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Army September 15, 2011
By Cpl Melanie Schinkel
"WELCOME home" and "we missed
you" were printed on the children's
bright yellow t-shirts and the crowd
cheered and vigorously waved mini
Australian and Northern Territory flags
as 1200 ADF personnel marched past.
Downtown Darwin's streets were
lined with people who congregated
to celebrate the safe return of MTF 2
and 1 Bde Rotation 4 personnel from
their MEAO and East Timor deploy-
ments during a homecoming parade on
The soldiers, sailors, airmen and
officers stepped off to the beat of the
Australian Army Band -- Darwin at 10am
and received an overwhelming applause
as they marched down the Esplanade and
Knuckey and Cavenagh streets.
2IC MTF 2 Maj Cameron Ellis said it
was fantastic to see and hear the people
of Darwin welcoming them home.
"These young soldiers went through a
very serious experience overseas. Today
was special for them because they got to
strut their stuff and take a bow in front of
their families, friends and community,"
Maj Ellis said.
After the march, engulfed in a bear
hug with his three daughters, medic
Pte Damien Gardiner, 5RAR, said he
returned home from his nine-month
Afghanistan deployment two months
"I served in Tarin Kot's Role 2
Hospital and in parts of the Baluchi
Valley and Uruzgan province," Pte
"My deployment was a fantastic
experience because I got to put into prac-
tice all the lead up training I had done
years before. That said, it's good to be
home and I have enjoyed some time off
with the family."
Hot and sweaty from the march, Cpl
Andrew Pulsford was trying to convince
his three children to give him a peck
on the cheek. He served as an ASLAV
crew commander, attached to a combat
support squadron in Tarin Kot for nine
"I have served in Iraq twice but this
was my first deployment to Afghanistan.
It was a good experience but there is still
a long way to go in terms of the Afghan
people reconstructing their country. But,
we are making good headway and I saw
positive progress during my time there,"
Cpl Pulsford said.
"As a corporal during this deploy-
ment I had more responsibility and had to
concentrate on situational awareness and
making the right calls to look after my
mates. The biggest challenge was being
away from my family. Even though it
was hard, I just carried on and took it one
day at a time.
"Right now, I'm adjusting back
into home life and looking forward to
my next posting as an instructor at the
School of Armour."
A celebratory barbecue was held
at Robertson Barracks after the parade
and John Schumann's new band, the
Vagabond Crew, performed a 90-minute
set that included Schumann's famous
Redgum song, I was only 19.
Happy to be home: Pte Thomas Edwards, 5RAR, catches up with his son, Xavier, after
the welcome home parade (inset) in Darwin.
Photos by LS Andrew Dakin
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