Home' Army News : November 26th 2009 Contents OF SERVICE
At ground zero it's all for one
Covering troops' efforts in devastated Aceh, Capt Cameron
Jamieson became blind to the colour of a uniform.
S will have a role in the war against terror-
he establishment of the Reserve Response
h will be employed primarily as formed
rdon off areas or provide static protection
mplementing other operations.
DF personnel have arrived in Honiara on
Anode. The personnel are part of a police-
l assistance mission responsible for restor-
d order to troubled Solomon Islands.
neers have been nominated for bushfire
awards from the Canberra Division of
Australia. The engineers helped fight the
ulminated in the January 18 firestorm, which
people and destroyed nearly 500 homes.
qn has been awarded the first Unit Citation
ry as part of the recently announced hon-
wards for Operation Falconer in Iraq.
SLAVs and 32 more troops have deployed
einforce Secdet and carry out additional
ks in Baghdad and outlying areas. The
vehicle boost will enable Secdet to protect
stralian Embassy in Baghdad and to guard
on Military Assistance Training Team.
RH 90 troop-lift helicopters are to be intro-
008, increasing Army's troop-carrying capac-
er cent. This will allow Black Hawk helicop-
elocated to Sydney for Special Forces use.
alian soldiers have been injured in a car-
ck on a Secdet ASLAV in Baghdad, becom-
F's first battle casualties in Iraq. The bomb,
d two Iraqi civilians and wounded several
in a parked car on a busy main road in
the nation. Most of the 120 ADF person-
ployed will return to Australia, however
emain to help other UN contingents leave.
rces soldiers have once again launched
in Afghanistan via the Special Operations
. The task group of 190 is operating from a
erating base called Camp Russell, named
of Sgt Andrew Russell, SASR, who died in
n in 2002.
SR soldier WO2 David Nary has been flown
rth. The 42-year-old died on November 6
cle accident during an exercise in Iraq.
ELY needed medical aid is now reaching
of the earthquake-devastated mountain
hanni thanks to the efforts of ADF person-
ed on Op Pakistan Assist. The Australians
lished themselves at Camp Bradman on
n side of the Kashmir Line of Control and
g more than 150 people a day.
ompleted its own personal best during the
remony for the Melbourne Commonwealth
eration Acolyte's 1000 members patrolled
and and water of Melbourne while others
th ceremonial and general support.
ALTHOUGH my time at Army was brief, bridg-
ing the period from when I was an ARA soldier
to when I became an Army public relations
officer, it was also the most intensive and satisfy-
ing part of my 26-year Army career.
As a reporter, I was deployed to cover stories
from East Timor and Iraq, and I had the honour of
interviewing Gen Peter Cosgrove at the end of his
career as CDF.
The job also took me to Banda Aceh, and it was
there I learnt what it really means to be a member
of the ADF -- not just Army.
In Banda Aceh, I wrote about who I met, not
about the colour of their uniform. Neither did I
care if they were regular or reserve members. They
were just ADF members doing their best in the hell
that followed the 2004 Boxing Day tsunami.
I saw a land that was described as ground zero
because the waterfront section of the city had been
wiped away from the face of the earth. I saw con-
voys of tip trucks used as hearses, because that was
what it took to move the thousands of bodies from
the city to a mass grave near the airport.
I saw RAAF personnel move aid from Australia,
through Butterworth and on to Banda Aceh, with-
out rest or recognition. I also saw Army engineers,
along with sailors from HMAS Kanimbla, clear
drainage ditches filled with mud and body parts.
I then looked on as ADF medical personnel
completed an amputation in the remains of a hos-
pital that the locals said was too haunted to spend
the night in.
I watched the engineers distribute clean water,
and then I flew with an Army helicopter crew as
they delivered aid to the few orphans and adults
who remained on the south-west coast.
One thing was constant during my time in Aceh
Province -- I didn't hear a single complaint or
boast. The ADF members all got on with the job
with quiet, sullen, grey faces.
Most importantly, I met Indonesian civilians in
the unaffected city of Medan when I was transit-
ing through to Aceh. They would look at me and
say "thank you" just because I was an Australian
They knew the ADF was helping in Aceh, and
they knew we were their friends.
I never said anything in reply, though -- I would
just smile back at them, and they would nod,
because some things are beyond words.
work in Banda
Aceh (left), while
soldiers carry an
injured woman in
the wake of the
Capt Cameron Jamieson
The attacks on the World Trade Centre and the
Pentagon in the US in 2001 were the defining
moments of the decade, when they started what
became known as the war on terrorism, with
Australia joining military operations in Afghanistan
and Iraq. It got personal when Australians were
caught up in the Bali bombings in 2002. Pacific
neighbours, troubled by unrest, also kept us busy,
and extensive aid was required in Banda Aceh after
the Boxing Day 2004 tsunami.
Price to pay: Troops arrive in Al Muthanna in 2005 (above); and Australians killed in action in the MEAO
are remembered on Armistice Day in Afghanistan in 2008.
Photos by Cpl Robert Nyffenegger and Sgt Benjamin Cupka
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