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June 29, 2017
Cpl Bill Solomou
THE ADF’s most loyal and faithful
capability – the military working dog
(MWD) – has been recognised with the
world’s first Defence service medal for
Chief of Joint Operations VAdm
David Johnston announced the Canine
Operational Service Medal at the
Explosive Detection Dog (EDD) and
Handler Sculpture at the Australian War
Memorial in Canberra on June 8.
VAdm Johnston said MWDs had been
“by our side” in combat and on peace-
keeping missions for more than a century.
“From WWI to Vietnam, working
dogs were used to track and locate the
enemy,” VAdm Johnston said.
“In 1992 the canine role changed.
Australian soldiers deployed on a UN
assistance mission to Somalia, where
the working dogs were used to sniff out
weapons and explosives.”
“It is a lifesaving role they continue to
VAdm Johnston said there was no
bond quite like the bond between a dog
and its handler.
“While many of us are fortunate to
experience the bond between people and
a dog, I am in awe of a relationship where
a dog unquestionably follows its handler
into the chaos of combat,” he said.
“The Canine Operational Service
Medal is a symbol of service and recog-
nises our deep appreciation for the critical
work these canines perform to help keep
ADF personnel safe.”
Cpl Mark Donaldson, VC, attended
the ceremony and reflected on his person-
al experience with the four-legged heroes.
“Over the years as an observer and
as a handler of an MWD, I and many of
my comrades have seen how much these
animals contribute to every effort of the
Australian military capability,” he said.
“They are truly a joint capabil-
ity because they can span the air, sea and
He said many service personnel under-
stood the realities of what could happen
“We all [enter combat] knowing the
conditions we may face,” he said.
“For the dogs, they do it no matter
what it is – it’s always unconditional.”
EDD Instructor LCpl Reuben Griggs,
of SME, proudly paraded his retired EDD
Bundy to the guests at the launch.
LCpl Griggs deployed to Afghanistan
with Bundy in 2012.
“It was great – we found several cach-
es,” he said.
“Seeing the dogs recognised with their
own medal is a long time coming.
“The ADF has used animals since
before WWI, so it’s great to see them
Medal for military working dogs
IN 2016, CDF
the medal to
while serving on
will form part
tion system, and
with qualifying service on declared
operations as follows:
Phase one will focus on
operational service from 1999
Phase two will focus on identify-
ing MWDs with service dating
back to the Vietnam War.
The medal will be awarded to
MWDs with 30 aggregate day’s
service on operations starting from
Once awarded, only the dog
may wear the medal, not the han-
dler, and upon retirement from
service, the medal will be held by
Above: Explosive detection dog
Instructor LCpl Reuben Griggs, of
SME, with Bundy at the launch of
the Canine Operational Service
Medal at the Australian War
Memorial in Canberra.
Photo: Cpl Bill Solomou
Left: Cpl Mark Donaldson, VC,
with MWD puppy Ulf at the
Photo: Jay Cronan
CA Lt-Gen Angus Campbell
met with military command-
ers from Japan and the US for
the fifth annual Trilateral Senior
Level Seminar at Camp Naha in
Okinawa, Japan, on June 2. The
seminar facilitated strategic-level
dialogue between the Australian
Army, Japanese Ground-Self
Defense Force, US Army, US
Marine Corps and US Special
Operations. Lt-Gen Campbell said
the discussions played an impor-
tant role in enhancing ongoing col-
laboration between Australia and
its military partners and shaping
new army-to-army initiatives.
SOLDIERS of 1RAR have
strengthened the relationship
between serving members and
veterans of the battalion’s most
famous battle, Fire Support
Base Coral. Recently, members
of 1RAR’s Direct Fire Support
Weapons Pl, including Pl Comd
Lt Benjamin Sloane, travelled to
Hobart, Tasmania, to attend the
Coral Association’s annual dinner.
“The dinner provided an excellent
opportunity for veterans and their
families to gather and commemo-
rate the actions of their comrades
and fallen mates,” Lt Sloane said.
It was the first time serving 1RAR
members attended the dinner,
providing the junior soldiers with
an appreciation of the hardships
and experiences faced by the
veterans of Coral Balmoral. LCpl
Simon Philpott said he enjoyed
speaking to veterans and learning
first-hand of their achievements at
Coral under great adversity. “At the
same time, the veterans gained
an insight into the issues faced by
serving soldiers,” he said. 1RAR’s
renewed efforts to refresh relation-
ships with the battalion’s veterans
is a pivotal step in ensuring it
remains connected with its past as
it forges ahead toward the future.
– Capt Samuel Priest
VCs on display
THE WWI Victoria Cross medal
groups awarded to Sgt Samuel
George Pearse and Lt Albert
Chalmers Borella will go on per-
manent display at the Australian
War Memorial (AWM) in Canberra.
Both men fought at Gallipoli and
the Western Front. Sgt Pearse was
killed in North Russia while serv-
ing with the British contribution to
the North Russian Relief Force
in 1919, while Lt Borella, the old-
est member of the First AIF to be
awarded the VC, went on to serve
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