Home' Defence Magazine : Issue 9 2009 Contents 28
Lives saved, bravery recognised
During september, sergeant Damion King
of 1st Combat services support Regiment
received a Commendation for Brave
Conduct after rescuing two personnel from a
submerged army ambulance in February 2008.
Privates Matthew Pullen and Aimian
Magyak were driving the vehicle as part of a
driving course, and had to negotiate a flooded
roadway after their convoy passed Corroboree
Park in the Northern Territory.
When their vehicle was swept off the road
into the flooded creek, the vehicle immediately took
on water and the cabin of the vehicle was entirely
submerged. Sergeant King was travelling in the
vehicle behind the ambulance, and when he saw what
happened, immediately jumped into the water to assist.
As a result of Sergeant King’s actions, Privates
Pullen and Magyak were safely returned to the
roadside and the vehicle was later recovered by
the unit’s recovery element.
aDF responds to samoan earthquake
The Royal australian air Force led an
aDF-wide response by providing significant
air-lift support to the australian Government’s
humanitarian relief effort for victims of the
earthquake and tsunami in samoa.
Up to three Royal Australian Air Force flights
into Samoa took place on 1 October, transporting
Australian Government officials and emergency
aid into the disaster affected region. The first of
these flights was a C-17 Globemaster carrying
emergency humanitarian stores and medical
personnel from RAAF Base Richmond.
Operation Padang assist
Just one day later, the aDF launched Operation
Padang assist, its Indonesian earthquake
relief effort, following the acceptance by
the Indonesian Government of an offer of
emergency assistance from australia.
The ADF established a Joint Task Force of
military and government agencies to provide
the best possible assistance to the Australian
Government response effort in Indonesia.
One week later, relief efforts delivered
medical treatment, fresh drinking water and tonnes
of humanitarian aid into the region.
The ADF teams departed RAAF bases Darwin,
Richmond and Amberley soon after the earthquake
and quickly established themselves in the city
of Padang and outlying areas destroyed in the
disaster, assessing medical and engineering needs.
RAAF C-130 Hercules, flying missions in and
out of Padang from Jakarta, ferried 250 tonnes of
equipment and emergency aid from United States,
the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Japan, Thailand,
Singapore and Indonesia so far.
With the cooperation of AusAID and the
Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the ADF
has managed a graduated and measured response
to the needs of the earthquake victims.
Initial assessments indicated that fresh
drinking water was the number one priority for
the people of Padang as the local water treatment
plant, supplying 60 per cent of the city’s water, had
been damaged in the earthquake. Darwin-based
1st Combat Engineer Regiment, using an ADF
water purification plant, produced about 10 000
litres an hour of fresh water a day after arriving.
Joint operation takes fight to Taliban
a joint afghan national army, australian
Defence Force, Dutch and us operation
worked to remove Taliban insurgents from the
Mirabad area, located east of Tarin Kowt.
Under the name of Operation Baz Panje,
meaning Falcon’s Talon, the combined force was
air-lifted by helicopter into the region in a major
air mobile operation on 25 September, with ground
operations commencing immediately.
Defence Base security Review
Defence announced that it is implementing
a range of policy and physical security
measures which reflect the findings of a
recent review into Defence base security, and
the subsequent security risk assessments now
being conducted at each base.
The review, which followed an alleged
terrorist plot to attack Holsworthy Army Barracks,
examined security arrangements at Defence bases
and facilities around Australia.
The 12th Defence strategic Dialogue
between australia and China occurred in
Canberra on 15 October. The offices of the
secretary and Chief of Defence Force met
with the People’s Liberation army Chief of
General staff, General Chen Bingde.
This is the second time the talks have been held
at this level. The talks were upgraded to the Chief of
Defence/Secretary level last year in recognition of
the developing ties between the two militaries.
The Secretary of Defence, Dr Watt, said
that the Dialogue was an opportunity to exchange
views on emerging strategic trends and establish
a new series of engagement initiatives in
education and areas of shared interest such as
disaster relief and maritime security.
Vale: Lance Corporal Mason edwards
Lance Corporal Mason edwards, a soldier
from the army’s 2nd Commando Regiment, was
seriously injured and later pronounced dead
at the scene by civilian medical personnel
during a training accident at Cultana, south
australia on the evening of 20 October.
The activity was associated with mission-specific
training for an upcoming Afghanistan deployment.
Another soldier from the Incident Response
Regiment was injured and taken to Port Augusta in
a serious condition for treatment.
The family of Lance Corporal Mason Edwards
also released a personal message.
“As a beloved son, brother, uncle, and partner,
Mason meant the world to us. He was so strong
and yet the most gentle, caring, and loving man
you would ever meet,” the statement said.
“He made us laugh every time we were together
and his easygoing attitude was infectious. Our hearts
ache for Mason, and there aren’t enough words to
describe him as a person and how we felt about him.”
Defence commemorated Remembrance Day
at various ceremonies across australia and
overseas, as australians paused to remember
those men and women who died or suffered in
all wars on 11 november.
A bugler joined a Catafalque Party and Flag Party
ceremony at Darwin’s Cenotaph. In Victoria, four RAAF
PC9 aircraft from Central Flying School and a vintage
Mustang aircraft from the Point Cook RAAF Museum
conducted flypasts over the Shrine of Remembrance.
Perth also saw four RAAF PC9 aircraft flypast
various landmarks including the Kings Park State
War Memorial and the City of Perth Civic Centre.
In Queensland, a poppy laying ceremony was
held in the Memorial Garden at the main gates of
RAAF Base Amberley, as well as a commemoration
service at the Shrine in Brisbane’s Anzac Square.
In Canberra, Headquarters Joint Operations
Command held a service and dedicated a memorial
for the 29 Australian Defence Force personnel who
have died on operations in the ten years since the
original headquarters was formed.
Ranaudo, 22, was killed
by an anti-personnel
explosive device in
afghanistan on 18 July.
Private Ranaudo was a
member of the Townsville-
based 1st Battalion, the Royal Australian
Regiment. He was a member of the Mentoring and
Reconstruction Task Force in Afghanistan and was
killed while on operations north of Tarin Kowt.
Chief of the Defence Force Air Chief Marshal
Angus Houston extended his deepest condolences
to the family and friends of Private Ranaudo.
“Private Benjamin Ranaudo was a
professional soldier who served enthusiastically
and with distinction. His career record speaks to a
young man, very well trained, with an extraordinary
array of completed courses. Benjamin was clearly
dedicated to his career as a soldier and committed
to the profession of arms. He died ensuring that
terrorist groups do not have Afghanistan as a base
from which they can plan and mount attacks,” Air
Chief Marshal Houston said.
Ceremony marks the end
of Operation Catalyst in Iraq
a short flag-lowering ceremony, attended
by the Commander of australian Forces in
the Middle east, Major General Mark Kelly,
was held at 1600 on 28 July to mark the end
of Operation Catalyst in Iraq. The ceremony
was held on top of the Roundhouse building –
which had been used as accommodation for
australian personnel – at aussie Island
in Camp Victory.
Following the ceremony, the last Australian
personnel associated with Operation Catalyst
departed for Baghdad International Airport, where
they boarded a Royal Australian Air Force C-130
Hercules to begin their journey home.
Pacific Partnership 2009
HMa ships Betano and Wewak joined the
Humanitarian Civic assistance Mission
Pacific Partnership 2009, enabling the delivery
of vital medical, dental, engineering and
veterinary aid to Tonga and the solomon
Islands from 13 July to 23 august.
Capable of moving large amounts of cargo,
personnel and equipment from the 23 852-tonne
light US Merchant Navy vessel USNS Richard.E.Byrd
to key shore locations, the Australian ships were
essential to the success of the mission.
Operation ashika assist
australian Defence Force members arrived
in Tonga early in the morning on 8 august to
help recover bodies from the sunken ferry
The 16-person clearance diving team and
support personnel, responded to an official request
from the Government of Tonga for Australian
assistance in recovery operations.
Navy divers from Clearance Diving Team One
worked with counterparts from the Royal New Zealand
Navy, in support of the Tongan Defence Service.
The Princess Ashika sunk during a regular
weekly service, carrying an estimated 149
people aboard. A Tongan patrol boat recovered
two bodies and 54 survivors, including 28 crew
members from the ferry.
Loss of HMas sydney II
The Chief of the Defence Force, air Chief
Marshal angus Houston, said HMas Sydney
II was lost with all hands on 19 november
1941, following an engagement with the
German raider, HsK Kormoran, off the Western
“For a long time our nation has struggled to
understand how our greatest maritime disaster
occurred,” Air Chief Marshal Houston said. “The
unanswered questions have haunted the families of
those brave sailors and airmen that never came home.”
President of the Commission, the Honourable
Terence Cole, AO, RFD, QC, said that the Inquiry’s key
findings confirm that accounts provided by the HSK
Kormoran survivors of Sydney II’s last movements
and of the damage she sustained during the
engagement with the German raider were correct.
Identification of Kokoda victims begin
The australian and Papua new Guinea
Defence Forces, along with australian Federal
Police and PnG authorities, extracted the last
of the remains of those that died in the airlines
PnG crash near Kokoda in august.
Using Army Black Hawk helicopters, as
well as Air Force Caribou transport aircraft, the
ADF provided food, water, and supplies to those
working in the remote location.
Defence welcomes new secretary
Chief of the Defence Force air Chief Marshal
angus Houston welcomed Dr Ian Watt as
the new secretary of the Department of
Defence on 18 august.
Dr Watt joined Defence after his seven-year
appointment as Secretary of the Department of
Finance and Deregulation, and former role as
Secretary of the Department of Communications,
Information Technology and the Arts.
Air Chief Marshal Houston also paid tribute to
the outgoing Secretary, Mr Nick Warner.
“Nick and I have enjoyed a very close and trusting
relationship and I have valued his wise counsel and
friendship,” Air Chief Marshal Houston said.
“Nick brought a great policy capability to the
Department after so many years as a successful
diplomat. He leaves a very important legacy including
the 2009 White Paper and the Strategic Reform Program.
next generation training
for aDF pilots
a new Pilot Training system that to enhance
the australian Defence Force’s ability to train
highly-qualified and skilled pilots to operate
its next generation of airborne capabilities has
been given first pass approval.
Minister for Defence Senator John Faulkner said
that throughout the coming decade the ADF plans
to replace almost all of its airborne assets with the
latest generation aircraft, requiring a greater number
of pilots with more advanced skill-sets.
enhanced global communications
for aDF forces
Defence signed a $94 million contract for the
construction of three satellite communications
earth terminals that will improve global
communications for deployed forces.
The new terminals will be built at the Australian
Defence Satellite and Communications Station near
Geraldton in Western Australia, with completion of
the new capability in 2013 to significantly enhance
the wideband strategic communications support
available to Australian forces overseas.
Panther takes stride
in the Middle east
Royal australian air Force (RaaF) firefighters
are now working alongside their Coalition
partners to support air operations in the
Middle east with the deployment of the new
frontline fire-fighting machine – the Panther.
The Panther 6x6 TFA (Truck, Fire, Aircraft)
Fire Truck allows RAAF fire crews to handle any
aviation or structural fire or other emergency
incident from the base on which they operate.
news – 2009 In reVIew
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