afghanistan
Lieutenant Marcus Sean Case
It is with deep regret the Australian Defence Force announces the death of Lieutenant Marcus Sean Case during operations in Afghanistan on 30 May 2011.
Lieutenant Case was deployed to Afghanistan as a Heron Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Operator. This was his first deployment to Afghanistan.
Twenty-seven year old Lieutenant Case was from Sydney-based 6th Aviation Regiment.
Lieutenant Case leaves behind his parents and five siblings. He was the youngest of six children. His family is receiving support from Defence.
Lieutenant Case was born in Melbourne, Victoria in 1984. He enlisted in the Active Army Reserves on 25 June 2002 and was posted to 5th/6th Royal Victorian Regiment.
In 2003, he commenced the Commando selection and training process with the 1st Commando Regiment (1Cdo Regt). He was posted to 1Cdo Regt, which included an operational tour to East Timor in 2007.
On 19 March 2008, Lieutenant Case transferred to the Australian Regular Army, undertaking pilot training at the Army Aviation Training Centre, Oakey. On 10 December 2009, he was posted to the 6th Aviation Regiment, Sydney.
Lieutenant Case’s first deployment was in July 2005, when he deployed as an infantryman to Malaysia with Rifle Company Butterworth. In January 2011, he was part of the Aviation Battle Group deployed to Queensland to provide assistance as part of the Australian Defence Force flood relief Operation.
Lieutenant Case was keen and motivated, and was excelling as a pilot. Lieutenant Case lived life to the fullest, taking every opportunity that was given to him and making the most of it. He was always the go-to-man who was able to get the job done.
Lieutenant Case has been awarded the Australian Service Medal with Clasp Timor-Leste and the Australian Defence Medal. Lieutenant Case will be presented with the Australian Active Service Medal with ICAT Clasp, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal and the NATO ISAF Medal.
During Lieutenant Case’s service in the Australian Army, he deployed on the following Operations:
OPERATION ASTUTE (East Timor) (Jun 2007– Sep 2007)
OPERATION Queensland FLOOD ASSIST (Queensland) – Jan 2011
OPERATION SLIPPER (Afghanistan) - May 2011
Media contact: Defence Media Operations: (02) 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664
30 May 2011
Sergeant Brett Wood returns home to his family
A Ramp Ceremony will occur to honour the return to Australia of Sergeant (Sgt) Brett Wood of Sydney-based 2nd Command Regiment (2 Cdo Regt) at RAAF Base Richmond.
Sergeant Wood was killed in action as a result of the explosion of an Improvised Explosive Device on Monday 23 May 2011. He was serving with the Special Operations Task Group.
A military camera team will provide pool vision to metropolitan television stations after 5pm. Please contact Regional Public Affairs Manager – NSW, Ben Wickham (02) 9359 2785 or 0411 203 579 for details on accessing the vision.
Imagery will be available from the Defence website.
Defence Media Operations: (02) 6127 1999 or 0408 498 664
the speech given at Ft Rucker when they retired the last Huey:
As a Vietnam Veteran Army Aviator, I would like to thank everyone
for coming to this special occasion, on this to be honest...very sad
day, the end of a era. An era that has spanned over 50 years. The
retirement of this grand old lady "OUR MOTHER" ... the Huey.
External legal review of allegations of abuse in Defence
The Minister for Defence, Stephen Smith MP, announced on 11 April 2011 an external legal review of the large number of allegations of sexual or other forms of abuse that have been raised since the recent Australian Defence Force Academy incident.
The external legal review is being conducted by the law firm DLA Piper (formerly DLA Phillips Fox). The Review team is led by DLA Piper Special Counsel, Dr Gary Rumble, assisted by former Commonwealth Ombudsman and DLA Piper Special Counsel, Professor Dennis Pearce AO, and by partner Melanie McKean.
The Review team will make an initial legal assessment of all complaints and allegations raised with the office of the Minister for Defence, the Department of Defence, or reported in the media since 1 April 2011 to put the Government in a position to make further decisions about how to deal with these matters.
The Attorney General’s Department and the Ombudsman’s office support this process.
Current and former Defence personnel (including members of the Australian Defence Force) may make or refer allegations relating to sexual or other forms of abuse in Defence to the review until 17 June 2011.
The Minister also requests community associations and Australian media outlets that may have been notified of complaints or allegations to provide any information about those matters which they can reveal to the review by 17 June 2011.
New Chief of Joint Operations announced
The Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, today announced the appointment of Major General Brian (Ash) Power to the position of Chief of Joint Operations effective from 20 May.
Major General Power will be promoted to Lieutenant General tomorrow prior to taking up the role.
“I am delighted to announce the appointment of Ash Power to this very important and demanding position,” Air Chief Marshal Houston said.
“Major General Power has held several key operational and senior staff appointments including: Commander of the 1st Brigade; Commander of the 1st Division; Director, Coalition Planning Group at Central Command in the USA; and Head of Military Strategic Commitments.
“His active service deployments have included Colonel Operations, Headquarters International Force East Timor (INTERFET); Chief of Staff Headquarters Peace Monitoring Group in Bougainville; and most recently in Afghanistan as the Deputy Chief of Staff, Strategic Partnering (Ministry of Defence), Kabul.
“I know all our military operations will benefit from the experience Ash brings to this position. I congratulate him on his appointment and wish him well in his new role.”
Air Chief Marshal Houston also thanked the outgoing Chief of Joint Operations, Lieutenant General Mark Evans, for his work in the position over the past three years.
“Mark has done a remarkable job and deftly led ADF operations throughout his tenure,” Air Chief Marshal Houston said.
“He oversaw the implementation of our new command and control arrangements with the opening of the integrated Headquarters Joint Operations Command organisation at Bungendore.
“As a result, we now have a much more effective and efficient operational level command and control capability for all ADF operations and major exercises around the world.
“Mark is also a former Commander of Australian forces in the Middle East; Head Personnel Executive; Deputy Chief of Joint Operations; and Commander of the 1st Division. I wish him all the very best for the future and I pass on my gratitude for a job well done.”
Imagery can be found at:
Monday, 2 May 2011 MECC 168/11
Australian Herons achieve record flying hours
The fourth rotation (ROT 4) of Australia’s Heron Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) Detachment in Kandahar, Afghanistan, has set a unit record for monthly flying hours. Commanding Officer Heron RPA Detachment - ROT 4 Wing Commander Greg Wells said his personnel had achieved 475 hours during April.
"This exceeds the efforts of previous Heron rotations and means we have reached a point where we are able to achieve a significant amount of time on station providing an all-important ‘eye in the sky’ for our troops,” Wing Commander Wells said.
“One of the advantages of Heron is it can stay airborne for a very long time. We deliver enhanced situational awareness to our soldiers, which is vital in helping them achieve their mission on the ground.”
“The success of Heron is a combination of both smart technology and people. A typical Heron mission involves a lot of work from a very small team of specialists, ranging from engineers to intelligence officers, imagery analysts and pilots.”
The Heron team comprises 28 Australian and New Zealand Defence Force personnel. The tri-service unit has logged more than 4600 total flight hours since beginning operations in January last year.
Dubbed ‘Bluey’ by the Australians, the Heron can fly for up to 24 hours and is a key asset in the conduct of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions in the Afghanistan theatre of operations. It helps to protect Australian and Coalition forces, as well as Afghan civilians, from insurgent activity, including the laying of improvised explosive devices.
Information collected by the Heron is analysed and processed in real time. This means the commander has the benefit of having eyes on a target to build a more accurate picture of the battlespace.
Heron are operated from a ground base, controlled by trained pilots and can withstand a range of weather conditions.
“Every suspicious activity we investigate and every improvised explosive device activity we identify is potentially a life saved,” Wing Commander Wells said.
“We are very proud of the record-breaking milestone the team has achieved this month, and we will continue to push our performance to exceed this in the future.”
Heron ROT 4 currently operates three airframes forming part of a larger International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) RPA capability in Afghanistan. The Australian Heron RPAs are unarmed.
Saturday, 30 April 2011 MECC 166/11
On 29 April 2011, Australian Special Forces killed a prominent Uruzgan insurgent during an Afghan National Police-led operation in Tarin Kot in Uruzgan province.
Hayat Ustad, a known insurgent leader, drew a pistol and attempted to shoot members of the Australian Special Forces. Acting in self defence, the Australian Special Forces then shot and killed the insurgent.
Commanding Officer of the Special Operations Task Force Lieutenant Colonel G (who cannot be named for security reasons) said Ustad was a key insurgent leader in Uruzgan.
“He was a highly influential insurgent and key logistician with links to other senior insurgent leaders in southern Afghanistan,” Lieutenant Colonel G said.
“Ustad was responsible for arms smuggling, transporting weapons and fighters, and improvised explosive device construction. He was also heavily involved in the coordination, direction and planning of suicide-bomb attacks.”
The death of Ustad marks the latest successful operation in which a key insurgent leader has been killed or captured by Provincial Response Company–Uruzgan officers and their SOTG partners since their concerted offensive campaign began last month.
The operation was conducted with strict adherence to Australian rules of engagement, and, as a result, there were no civilian casualties or collateral damage.
Provincial Response Company - Uruzgan (PRC-U)
and Special Operations Task Group (SOTG) continue to attack the
command and control networks of insurgent groups preparing for
operations as the weather improves in Uruzgan.
Friday 29th April 2011 When trained by the best ,this happens.
Artillery training team hits mark
The Afghan National Army (ANA) Artillery
Training School in Kabul has reached an important milestone with its
first graduates joining Afghan and ISAF combat elements in Kandahar
Monday, 25 April 2011 Speech
MINISTER SNOWDON’S ANZAC DAY LONE PINE ADDRESS
Fellow Australians, veterans, visitors from around the world, distinguished guests and
particularly those in uniform.
The Lone Pine memorial where we are gathered today is Australia’s memorial to the missing.
Almost half of the Australians killed at Gallipoli - over four thousand men - have no known grave.
The wall behind me lists the names of those men.
Seven hundred of our New Zealand brothers, who fought with us in the battles of August 1915, are also commemorated here.
It is a solemn reminder of the great cost of war, for two small nations from across the globe fighting on Turkish soil.
And what a cost it was.
The four day battle of Lone Pine saw more than 2000 Australian casualties with more than 6900 Turkish losses.
Those losses sustained for the Anzacs to gain ground of little tactical value.
Ultimately the sacrifice, the suffering, the losses were futile.
My grand father's brother, Thomas Ernest Snowdon, was one of the Anzacs here.
He was a member of the 8th Infantry Battalion, which landed at Gallipoli as day was breaking on the 25th of April, 1915.
They were involved in what became known as the 'Battle of the Landing'---the period of fighting that lasted from the first day until early May.
They were also engaged here at the attack on Lone Pine.
During the fighting on 7th August, Tom’s mates were holed up in an underground tunnel, camouflaged by bushes.
Tom was standing on the ladder at the opening to the tunnel, watching the 3rd wave of Anzacs advancing into Lone Pine as three large calibre Turkish shells exploded.
The first two landed nearby.
The third shell landed right on target.
His mates were buried, with only three pulled alive from the rubble.
Tom suffered a head wound, burst ear drum and a few broken ribs.
He was evacuated to Egypt, where he recovered and returned to Gallipoli in October, as the campaign here was coming to an end.
It is hard to imagine the intensity of the fight, or the brutality and devastation of those few days in early August.
Wave after wave of men were sent ‘over the top’ in broad daylight to charge enemy trenches less than one hundred metres away.
Thousands went to their death.
Pompey Elliott, the commander of the Seventh Battalion at Lone Pine wrote of the battlefield:
When anyone speaks to you of the glory of war, picture to yourself a narrow line of trenches two and sometimes three deep with bodies mangled and torn beyond descriptions…
"Live amongst this for days…
This is war and such is glory –
Whatever the novelists may say"
In the days that followed the attack on the 6th of August Lone Pine was besieged by the sight and smells of death.
Bodies were lying everywhere, in places piled on top of one another.
As one soldier wrote:
"Right beside me, within a space of fifteen feet I can count fourteen of our boy’s stone dead...
Men and boys who yesterday were full of joy and life, now lying there, cold-cold-dead- their eyes glassy, their faces sallow and covered with dust
Soulless-gone- somebody's son,
Somebody’s boy--now merely a thing.
Thank God their loved ones cannot see them now"
His was a shocking picture of the horror and inhumanity of the campaign on the Peninsula.
It was bloody and relentless.
Many of those Anzacs who survived the eight month long campaign here at Gallipoli were only to perish later on the Western Front.
For them Gallipoli had only been the beginning.
They travelled to a new theatre, to fight a different foe.
And there to suffer enormous casualties and loss of life from among their number.
Today we recall the great bravery, the sheer determination and the tragic sacrifice of these great Australian sons.
The Battle of Lone Pine was fought bravely by all involved.
The Anzacs held this place against great odds.
But our young nations would come to realise that that this brief victory was too costly, too devastating.
We pause at this time for reflection and for remembrance.
We honour those courageous young diggers, those heroes.
And we learn from them.
The service and sacrifice of those that have gone before have helped us better understand the conditions and effects of battle.
So that we might better look after our people that we put in harm’s way.
Today, our forces wherever they are across the globe, carry with them the Anzac spirit so proudly displayed on these bloodied battlefields.
They serve and fight for us in the hope of making this world a better place.
For those who fought so bravely here at Lone Pine and to all those who have worn our uniform over the last century...
In so many places, in so many battles...
Including those who now proudly wear it.
We salute you.
We thank you for your service, for your determination;
For your courage;
For you commitment and for your sacrifice.
And we celebrate the loyalty, the love you have for one another.
And our hearts cry for those who have fallen.
We forever honour their memory, and proudly pay tribute to their sacrifice.
Lest we forget.
Media inquiries: Minister Snowdon: Alice Plate – email@example.com
Wednesday 6th April 2011
Largs Bay acquisition
Minister for Defence Stephen Smith and Minister for Defence Materiel Jason Clare today announced that Australia has been successful in its bid to acquire the United Kingdom’s Bay Class amphibious ship Largs Bay.
The Government has previously announced that it had asked Defence to develop new and comprehensive options to ensure transition to Australia’s Canberra Class amphibious Landing Helicopter Dock ships, which become operational from 2014, including the lease or purchase of a Bay Class Ship from the UK Government.
Today, the Government is confirming that Australia has been successful in its bid to acquire a Bay Class ship, Largs Bay.
The ship weighs
16,000 tonnes. It is 176 metres long and 26 metres wide.
Its flight deck has room for two large helicopters and can also
carry around 150 light trucks and 350 troops.
The ship has been acquired for £65 million (approximately $100 million).
Teekay Shipping Australia has thoroughly inspected the ship and found that: “The ship presents very well, and from a technical point of view, there are no major defects.”
Before the acquisition is finalised, Defence and the Royal Australian Navy will conduct sea trials to confirm the material state of the ship.
The ship is expected to arrive by the end of the year in time for it to be operational in early 2012.
will announce further details of the transition plan for Australia’s
amphibious ship capability to provide this essential capability
until arrival of the Canberra Class in due course.
Saturday, 26 March 2011
Today in France a plaque dedicated to the Australian soldiers who were killed in Bapaume in the First World War will be unveiled.
On the night of 25 March 1917, the Town Hall of Bapaume was destroyed by a bomb left by the retreating occupying German forces. About 30 men were sleeping in the building at the time. Twenty-five men were killed in the explosion – 19 of them were Australians.
The Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon, said he was pleased the Australian Government was able to contribute €1000 (A$1420) to the installation of the plaque through the Overseas Privately-Constructed Memorials Restoration Program.
“The unveiling of this plaque in Bapaume is a tribute to the fine Australian soldiers who lost their lives that night in 1917. The plaque will be affixed to the outside of the new Town Hall, where there is also a tribute to two French parliamentarians who were killed in the same explosion.”
Mr Snowdon said he was touched by the ongoing affection the people of France have for Australians, as demonstrated by this tribute.
“The Australians who fought with the Allies along the Western Front in the First World War created a strong impression on the local people and Australia continues to enjoy the support of many communities. An example of this is the school in Fromelles called ‘Ecole des Cobbers’ whose emblem is a kangaroo.
“In the lead-up to Anzac Day – a time of importance to all Australians – it’s important to remember our Allies in the First World War, many of whom also mark Anzac Day. In France, Anzac Day is commemorated with a full day of services including a dawn service at Villers-Bretonneux, which is only 50 kilometres from Bapaume,” Mr Snowdon said.
The Overseas Memorials Restoration Program also recently contributed funds to improve Second World War memorials in Indonesia and Malaysia.
A grant of A$2,400 was made to clean, paint and reseal plaques on the Tarakan War Memorial that commemorates the Tarakan campaign in Indonesia. A further A$7,520 funded a new fence around the commemorative area of the Last Camp Memorial in Malaysia, which is believed to be the last camp site of the survivors of the Sandakan-Ranau Death Marches.
More information about Anzac Day commemorations and Department of Veterans’ Affairs’ grants is available from the website: www.dva.gov.au
Media inquiries: Minister Snowdon: Alice Plate 0400 045 999
Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203
Thursday, 24 March 2011
Navy opens high-tech warship simulator
Friday, 4 March 2011
Australian Government accepts offer of Japanese War Records
The Australian Government welcomes Japanese Foreign Minister Maehara’s apology to Australian Prisoners of War (POWs) for the horrors they endured under Japanese control in World War II.
Foreign Minister Maehara’s apology was made in a spirit of reconciliation during the visit to Japan of five former Australian POWs and their carers under the auspices of the Japan-POW Friendship Group.
Foreign Minister Maehara also announced Japan would return to Australia historical records of former Australian POWs held by Japan during World War II.
The Minister for Foreign Affairs, Kevin Rudd and Minister for Veterans’ Affairs and Defence Science and Personnel, Warren Snowdon, thanked the Japanese Government.
“I welcome their offer which is made in the spirit of cooperation. These index cards were originally offered to Australia by the Japanese Government in 1953, but the Australian Government of the time chose not to take up the offer, believing that they would not contain any new information,” Mr Rudd said.
Minister Snowdon said the Japanese records may shed light on the fate of the members of Lark Force, many of whom were lost when the Japanese transport Montevideo Maru was sunk by a US submarine in 1942.
“The Government recognises that there are families who remain uncertain about the fate of those captured by the Japanese during World War II," said Mr Snowdon.
“In recent years, the Rabaul and Montevideo Maru Society have maintained interest in the fate of Australian prisoners of war and have pressed the Australian Government to seek access to the card system."
The records are expected to be housed in the Australian War Memorial.
Wednesday 23rd February 2011
THE HON. WARREN SNOWDON MP
Minister for Defence Science and Personnel
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs
SENATOR DAVID FEENEY
Parliamentary Secretary for Defence
Australian Government supports veterans to attend Long Tan Medal ceremonies
Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon, and Parliamentary Secretary for Defence, David Feeney, today clarified information about support provided to veterans to attend two medals ceremonies related to the Battle of Long Tan.
Minister Snowdon said ‘It has been alleged the Commonwealth did not provide support to relevant veterans to attend individual awards which were invested in Canberra on 17 August last year.
‘Let me set the record straight. The Australian Government offered to fly veterans and a guest to Canberra for their individual medal ceremonies. Two of the three participants chose not to attend and their medals were then forwarded at their request.’
‘Furthermore, a second ceremony will take place for the presentation of the Unit Citation for Gallantry to 6RAR at their base at Enoggera Barracks in Brisbane in August this year. The Australian Government will also fund reasonable transport costs of relevant veterans involved in the ceremony.’
should be a cause for great satisfaction to the ex-service community,
and to Vietnam veterans in particular,’ Minister Snowdon said.
Senator David Feeney, Parliamentary Secretary for Defence said ‘The government has the greatest respect for all our Vietnam veterans, including the veterans of Long Tan.
‘I particularly recognise the great gallantry shown by Lieutenant Colonel Smith, who was Officer Commanding D Company, 6RAR, at Long Tan. I welcome the fact that after independent investigations it has been decided to upgrade the honours awarded to these veterans and to 6RAR as a unit,’ Senator Feeney said.
In August 1966 the 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, (6RAR) fought a major engagement near Long Tan in South Vietnam, in which 18 Australians and a large number of Vietnamese communist troops were killed.
Long Tan veterans campaigned for many years for greater recognition both for individuals who took part in the battle and for 6RAR as a unit. After a long investigation, and two independent reviews, the Government announced in August 2008 that four Long Tan veterans would be offered individual medals, and that 6RAR would be awarded the Unit Citation for Gallantry. The individual veterans were Lieutenant Colonel (ret) Harry Smith, Major (ret) Geoff Kendall, 2nd Lieutenant (ret) Dave Sabben, and the late Flight Lieutenant Cliff Dohle.
office: Alice Plate 0400 045 999
20th February 2011
Australian soldier killed in Afghanistan
An Australian Army combat engineer serving with Mentoring Task Force – Two (MTF-2), Sapper Jamie Larcombe, was killed in action during an engagement with insurgents in the Mirabad Valley region of Uruzgan Province overnight (Australia time).
An Afghan local national employed as an interpreter was also killed in the exchange of fire.
The Chief of the Defence Force, Air Chief Marshal Angus Houston, said Sapper Larcombe was 21 years old and from the Darwin-based 1st Combat Engineer Regiment.
“Sapper Larcombe had just passed the third anniversary of his enlistment into the Army, which was on the 18th of February. In that time, Jamie had served on Operation Padang Assist and this was his first tour to Afghanistan,” Air Chief Marshal Houston said.
Sapper Larcombe is survived by his parents, three younger sisters and his partner. They are a very close family, and can be very proud of Jamie.”
Air Chief Marshal Houston said the soldiers were patrolling in area to the South East of Patrol Base Wali when they were engaged by an insurgent group.
“Unfortunately both our soldier and his interpreter comrade were struck by gunshots in that engagement and despite immediate first aid were unable to be saved,” Air Chief Marshal Houston said.
“A coalition helicopter was launched to evacuate the two men but on arrival at the Multinational Base – Tarin Kot medical facility they were declared deceased.
“Our thoughts are with Sapper Larcombe’s family and friends.
“This is also another tragic day for the ADF, for the Army, our personnel in Afghanistan and especially, our sapper community.”
Defence is now focused on supporting Sapper Larcombe’s family.
Defence will not release further personal details at this time.
Twenty-three soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan since the ADF commenced Operation SLIPPER.
Four Australian soldiers have been wounded in Afghanistan this year, with 168 ADF personnel wounded in action since 2002.
Minister for Veterans' Affairs Media Release
Monday, 14 February 2011
Today the Minister for Veterans’ Affairs, Warren Snowdon, encouraged Australians to honour the more than 280,000 young men who were conscripted for military service between 1951 and 1972.
“Today is National Service Day, and every year, on the 14th of February we honour the role of the young men known as ‘Nashos’, who were called up in two different service schemes.
“In particular, we honour the more than 200 conscripts who gave their lives while serving Australia in Borneo and in Vietnam, in battles such as Long Tan and the Battle of Coral and Balmoral.
“National Servicemen were not volunteers, but when called on they performed their duties with courage and commitment. The Servicemen could request not to be sent overseas, but most chose to deploy with their mates when their units were sent to Borneo or Vietnam. Australia owes them a great debt of gratitude,” Mr Snowdon said.
In September last year, Australia formally recognised the contribution of national servicemen when the Governor-General, Ms Quentin Bryce AC, dedicated the new National Service Memorial at the Australian War Memorial in Canberra. Some 4,000 former national servicemen and their families attended the opening of the memorial fountain. The Government contributed $250,000 towards the cost of the memorial and the dedication reception at Parliament House.
The National Servicemen’s Association of Australia conducts services in capital cities and regional centres on National Service Day, 14 February, or on the closest weekend to that date.
For information about national service, go to the Department of Veterans’ Affairs Media Centre at www.dva.gov.au and look for Media Backgrounders.
Media inquiries: Minister Snowdon: Alice Plate 0400 045 999
Dept of Veterans’ Affairs Media: 02 6289 6203
Monday 14th February 2011
WARREN SNOWDON MP
3rd February 2011 AUSTRALIAN SOLDIER KILLED IN INSURGENT BLAST
An Australian soldier serving with Mentoring Task Force -2 (MTF-2) was killed in an Improvised Explosive Device strike yesterday afternoon (Australia time).
A second soldier was seriously wounded in the blast which occurred during the partnered Afghan National Army and MTF-2 patrol as it moved through the Tangi Valley in the Deh Rawud region.
Acting Chief of the Defence Force Lieutenant General David Hurley said the death of the soldier would heavily impact on the predominantly Darwin-based unit.
“Immediately after the blast Australian and Afghan soldiers moved to secure the scene and do everything they could to help their mates,” Lieutenant General Hurley said.
Weather conditions in Uruzgan at the time of the incident were extremely poor.
"Rain, low cloud and large dust storms significantly reduced visibility. This created some initial difficulty launching the aero medical helicopter, but the US air crew persevered in the dangerous conditions to get the aircraft off the ground within a few minutes.
"The aircrew's actions meant the wounded Australians reached medical care within an hour" said Lieutenant General Hurley.
The wounded soldier remains in a satisfactory condition.
Corporal Richard Edward Atkinson was 22 years old and from the Darwin based 1st Combat Engineer Regiment (1CER). He is survived by his fiancé, parents and brother.
This was Corporal Atkinson's first deployment to Afghanistan. He had previously deployed with 1CER to Indonesia on a humanitarian assistance mission, Operation Padang Assist.
Defence is now focused on supporting the families of those involved in the incident.
"In the past few weeks Australian soldiers have been working with their Afghan partners from a new patrol base (Patrol Base Qarib) in the Tangi Valley. They have successfully discovered several insurgent caches, including large amounts of explosives.
"Despite these small but significant successes, we must not forget that our soldiers are undertaking a difficult and dangerous mission. Corporal Atkinson's mates face some difficult days ahead as they prepare to send him home to his family" Lieutenant General Hurley said.
"I know they will continue their mission with courage and honour."
Twenty-two soldiers have been killed in Afghanistan since the ADF commenced Operation SLIPPER.
Four Australian soldiers have been wounded in Afghanistan this year with 168 ADF personnel wounded in action since 2002.
MSPA 334/10 Monday, 2 August 2010
wounded in Afghanistan
MSPA 331/10 Saturday, 31
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