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4 CHRISTMAS MESSAGES
Army December 10, 2009
AS Christmas nears and we begin to
reflect on another year, our thoughts
go out to the many ADF families
that will spend Christmas without
their deployed loved ones. I look
forward to them completing their
tasks safely and returning home.
Although we have seen many
successes, we have also experienced
the tragic loss and wounding of our
soldiers over the past 12 months, on
overseas operations and at home. This
Christmas, we think of them and their
families, particularly those families
who have lost a loved one. Please
know that our thoughts and prayers
continue to be with you.
The family and friends of
Australian soldiers must take a great
deal of credit for their success. Our
Army families provide vital support
to members on deployment. Knowing
they have the support of their loved
ones at home makes a world of differ-
ence. I thank them for their steadfast
support, patience and courage.
It has been a busy and demanding
year for the Australian Army. All of
our serving men and women -- regular,
reserve and civilian -- have continued
to provide outstanding service to their
nation, be they deployed overseas,
training at home in Australia or sup-
porting the very high tempo of the
Army more widely.
Although the ongoing operational
tempo continues to challenge us, I am
I WANT to thank all Defence men and women, and
their families, for their hard work and dedication this
2009 has been eventful and demanding with many
unexpected tasks in addition to the anticipated require-
ments of our various deployments, exercises and train-
ng.I would like to par-
our efforts in Afghanistan
training and mentoring the
Afghan National Army;
our success in our off-
shore maritime area with
numerous boardings and
nterdictions; and our very
fast response to assistance
requests from our neigh-
bours in Indonesia, Samoa,
Tonga and Papua New
The ADF's perform-
ance both overseas and here at home has once again
been very impressive. I couldn't be prouder of you all
and the great work you've done, and continue to do, on
behalf of our nation.
families. It is your families who provide the love and
support that enables you all to perform so well.
My wife, Liz, and I know the life of a service family
can be complicated and challenging and particularly so
at this time of year.
Some of you will not have your loved ones at home
this Christmas. Our thoughts will be with your families
and all those Defence men and women deployed on
operations over the festive season. We look forward to
their safe return and I hope you are able to celebrate
together at a later date.
Many of you will also be packing up and moving to
a new location. I wish you well as you settle in a new
place and make new friends.
To you and your families, thank you for your
strength, courage and sacrifice. Liz and I wish you all
a very merry Christmas and a happy, healthy and pros-
perous new year.
I AM writing to wish all of the Army all the
best for the festive season and to thank you
for the excellent work the great majority of
you have done this year.
Those of you who are training our young
soldiers and officers rate a special mention.
Your work and professionalism continue to
deliver well-trained soldiers and officers to
units. Thank you and keep up the good work.
Thank you to those of you on operations
who continue to do this fine nation of ours
proud. Your sterling work and fighting spirit
remain admired and respected by all the peo-
ple of your Army and Australia. I am in awe
of what you are doing and the responsibility
that you have. You make me proud to be an
Australian soldier. Thank you.
For all our families that continue to be
patient and stoic in their support, thank you. I
especially want to thank those parents, spouses
and partners who have lost a loved one while
they were serving our nation. My sympathies
are always with you. What we do to protect
our way of life comes with inherent training
and operational risks. To all families and sup-
porters, thank you.
Last but not least, thanks for the mateship
that you display when I visit and talk to you.
Your frankness and openness is very welcome.
What I do ask is that you look out for your
mates regardless of the situation. We have lost
too many fine young Australian soldiers this
year. Enjoy your break but look out for your
AS Commander-in-Chief of the ADF I extend the
warmest of season's greetings and the best wishes
of our nation to all Army personnel and the extend-
ed Army family.
This year, during my travels to Afghanistan, East
Timor and around Australia, I have witnessed the
tremendous work by the Australian Army. You have
consistently demonstrated dedication, professionalism
and compassion in an increasingly demanding period
of high operational tempo.
2009 was a proud year for the Army. In January I
awarded Australia's highest honour, the Victoria Cross,
to Tpr Mark Donaldson for his actions in Afghanistan.
It was a truly special moment for Tpr Donaldson, the
Australian Army and for our country.
We remember those who remain on operational
duty in locations throughout Australia and as far
abroad as Afghanistan, East Timor, Solomon Islands,
Sinai and Sudan. I trust those absent on duty will find
some time to share in the festive season, enthused by
the knowledge that at home your commitment is espe-
cially valued, and as a nation we are extremely proud
and appreciative of the hard work you are doing and
the success you are achieving. We also remember the
families of those who were killed while serving; our
thoughts are with you at this difficult time.
Michael and I take this opportunity to express our
deep appreciation to all Army servicemen and women,
and the wives, husbands, partners, friends and family
members who provide such invaluable support to the
wider Army family.
Have a peaceful Christmas and a safe and happy
CDF ACM Angus Houston
MRTF 2 personnel in southern
Afghanistan will enjoy the tradition
trappings of Christmas -- roast din
ner with all the trimmings and the
swapping of presents. There is
even the chance there could be
snow on the ground at Tarin Kowt
and the surrounding areas.
In keeping with Army tradi-
tion, senior officers will serve the
soldiers at the Christmas lunch
at FOB Ripley. "It's going to be
a new experience for me and I
can't wait as it's a bit of a turna-
round there," Pte Gary Drennan s
Pte Drennan has made a video Christmas message for
his family. "I think [being deployed] is hard on my mum and
family more than it is on me," he said. "I'll be ringing them
first thing in the morning and seeing how they're getting
along and wishing them a merry Christmas."
eanwhile, Pte Cameron
on (pictured left) said
ough the mess food on
stmas Day at FOB Chauvel
ast Timor would not beat
wns and beer back home,
as all a part of the experi-
ce of deploying on opera-
n. He and the rest of the
ngineer troop will enjoy the
ternoon off on Christmas
ay before resuming work
on Boxing Day.
READERS are advised that this is the final edition of
Army for the year.
We will resume publication on February 4. The
deadline for contributions for the first edition in 2010
is January 20.
As always, submissions are welcome at
All the best to our readers for Christmas and the
New Year, and we look forward to bringing you more
news specifically for soldiers in 2010.
Governor-General Quentin Bryce
CA Lt-Gen Ken Gillespie
RSM-A WO Stephen Ward
very proud of the way you have met
these challenges. We are currently
supporting the reconstruction and
rehabilitation efforts in Afghanistan,
contributing to UN missions in many
countries and assisting in enhancing
stability and security in East Timor
and Solomon Islands. Australian sol-
diers continue to perform with great
professionalism and enhance their
reputation as great ambassadors for
Australia. Your success on operations
is testament to the training, prepara-
tion and support that the organisation
provides to our soldiers on operations.
Please take it easy on the roads
over the break, and if you are going to
have a few drinks, do so in modera-
tion. I look forward to having everyone
return healthy and refreshed for the
challenges ahead in 2010. I wish all
personnel and their families a merry
Christmas and a happy new year.
Catch up: RSM-A WO Stephen Ward chats
to LCpl Robert Tanner. Photo by Cpl Chris Moore
Surprise: Pte Steven Roberts enjoys one of the
gifts given to the troops by Governor-General
Photo by Capt Lachlan Simond
Last edition for 2009
Four names were omitted from the list of Soldiers'
Medallion recipients that was published in the
November 26 edition. Congratulations are also due to:
Pte Ligia Nogueira Leite, 11CSSB
Spr Wayne James Beazley, 35 Fd Sqn
Sig John Paul Frost, 141 Sig Sqn
LCpl Steven Michael Luxford, 9RQR
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